Kiʻilae Village offers a glimpse into the past, when Hawaiʻi was changing rapidly, but still supported traditional aspects of daily life. With the arrival of Europeans in the Hawaiian Islands, many things changed. New plants and animals were introduced and settlements began moving away from the coastal villages to the more fertile uplands and larger harbor cities. What remains in Kiʻilae today are abandoned house sites, agricultural features, animal pens, and salt vats that can be seen from more recent times.
Kiʻilae village is named for the ahupuaʻa (land division) in which it resides. The entire ahupuaʻa of Kiʻilae was gifted to John Young by Kamehameha I as a reward for his aid in warfare that eventually united all of the Hawaiian Islands under the rule of Kamehameha. More information about John Young can be found on Puʻukohalā Heiau NHP's website.
It is not known exactly when Kiʻilae village was established, but it may have been inhabited in the late 1700's or early 1800's due to availability of water, fishing grounds and upland fields. Inhabitants of the village lived traditionally from the sea until the 1930's. Men took canoes into deeper water to fish for ʻōpelu and ʻahi while women would tend fish traps and gather limu (seaweed) and shellfish along the shoreline.
Getting to Kiʻilae village requires hiking approximately one mile on the 1871 Trail. While the hike is relatively short and mostly flat, the trail takes you through rough, uneven lava rock, so please be prepared. Bring water, sun protection, and sturdy shoes.
If you plan to hike on the 1871 trail to Kiʻilae Village, an audio tour of the 1871 Trail to Ki'ilae Village is available on the Official National Park Service App.
For more information on hiking the 1871 Trail visit the Hiking page.