Also running through the lava fields of Waikoloa Beach Resort is Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, which includes a section often referred to as the King’s Trail, which at one point linked communities, temples, fishing areas, and other important locations on Hawai`i Island. This was also the route the ali‘i of old traveled to visit their people for religious ceremonies and other ritual events.
Running for 175 miles from ‘Upolu Point near Hawi, through Kona, past South Point, and all the way to the eastern border of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail was officially formed in 2000 for the purposes of preserving the sensitive ecosystems, cultural sites, and indigenous species found along its route. The trail in the area of the Kohala Coast beach resorts is part of the first 75 miles to be preserved under the new Historic Trail system, and makes for a fascinating day hike.
In addition to being the pathway of the ali‘i, the original trail was an important transportation corridor for the early Hawaiian people. Although canoes were the principal means of travel, the trail allowed for overland transportation of food, water, building materials, and other necessities. Fed by connecting trails, it also facilitated trade between the shoreline fishing villages and the upland farming villages.
Though many of the old trails have been lost to erosion and changing land use, with the establishment of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, the remaining portions of the main coastline trail will be preserved and protected for future generations.
So while it may seem like you’ve landed on the moon when you first arrive, you haven’t. But you certainly have landed in one of the most unique and fascinating corners of paradise.