The 1871 Trail winds along the coastal cliffs towards Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau NHP
The 1871 Section of the Ala Kahakai NHT extends along the South Kona Coastline to Kiʻilae Village.

NPS Photo


The 1871 Trail to Kiʻilae Village

The rugged lava shoreline of the South Kona coast beckons you to explore the backcountry trails of the park. Have you ever imagined visiting a historic abandoned Hawaiian village? Come and experience this special and unique area. Step back in time. The ocean will whisper ancient stories from the past as you pass by places used by people of long ago. - Kiʻilae Brochure

Explore beyond the Royal Grounds and Puʻuhonua and hike the 1871 Trail to Kiʻilae village. This two-mile (round trip) hike takes you along coastal cliffs as you pass by numerous ancient and historic sites. See the dramatic Keanaeʻe cliffs and the ingenuity of the Alahaka Ramp all while taking in the ocean's beauty.

The 1871 Trail is just one section of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. This 175-mile long trail corridor traverses from the northernmost tip of the island, along its western edge, around its southern tip and into Puna, the island's most eastern district. The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail works with partners around the island to preserve ancient, historic, and modern connector trails so that we, and future generations, can continue walking in the footsteps of the ancestors.

The ancient trail that is now the 1871 Trail existed long before Europeans arrived in Hawaiʻi and originally connected coastal villages along the South Kona Coast. In the late 1800's the trail was expanded to accommodate those traveling in horse-drawn carriages.

A brochure with information about the lettered stops along the trail is available at the Visitor Center (open daily from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm). If you are unable to stop by the Visitor Center during operating hours, you may print the Kiʻilae Village & 1871 Trail Brochure (PDF 734 KB).

Learn more about the history and preservation of the 1871 Trail here.

Trailhead Location

From the Visitor Center: Take the stairs to the left of the Visitor Center and follow the path through the lava rock. Take your first left onto the lava rock trail. Just after this short connector trail crosses the road, you will arrive at the trailhead.

From the Parking Lot: Walk along the gravel Picnic Area road to the left of the Visitor Center. You will see the trailhead on your left.

From the Picnic Area: Begin your hike on the Coastal Trail at the South-end of the Picnic Area. Continue along this sandy trail to the junction with the 1871 trail. Turn right onto the trail to continue onto Kiʻilae Village. Turn left to access the Visitor Center.

Plan a Safe Hike

As you plan your hike on the 1871 Trail, please remember to consider safety. This hike takes you over rugged lava rock, along coastal cliffs, and through areas completely exposed to the harsh Hawaiʻi sun. These safety tips will help you have a safe and responsible hike so that future visitors can enjoy the park to its fullest!

Bring Water & Stay Hydrated

A waterbottle filling station is available by the restrooms at the Visitor Center.

Wear Sturdy Footwear

The hike traverses over rugged, uneven lava rock. Sturdy footwear is recommended.

Use Sun Protection

Most areas along the 1871 Trail are completely exposed to the sun. The best way to protect yourself is with a hat and clothing with sun protection. If you choose to use sunscreens, make sure they're "reef-safe." Visit our Snorkeling Page for more information on reef-friendly sun protection.

Stay on Marked Trails

For your safety and the safety of cultural sites, please stay on marked trails.

Give Wildlife Their Space

Observing wildlife is one of the great joys of hiking, but remember to give them their space and never feed wildlife.

Symbols for: Stay on trail, Pets on leash, No bicycles, and No motorized Vehicles


Help Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park preserve and protect the backcountry areas in the park by adhering to the following restrictions. For more information on park rules and regulations visit the Management page to view the Superintendent's Compendium.

  • Hiking and pedestrian traffic is restricted to designated trails.
  • Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted on park trail
  • All pets must be on leash and all pet waste removed.
  • Entering caves, lava tubes, and burial sites is prohibited.

Last updated: November 26, 2021

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