South from A Bay

South from A Bay

Posted on: February 11, 2018 8:46 am

One of the premier resorts and beach areas on the coast of the Big Island of Hawai’i is at Anaehoomalu Bay but almost everyone calls it A Beach.   It is a beautiful, protected sandy crescent. perfect for families.   Lava flows surround the resort and even the access road goes through the rugged black a’a lava flows.   It is not really a hiking trailhead, but all of the west coast of the island is relatively young with ragged lava flows so hiking trails are mostly routes along the shoreline, connecting pocket beaches, headlands, and rugged tracks across the lava flows.   The route from A Beach south follows a variety of terrain, on an out-and-back route.

From A Beach, the route follows a series of pocket beaches for about 1 km.

Then the sand disappears and we had to pick our way slowly along the rocks, but there are some sections of “trail” to follow.   The shrub/tree growth is kiawe, dense and full of thorns so we stayed on the outer edge.

The trail is really just broken pieces of young, unweathered a’a lava cleared out of the way to leave a narrow surface of smaller pieces.   This kind of hiking requires good shoes and progress is slow.

At times there are sections of ropy pahoehoe lava.   Mauna Loa, the most massive mountain in the world is in the background, seen across 60 km of black lava fields.

The route arrives at Lone Palm Beach, a little oasis with a fresh-water spring, a shell-coral and black sand beach, and some crashing waves.

Run-off from the two massive volcanoes of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa seeps through the lava fields from 13 800 feet all the way down to sea level, emerging emerges into ponds and pools on the coastal lava flats.   The water was cool, clear, and salt-free only a minute from the shoreline.

The last lava flow across this area was in 1809 so all of the rock, sand, and coral is less than 200 years old.   The ocean wears down the lava into fragments and black sand.   Sun, wind, and human interaction breaks down the lava into smaller chunks, but for the most part, it is a barren, rugged, and black landscape extending into the ocean.

across the pahoehoe

a’a rubble

carpenter bee on naupaka

honu come for a rest in the sun on the shoreline


The 5 km hike is out-and-back, best done in the morning before heat of the midday tropical sun.

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About the Author

Doug Smith

Doug writes for Kamloops Trails, a not-for-profit (and ad free) website, offering information on trails, waterways, routes, featured spots, viewpoints, and explorations in the outdoors in the Kamloops area (and beyond).

Doug started exploring this area in 1976 and continues to follow tracks and routes wherever they lead, with the aid of map, compass, GPSr and camera. After many dead-ends, but also many discoveries, he chose to share this information.

The Kamloops Trails website has a massive number of interesting posts and would be of interest to anyone in Kamloops who enjoys the outdoors. Visit the Kamloops Trails website at:


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