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The Koloa Heritage Trail is a well-known part of Kauai’s south shore. With plenty to see and do along the journey, there’s a reason so many tourists come and experience the trail. It’s also been named the “Ka Ala Hele Waiwai Ho‘oilina o Kōloa.”

In this post, we’ll explore all there is to do along the Koloa Heritage Trail and talk a bit about its history. Whether you’re visiting or just doing research – read on to learn more!

Koloa Heritage Trail Overview

The Koloa Heritage Trail is a 10-mile-long walking/driving trail located on the south shore of Kauai. The trail takes visitors on a journey through Kauai’s rich history, culture, and natural beauty. There are 14 different stops along the trail, each with a unique significance to the island’s past and present. It holds some of Kauai’s most important historical, cultural, and geological locations and is one of the best ways to experience the Koloa Region.

Some of the highlights of the trail include the historic town of Koloa, which was once a bustling center of the sugar cane industry, the Spouting Horn blowhole, which is a natural wonder where water shoots up through a small opening in the lava rock, and the Moir Gardens, which feature exotic plant species from around the world. We’ll go over each attraction further down the post.

The Koloa Heritage Trail offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the island’s diverse history and culture while enjoying its beautiful scenery. The trail is self-guided and free, making it a great activity for visitors on a budget.

Koloa Heritage Trail Location (Mahaulepu Heritage Trailhead)

The Koloa Heritage Trail begins right along the coast of Poipu. – Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail, Koloa, HI, 96756

Koloa Heritage Trail Stops & Highlights

As you start the trail, you’ll encounter a variety of historical sites and landmarks. These are placed in order from start to finish as you go along the trail.

Spouting Horn Park – One of the most famous locations in all of Hawaii, Spouting Horn brings people from all over the world. As a result of erosion from the waves, the water shoots through cave systems and out through the hole. Use caution when standing near or around Spouting Horn. Wet rocks mean water/waves have crashed there.

Prince Kuhio Park – This park is dedicated to Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, a Hawaiian prince who became a delegate to the U.S. Congress. The park is home to a statue of Prince Kuhio, as well as a heiau (Hawaiian temple) and an ancient fishpond.

Hanakaape Bay – This bay is home to some of the best snorkeling on Kauai. The bay is protected by a reef, which creates calm waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The bay is also a popular spot for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

Moir Gardens (Pa’u A Laka) – Built in the 1930’s, this garden honors Kuka’ohi’aalaka, a rain god, and Laka, the goddess of hula. The gardens are home to a variety of rare plant species, such as orchids and cactuses.

Kihahouna Heiau – An ancient Hawaiian temple dedicated to honoring around 4 different Hawaiian gods & goddesses.

Poipu Beach Park – This park is one of the most popular beaches on Kauai, and for a good reason. The beach is a great place to swim, snorkel, and sunbathe. The park also has plenty of amenities, making it a great spot for a family day out.

Keoneloa Bay (Shipwrecks Beach)  – Keoneloa Bay is a beautiful crescent-shaped beach located on the south shore of Kauai, Hawaii. The beach is also known as Shipwreck Beach due to the remains of an old shipwreck that can be seen on the shore. The clear blue waters, golden sand, and lush greenery surrounding the bay make it a popular spot for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and hiking.

Koloa Jodo Mission – This Buddhist temple was built in 1910 and is still an active temple today. The temple is home to a 12-foot-tall statue of Amida Buddha, as well as a small museum that showcases the history of Buddhism in Hawaii. The temple is surrounded by lush gardens and is a peaceful place to reflect and meditate.

Makawehi & Pa’a Dunes – These sand dunes are formed by the constant action of wind and waves over thousands of years, and they provide a habitat for many native plant and animal species. The dunes are popular for hiking and nature walks, offering stunning views of the ocean and nearby mountains. Visitors are encouraged to stay on marked trails to protect the fragile dune ecosystem.

Pu’uwanawana Volcanic Cone – The cone was formed by a volcanic eruption over 5 million years ago, and it is now covered in lush vegetation. Visitors can hike to the top of the cone to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the nearby Waimea Canyon.

Hapa Road – A nice scenic drive with a few historical locations along the way. During World War II, it served as a vital part of the supply chain and as an evacuation route.

Koloa Jodo Mission – The Koloa Jodo Mission is a historic Buddhist temple located in Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii. The temple was built in 1910 to serve the local Japanese immigrant community, and it is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can tour the temple and its grounds, which feature traditional Japanese architecture and a peaceful meditation garden.

Sugar Monument – The Koloa Sugar Monument was a huge change in Kauai’s way of life & history. It was the very first successful plantation and introduced the standard of free housing and medical help for its inhabitants. Employees came from all over different parts of the world, from China to Portugal it was truly a diverse place.

Yamamoto Store & Koloa Hotel – The Yamamoto Store and Koloa Hotel are historical landmarks located in the town of Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii. The Yamamoto Store, established in 1919, was a general store that served the local community for decades and is now a popular souvenir shop.

Koloa Missionary Church – This congregational church was the first of its kind, built and established by Christian missionaries in 1837.

Koloa Heritage FAQ

How long is the Koloa Heritage Trail?

The Koloa Heritage Trail is a 10-mile hike/walk.

Do you walk or drive the Koloa Heritage Trail?

As it’s a self-guided trail, you can drive past the important parts or hike the entirety of the 10-mile trail. You can even bike it!

Koloa Heritage Trail Fun Facts

  • During the plantation boom on Kauai, around 350,000 immigrants came to the region for work.
  • People from all over the world came to work and live near the plantations from countries like China, Korea, Puerto Rico, Chinese, Portugal, and the Philippines.
  • The Hapa Trail is known to be a pathway for ancient Hawaiian people and is still standing today.
  • The sunsets along the trail/Poipu are known to be some of the best in all of the Hawaiian Islands.

Looking for an exciting way to explore Koloa? Join us at Koloa Zipline!

As you wrap up your exploration of the rich history and natural beauty along the Koloa Heritage Trail, we invite you to continue your adventure with us at Koloa Zipline. Experience the thrill of soaring through the treetops, marvel at stunning vistas, and create unforgettable memories with your loved ones. Our expert guides will ensure your safety and fun, while sharing fascinating insights into Koloa’s ecology and culture. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind opportunity to discover the magic of Koloa from a whole new perspective. Book your zipline tour today!