Captain Cook Monument Hike
World class snorkeling is an outstanding way to reward yourself for tackling the Captain Cook Monument hike. This hike is almost 4 miles round trip, and descends over 1,300 feet down the cliff. We highly recommend planning for at least a 3-4 hour hike overlooking the spectacular Kealakekua Bay.
Click here for a map and directions on how to get to the beginning of the trail.
This is one of the more strenuous hikes on the Big Island, and is recommended for an intermediate to advanced level of hikers. Due to the difficulty level and weather of the island, we recommend getting an early start to allow for prime snorkeling conditions and avoiding the island heat. Parking is extremely limited, as there is no actual parking lot. The trail is very easy to miss, so be sure to look for other cars parked road side immediately off the main highway heading down Napo`opo`o.
The trail is marked off by a large avocado tree along with three coconut trees with a distinguished trailhead that can’t be missed. You’ll then follow the 4×4 trail for approximately 75 feet, which will branch off into the beginning of the hike on the left and private property on the right side. Althoughly fairly overgrown, the trail is proficiently distinguished for first timers the rest of the way down.
The majority of the rock is easy to moderate terrain such as high grass, dirt and some lava rock, but the steep elevation is what seems to wear most hikers out on the return trip. Be sure not to miss out on the exotic mango, avocado and guava trees that seem to be always blooming on the way home.
Hiking all the way down to Kealakekua Bay from the mountain and not going snorkeling would be like going to Hawaii for vacation and staying indoors. Do not forget to pack along snorkel gear, or you’ll be full of regret as you see all the kayakers and swimmers within feet of dolphin and fish swimming in the bay. It is also highly recommended to pack a lunch along with lots of water to recharge your quads and get some rest before tackling the 1,300 foot climb up the mountain.
Most importantly of all, Malama the Aina. This means to love and respect the land. There are absolutely no facilities or amenities along this hike, so please remember to bring back everything that you’ve brought down. There are several sacred Hawaiian remnants such as rock walls, or temple formations along the hike that must be appreciated from afar.