Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau
National Historical Park
Round Trip Mileage: 1 mile
Elevation Gain: 0
Among the finest historical parks on the Hawiian Islands, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is a great way to learn about the ancient Hawaiian culture. It was dedicated in 1955 as the City of Refuge, but the name was changed in 2000 to relfect the correct name and Hawaiian spelling. This place of refuge allowed Hawaiians who broke the kapu system of laws as well as enemy combatants a repreive of the death penalty if they could reach the site in time. The ground also housed several ancient temples, a royal palace for the Ali'i, sledding tracks, and royal fishponds. Several of the ancient structures have been mocked up to look like they did in the past with elaborate scultped wood figures. The fee for entry is $15 per car, $10 per motorcycle, or $7 for pedestrians and bicycles.
Big Island Hikes has another hike inside the National Historical Park called the 1871 Trail.
Trailhead: On Hwy. 11 south of Kailua-Kona, turn makai between the 103 and 104 mile markers on Hwy 160. Turn left into Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. Drive to the gate, pay your fee, and park in the lot.
Gear: Standard hiking gear. Bring plenty of water and sun protection.
Hike: This short loop hike allows you to visit most of the main sights in the National Historical Park. This loop is described in a counter-clockwise direction, but you could certainly do the loop in the opposite direction. From the parking area, hike toward the main part of the park with the developed ancient sites. It's a good idea to take a tour or grab a brochure for a self-tour of this area. Free daily ranger talks are scheduled at 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM in the park's amphitheater. After visiting these incredible historical remains, make your way south and find a sandy road that leads to coastal parking and the beginning of the Coastal Trail. The Coastal Trail passes several interesting ruins before intersecting the 1871 Trail. Take the 1871 Trail north back to the Visitor's Center.