Maui Red Sand Beach (Kaihalulu Beach)
The Maui Red Sand Beach, known locally as Kaihalulu or “secret beach”, is one of the most colorful beaches in the world. Located in Hana, Maui the beach boasts beautiful and warm cobalt blue waters and tall rust-red hills whose contrast creates a mysterious and surreal scene. The famous cove is naturally protected on the ocean side by a wall of jagged black lava rock, that lends the beach an almost otherworldly atmosphere of isolated and unmarred beauty. This half-moon shaped cove is etched into the side of the Ka’uiki cinder cone, whose erosion is responsible for the signature red sand for which the beach is known. Kaihalulu has long been a secret area in Hana. The beach has been historically difficult to reach, but with a little guidance, one can enjoy the incredible magic of this unique destination.
Word of Caution
Visiting the Maui Red Sand Beach is not easy. Many visitors have been injured or even lost their lives on their way to and from the beach. Before you make the decision to travel to Kaihalulu, it is very important to be aware of the potential dangers and to be prepared to face and overcome them. The trail in is very steep, and in some places extremely narrow and slippery.
People have been evacuated via helicopter in the past when they’ve lost their footing and landed in the trenches below. I suggest you go with a knowledgeable professional guide if you are not already a pretty experienced hiker or climber. You can easily find a guide in order to avoid the pitfalls of trying to get to the beach by yourself. If you are unsure of yourself, I recommend taking a guided Hana tour with either Aloha Sunshine Tours or Mahalo Tours.
Visiting Red Sand Beach, however, can be very controversial, as scores of visitors every year end up hurting themselves on the trail. It’s imperative that visitors understand the dangers of visiting the beach. The trail is steep, narrow, slippery, and legitimately dangerous. The reward for navigating the cliffs, of course, is the chance to soak in spectacular surroundings and watch whitecaps swirl on red rocks but requires confidence in your athletic abilities to avoid an emergency rescue.
How to Get There:
If you decide to make the trek to Kaihalulu on your own, remember that the red sand beach is on private land. The land the beach occupies is owned by Travaasa Hana and the Hana community center. Ask for permission to explore the property before you hike, to ensure you avoid any potential fines.
Directions to Maui Red Sand Beach
1. To reach the beginning of the route to this beach, use google maps to navigate to the Hana Community Center. Once you arrive you will find parking in the Travaasa Hotel parking lot. From the parking lot, you will cross the field on the Hanna Community Center property. Keep an eye out for a trail towards your right. You should see a lamp post near the trails starting point. The trail is fairly easy to find, but with continuous jungle growth, the terrain could be different by the time you venture out. Look carefully to make sure that you find the right path
2. After a few minutes of traveling down this path, you should see an ironwood tree. avoid the left-hand path. The correct path should not take you towards the Japanese Cemetery. The cemetery path is the most difficult way down. If you end up at the cemetery, backtrack to the ironwood tree center and take the trail to the right
3. The trail that was once the most optimal path, is now extremely narrow due to a recent landslide. Instead of taking the narrow keep looking for the trail that takes you down towards the shoreline. Eventually, the path climbs back up to the main trail once you are past the narrow part.
4. Remember to hike this trail very cautiously. There are many pine needles and loose cinder and other debris covering the path, making it incredibly slippery. Keep your footing as solid as possible and go at a safe pace. The dangerous parts are very brief and the trail itself is not very long.
Enjoy and Let Enjoy
Before you leave this amazing and scenic natural landscape, remember that the beauty of this magnificent beach is very fragile. Treat it with respect it deserves. Help preserve this rare eco-system by remembering to remove anything that you brought with you. There are no trash facilities or disposal services at the beach. It is important to be conscientious and maintain the magic you’ve experienced here. Help future visitors experience the same sense of awe and wonder that you have just enjoyed.