On the north-western side of Hawaii Island are the monumental cliffs and valleys facing out to the rugged and rough Pacific Ocean. The first canyon is a large gulch called Pololu Valley, which in Hawaiian is translated into long spear. The canyon is a deep and large valley which divides the Kohala mountains and the Polulu stream which runs through the middle of the valley floor. One of the most stunning black sand beaches of the Big Island, Polulu Valley is worth the drive and hike down to the black sandy beach below.
A gorgeous visit to Polulu Valley on the west side of Hawaii
The string of gulches on the Hamakua and Kohala side of the island starts at Polulu and ends up in Waipio valley on the other side of the island. You can hike to two of the valleys at Polulu provided that you stay on the trails and not wander through the mostly land that is private property in the gulch area outside of the beach areas. The beautiful gulches of the Hamakua are just as stunning as the Napali coastline and exploring the coast on a Kauai itinerary but this is the string of gulches that starts at Polulu and ends at the Waipio Valley in West Hawaii Island.
There is a panoramic hike that you can take from the top rim downhill to the base and it takes about 30 minutes on dirt and rocky trails. The trail is relatively easy to hike through except for a few sections where it is steep with rocky passages that you need to slow down and pay attention to your stride. Going back uphill does take a little more effort, but take your time and enjoy the views looking back into the valley and before you know it, you’ll be up on top of the bluff in no time.
A large crescent-shaped black sand beach below extends from each sides of the deep canyon walls and welcomes the hiker when reaching the bottom. In calm weather, you can actually swim in the cool ocean water and surf. But, most of the time, the surf and rip tides are very treacherous so you have to exercise caution when you want to take a swim there.
In the past, the canyon was used primarily by the ancient Hawaiian people to grow kalo or taro as one of their primary food staples of that timeframe. There are still some small farms and areas in the interior by the stream where taro is still grow.
Time to goof off on the swings
Rope swings in the valley floor
Walking along the Pololu stream bed through the green pine forests, a clearing opens into a small pond with panoramic views of the emerald colored hills against these dark and angry sky – a perfect photo moment to capture. Later my friends played with all the swings and acrobatic balance beams for tourist to amused themselves and challenge their balancing acts.
Check out these other Hawaii island places to visit
Top hikes to do around the Big Island
Free or cheap things to do on the BIg Island
Conclusion to visiting Polulu Valley on the Big Island
On the other end of the gulches is the famous Waipio Valley, home to many of the ancient peoples of Hawaii and taro farming. I wrote an earlier post about Waipio here, take a look it’s just as stunning a place to visit as Pololu valley.
Thanks for joining us today for this hike down to the Pololu Valley and the black sand beach, hope you enjoyed the tour. Following are some more travels from bloggers around the world, click on any of the links below to get access to the post. If you enjoyed this post, please do share it with any of the social media buttons below.
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Reminds me of Waipio Valley on the northeastern corner of the Big Island, near where we rented a vacation home a few years ago.
Stunning photos, as usual, Noel! Lovely to see so many different faces of Hawaii.
The ones with you guys on the swing look so playful and fun.
Beautiful photos Noel. It looks like the sort of place where the storms would be awesome to see from high up.
I love to stop by for your Travel Photo Mondays posts. So many great photos to enjoy. Also it’s a great way for me to discover other inspiring bloggers through your link party.
Love your shot of the Polulu stream and valley. It makes me want to go there, too! Thank you for sharing, Noel. 🙂
Gorgeous photos of Hawaii. The sun and blue skies seem so far away for me as I find new places to put the snow in Toronto. 😉 I’ll have to remember to test out the swings when a trip to Hawaii becomes a reality for my family – hopefully in less than 5 years!
I like the photo of the valley floor because the clouds look like they are falling into the valley. Speaking of falling I guess you checked the rope for strength before swinging, lol. I liked you including photos of yourselves.
That view of the Polulu valley floor is so very verdant and green. This seems like a little corner of the world that has it all — beautiful valleys, cliffs, black sand beaches and SWINGS! That swinging looks like fun. I think we just went to the overlook when we were there but didn’t want to make the hike down (and back up) since the kids were so little at the time.
Noel, Gorgeous photos as always…I love the whimsy of the swings…beautiful.
Thanks so much for linking up to the #SundayTraveler this week, as always another set of wonderful photos from you.
I’ve been here! Love Hawaii!
Awesome photos Noel! I love the beach. I was on a black sand beach in Brazil. I would love to photograph another one! Beautiful!
I need to search your site for your photo essays of Oahu where we get to live for the next three months!
I really want to go to Hawaii! Great photos as usual, Noel.
Beautiful as always, love the photo of the woman in the foot swing – having fun!
Your pictures really capture the amazing scenery. I love the goofing off time and hope to visit there soon.
Those cliffs are so dramatic. Polulu Valley is such a beautiful, scenic area. Love those rock sculptures on the beach. And it looks like a good place to have some fun on the swings.
You’ve captured that Hawaii magic in these photos, Noel. The swing is perfect. . .don’t they just bring out the kid in all of us? Aloha!
You photos make me want to book a flight to Hawaii and escape the cold Ohio winter. 🙂 Love the swings. Looks like a fun day.
I agree with Samantha – I’d always thought of Hawaii as just beautiful white sand beaches – didn’t realise there was so much more in the way of natural beauty and landscape – so far away from London but hope to make it there one day!
Wow so Beautiful Photography. I love these Great photo. Great photo shoot Noel. I love and appreciate your this unique post 🙂
Love the photo with the rock sculptures! Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler 🙂
Woww the place looks amazing.
It was so nice seeing your pictures while we’re experiencing a difficult winter here!
Always thought of Hawaii having white sand beaches only but it makes sense to have black since it is also very volcanic! It’s like in Costa Rica too – one beach will have black sand, dark blue water, the one right next to it 100 meters to the right has soft white sand with turquoise water. All beautiful though 🙂
Another gorgeous part of Hawaii! Beautiful photos, as always, Noel. Those swings look so much fun. Love that last photo. It just looks so serene.