Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail?
The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail is a system of trails that are found within a 175 mile shoreline "corridor" from 'Upolu Point on the north end of Hawai'i island, along the western coast through Kohala and Kona and Ka'ū, then east along the southern coast in Puna to the eastern boundary of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. The trail is part of the National Park Service Trail System.
The first parts of the Trail system to be opened as a National Historic Trail are within a 75 mile corridor.
Why the 75 miles?
The 75 mile trail corridor runs from Kawaihae to Ho'okena. This corridor will be the first trail area to be developed. The ancient and historic trails are easily identified in this corridor. Land development and population growth in the area means that natural and cultural resources need protection and care.
Although the focus is on the 75 miles section, trail staff work with all interested communities within the whole 175 mile corridor.
Will the 75 miles or the entire 175 miles of trail be opened all at once?
No. The trail will not be officially opened all at once but segment-by-segment. Segments will be opened as community established trail management plans are being carried out on the trail. The community will then be ready to invite visitors to a safe trail. Trail related services, product and historic and other information will then be available to allow for an authentic and enjoyable experience.
How can we access the trail?
The 15-mile State managed Ala Kahakai in South Kohala is open to the public between Spencer Beach Park at Ohai'ula in Kawaihae and 'Anaeho'omalu Bay. Coastal trails at all three west Hawai'i National Parks at Pu'ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, and Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park are open to the public. Other portions can be accessed through state or county lands.
What can we see along the trail?
Along the trail you can find beautiful coastline vistas, native shoreline plants and cultural sites.
When was the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail created?
In 2000, the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail was designated by Congress through community advocacy.
What is the purpose of the National Historic Trails?
National Historic Trails recognize the historic and cultural importance of the major trails people walked, rode horses and wagon trains on. The program preserves these important trails and protects them so they will continue to be recognized and cared for in the future. The trails provide opportunities to learn about and even experience what America's first peoples (Native Americans, Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians) and later groups of explorers, travelers and settlers did. Trails commemorate important events in history too. As such, trails tell the stories of the experiences of many of our ancestors.
What has happened to many of the historical Hawaiian trails?
Many of the old trails of Hawai'i have been lost to development, changing land use patterns and time.
Why should we preserve this trail system?
This trail will provide access for preservation of history, the perpetuation of Hawaiian culture and preserve the coastal environment of Hawai'i for future generations.
Did You Know?
Did you know Polynesian explorers navigated across the Pacific Ocean using the stars, wind and wave patterns and seabirds to guide across the sea safely to their destination.