Hawaii offers travelers many things in the way of tropical scenery and laid-back island vibes. Maui, specifically, is not only the best Hawaiian island for snorkeling, but it's also home to some of the best beaches in the world. A commonly asked question in regard to Hawaii and its beaches, though, isn't about swimming, snorkeling, or sunbathing. Rather, people want to know this: Are there any pink sands that grace the shores of this stunning island?


In short, the answer is no. However, on the Road to Hana, visitors might stumble upon a beach that's equally as visually captivating and intriguing. Maui's - and, by extension, Hawaii's - only red sand beach is located on this drive, and there's plenty to know before visiting.

Related: You Don't Necessarily Need A Passport To See A Pink-Sand Beach, There's One Right In California

The Only Red Sand Beach In Hawaii

The interesting thing about Hawaii's red sand beach is that the beach itself is quite famous for its firey shores. The sand might look as though it's been placed there from the underworld, but the landscape, as a whole, is quite breathtaking. The beach in question is Kaihalulu, and it's located right off the Road to Hana. The hike itself is short, but no joke - there are several signs posted about the dangers that can plague hikers if they don't take its terrain seriously. First things first, though - what, exactly, makes this sandy beach so red?

The Red Sand On Kaihalulu

It's no secret that Hawaii's beaches are covered with sand that changes color according to the volcanic landscape around them. When entering the shores of Kaihalulu, visitors will also be greeted with tall cliffs that protect the crescent-shaped cove and also sport a similar color. The minerals and rocks that fall from these cliffs eventually make their way down to the sand, which is yet another vibrant hue as a result of Hawaii's various volcanic rock formations. On a good day, the bold red of this sand is set against the brilliant blue of Hawaii's ocean water to create a contrast that's nothing short of extraordinary.

Kaihalulu's Best-Kept Secret

When visiting this beach, it's incredibly important to remember that it is a local favorite and one that does best without attracting crowds. The hike to the beach should be done at a visitor's own risk, so it's best to not encourage more people to stumble (literally) upon its shores.

The people who visit Kaihalulu are an eccentric and laid-back community, and visitors should take care to treat it with the same respect that they do. This means no loud, obnoxious behavior, no littering, no staring, and paying neighbors on the beach the same courtesy that one would expect when visiting.

The Hike To Kaihalulu: It's Risky

Those who have read reviews for Kaihalulu on TripAdvisor have likely noticed that many of them consist of warnings to future visitors. Although the hiking trail is off the Road to Hana, there are signs posted around the area that indicates part of that trail which spans through private property. While it's commonly treaded by locals and visitors alike, it's important to show respect when doing so, which means hiking quietly and carefully. However, the risks on the trail are more than the act of trespassing - the terrain itself does not bode well for inexperienced hikers.

The trail winds down rocky, unstable cliffs, and the signs posted regarding landslides are no joke. With a mix of loose rock and slippery sand, combined with the fact that the entire trail continues at a downward clip, it's very easy for hikers to lose their balance and fall. Part of the trail winds around a cliffside and the trail is fairly narrow, which might be a bit harrowing for those who don't enjoy heights. At that point, the trail is large enough for one person to comfortably hike down, which means that groups must descend in single-file order.

Tips For Hiking To Kaihalulu

  • Be prepared to turn back. Oftentimes, visitors don't realize how tough the hike is until they're trying to maintain their balance along a cliffside that hangs over the ocean. The jagged rocks below don't do hikers any favors, and there's no shame in turning back.
  • Check the weather prior to going. The weather patterns in Hawaii can be unpredictable depending on the season, and if any rain is in the forecast at all, avoid this hike.
  • Wear shoes that have a good grip. It might be tempting to wear sandals or flip-flops to the beach, but Kaihalulu is one that requires shoes with good footing. Much of the trail is slippery and leaves hikers prone to losing their footing, so hiking boots are a better option - they can always be taken off at the bottom.

Next: The Biggest Do's And Don'ts Of Visiting Hawaii