Breathtaking Pololu Valley

By Karen Rose

Pololu Valley, Hawaii. Photo: mifl68.


The majestic Pololū Valley, is located at the end of Highway 270 in North Kohala. Take a leisurely drive through the quaint towns of Hāwī and Kapa‘au, and when you pass the 28 mile marker, get ready to have your breath taken away as you round the corner and are gifted with the breathtaking view of Pololū Valley. Untouched for centuries, this spectacular, panoramic overlook has mesmerized the senses for generations. Time stands still as ocean waves crash upon the black sands of the shoreline and rugged sea cliffs tower over the secluded beach. It’s easy to imagine the beauty of Pololū Valley being exactly as it was in the 15th century when humans first settled this area.

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Taro Farming

Pololu Valley, Hawaii. Photo: David Grant.


Taro fields once thrived in Pololū Valley making it sacred ground for hundreds of early Hawaiians. Taro is the plant used to make poi — a paste made from the root of the taro plant by pounding and mixing the root with water. An acquired taste for many visitors, poi is traditionally served at lū‘au and family parties. Taro is still cultivated in the area today, but on a much smaller scale since the Kohala Ditch system was constructed in 1906.

Kohala Ditch System

Pololu Valley, Hawaii. Photo: David Grant.


The Kohala Ditch system was constructed to move water from valley streams to Kohala-area sugar cane farms. This diversion made the growing of taro and crops other than sugar cane more difficult, and residents of Pololū Valley subsequently moved to higher ground.

Black Sand Beach

Pololu Valley, Hawaii. Photo: Hector A Parayuelos.


Hike down to the valley floor and dig your toes into the glistening black sand beach and emerald green ground cover. Look around at the majestic cliffs and catch a glimpse of a waterfall cascading from the top of the Kohala Mountains. The trail is less than a mile long, but it’s moderately steep, making the hike back up difficult for some. Be sure and wear closed toed shoes and bring plenty of water. The trail takes approximately 30 minutes to hike but ends with the reward of a beautiful black sand beach with views that defy description. This is not a swimming beach as the waters are known to be rough and risky.

Getting There

Pololu, Hawaii. Photo: EyeTunes.


From Kona, drive north on the main highway toward the Kohala Coast where you’ll take Highway 270 north toward the little town of Hāwī. The black lava fields will evolve into the rolling lush pasture lands of North Kohala. Keep going until the road ends, and when you turn that last corner, prepare to take in the surreal panoramic view of Pololū Valley. It’s worth the drive. You won’t be disappointed!

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