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Clearing up the misconceptions about "Red Sand Beach"...

Hana, Hawaii
Level Contributor
18 posts
1 review
Clearing up the misconceptions about "Red Sand Beach"...

Just to clear up the truth about Kaihalulu Bay (nicknamed “Red Sand Beach”) and to clear up a few misconceptions or outdated facts…

[QUOTE]I'm not sure why some people are so anti-"Maui Revealed." They tell tourists and locals alike how to find "hidden" gems which even locals did not know existed before the publication of the first edition.[/QUOTE]

People are against the publication because it ENCOURAGES trespassing. If you ask any local anywhere on the island why they are against the book, this is the 100% answer you will get. If any of the listings start with:

“Ignore the…”

“Keep going beyond the sign…”

“Don’t listen to the locals…”

THOSE are the ones that infuriate locals the most.

Yes, the trail to the property is on private property – it belongs to Hana Ranch, who has sub-leased all of the land surrounding the trail (i.e. the Travaasa Sea-Ranch Cottages). And even in little lowly Hana, there are tourists who be quick to blame the property owners for not marking the trail.

(If you’re wondering why Hana locals aren’t so forthcoming about the location of “Red Sand”, it is because actual places of business have been held responsible for giving out directions to the beach, because the Ranch and Hotel is connected to every business in town. So, please don’t assume people you’ll meet are “guarding” the secret; they’ll simply seen the worst of a “Red Sand Beach rescue”. )

So you may ask: why don’t the property owners post any signage? That’s because it is not a marked trail. It is man-made by foot traffic. It is completely “your fault” if you keep going. Hana medics are quick to respond, but the rescue also can’t be made at the beach because there’s no place for the EMTS or Medivac for vehicle access.

[QUOTE]The day I went, there was a steady line of people coming and going down the trail...which was a very easy 10 minute hike. And once you arrive at the Red Sand Beach, you will have a private pocket of paradise like none other in all of the Hawaiian Islands.[/QUOTE]

This post was written in October of 2009. The “Maui Revealed” book was written in 2002, I believe. The beach has suffered moderate erosion since then, which would make you wonder how bad the trail, which is primarily sliding cinders, is. Well, there are two trails, one cliffside, and one below that that is on the rocks. Both are extremely dangerous for different factors, despite the assurances from guides and books. The rock-side is only safe during lowtide, and the enclave actually faces out towards the ocean, so there’s no way you’ll be “washed in” into Kaihalulu (aka “Red Sand”) if you accidentally lose your footing and fall in. Walking on wet, mossy rocks with flip-flops or tennis shoes? Not the best combination (local fishermen, divers and gatherers use “aqua socks” which hug the rock surface; they usually run $35-$60 for a good pair). The cliffside trail is the one where people have been getting hurt, falling 50-75 feet to the rock trail below. We’ve had six rescues in the past year – one included a broken back and one was a elementary-age girl. All rescues were tourists. Mostly all of the local injuries go unreported.

In summation, just use COMMON SENSE. If you’re a healthy, fit. athletic type who seeks adventure, proceed with caution. But you should be okay. If you’re traveling with elderly or childen, lack strong balance and coordination, or are not fleet-of-foot, DON’T go down here. Save yourself the trouble. Remember, you have to take the trail back out too!

Don’t ruin your vacation because you’re “daring”. The beach has had more medical emergencies than any of the other local beaches that cater to 10 TIMES the foot traffic Kaihalulu Bay offers.

Edited: 16 October 2012, 19:09
Hana, Hawaii
Level Contributor
18 posts
1 review
1. Re: Clearing up the misconceptions about "Red Sand Beach"...

I'm sorry if this subject came across as "really snotty" or attacking anyone in this forum; it's just that I've been a resident of Hana my whole life and I'm offering advice and/or warnings to anyone who will listen.

Take this advice at heart....and have a great trip, regardless of where you go. Be safe.

Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
28,113 posts
109 reviews
2. Re: Clearing up the misconceptions about "Red Sand Beach"...

But if you are a "healthy, fit, athletic type who seeks adventure", and use all the caution you can, are you not still TRESPASSING?

The Road to Hana offers so many choices for beautiful places, with never enough time to see and do it all, and no worries about entering private property, why does anyone need to visit this beach at all?

S.F. Bay Area
Level Contributor
3,008 posts
8 reviews
3. Re: Clearing up the misconceptions about "Red Sand Beach"...

<<why does anyone need to visit this beach at all?>>

Unfortunately, the word "kapu" comes to mind..

Mahalo for the resident perspective, CJR..

Aloha, NKO

Hana, Hawaii
Level Contributor
18 posts
1 review
4. Re: Clearing up the misconceptions about "Red Sand Beach"...

You're still trespassing; it's just a futile attempt by the locals to warn people. The warnings still go unheeded.

And I agree wholeheartedly with your second point. Honestly, to locals and regular visitors alike, we share the same sentiment. Why would we go to a high-risk beach with no visible beach attendants and transients living on the trailhead? Hana Bay and Hamoa are the best beaches for day-to-day access, Koki too (but a little on the dangerous side because of the nasty undertow) and Wainapanapa for a cool dip here and there. There is more than enough public beaches for everyone here at any given time of day, without braving Kaihalulu. If you want unspoiled quiet time, safety and a great view, go to Hamoa during low-traffic hours. (6 AM to 10AM....5 PM -sunset).

Edited: 16 October 2012, 20:15
Hana, Hawaii
Level Contributor
18 posts
1 review
5. Re: Clearing up the misconceptions about "Red Sand Beach"...

I hope this really helps people in making a good decision in *where* to visit in Hana. It seems as if the damning praise for "Red Sand" is for its unspoiled beauty, but 'Maui Revealed' has put a stop to that. We also have tour vans (from an out-of-town hostel) that regularly frequents the place unattended.

If you want a tip on how "safe" the trail to the beach is, even the tour drivers won't go. They just drop the hostel guests at the gate to climb over and trespass.

There's zero chance you will regret a trip to Wainapanapa (aka Black Sand) or Hamoa Beach. I can't say the same for Kaihalulu.

Kapaa, Hawaii
Level Contributor
52,719 posts
3 reviews
6. Re: Clearing up the misconceptions about "Red Sand Beach"...

You are so right on all accounts, thanks, CJR248!!

Level Contributor
233 posts
75 reviews
7. Re: Clearing up the misconceptions about "Red Sand Beach"...

I read about how beautiful the red sand beach was, and attempted to go last year. I had no idea that it was private property. I feel badly now... if it says "private property" there, I didn't see it.

I was wearing flip flops and once I got a little way down the trail I turned around and went back the way I came. I'm not in bad shape, but the trail definitely did start to look downright dangerous. I'm not sure I would've gone any further even if I had been wearing better footwear.

Why risk your health on something like that when you can go a few miles down the road and see equally incredible beauty? Some things just aren't worth the risk.

Level Contributor
270 posts
31 reviews
8. Re: Clearing up the misconceptions about "Red Sand Beach"...

now, don't shoot me...i really am an ignorant tourist.

so there is no safe/legal way to get to the Red Sand beach?

Birmingham, Alabama
Level Contributor
5,875 posts
38 reviews
9. Re: Clearing up the misconceptions about "Red Sand Beach"...

People do dumb things. Several years ago when you could hike (on the Big Island) from end of chain of craters about 2 miles over hard lava to the molten lava, I went out with friends one night after dark. (We were in shape -- having recently completed the Maui Marathon) I was absolutely amazed that there were elderly people (one fell and an ambulance had to be called) and a couple carrying an 18 month old ... TWO MILES on sharp lava in the dark. Really???

The road to Hana (and most of the islands) include a number of potentially dangerous spots. Some are even on public land. But truly! Use some common sense and know your limitations. There is little or nothing worth seeing that's worth an injury, especially a bad one.

Destination Expert
for Maui
Level Contributor
23,100 posts
19 reviews
10. Re: Clearing up the misconceptions about "Red Sand Beach"...

No, wicked! It really, really is "Kapu"! Thanks for your perspective CJR!!