Hike to Papakōlea Green Sand Beach

Mountain View, Hawaii

based on 7 reviews


Added by Lorene Voskinarian

A flat ~2 mile hike out to the beach unless you get a "taxi" from the locals. Have you ever been to a green sand beach?

Papakolea Beach aka Green Sand Beach is situated in a bay cut into a side of a cinder cone that erupted thousands of years ago. The green sand is created by a silicate deposit (mineral deposit) of lava called, which stays on this beach because it is heavier than the other, lighter components of the lava.

To get to the beach, It's possible to get a ride from locals for a few bucks from the parking lot to the beach, but the 2.5 mile hike out there isn't too bad. The path is relatively flat until you climb down onto the beach. The only thing to keep in mind is that the hike is really exposed so if it's windy, the sand will be blowing around a bit. Once you get there, enjoy the beach and go for a swim if the waves aren't too big or you're a comfortable ocean swimmer. You may also want to grab a coconut or a cold one from the local vendor before heading out to the beach.

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app


Easy Parking

Hike to Papakōlea Green Sand Beach Reviews

It is a bit of a walk, but well worth it. And remember, this is PRIVATE PROPERTY. The property owners allow hikers, and cars of any kind are illegal. You want access to the beach shut down? Then keep paying locals to drive you. ~sigh~

Very close to South Point, Green Sands beach is one of the most beautiful and remote beaches one may ever come across in their lifetime. Most people walk or run to the beach from the main parking area, but it is drive-able if you have the right car (Jeep, all-wheel drive Subaru, etc)

We found an alternative to illegal 4 x4 and faster than hiking. We rented Electric mountain bikes. It is windy there so the electric bikes made this a breeze (sorry:) We took a lunch and ended up sending 3 hours there. The coast line is beautiful.

We visited the olivine beach after we did some cliff jumping and snorkeling at South Point, the hike out was not difficult but there is no shade, bring a hat and plenty of water. The most breath taking view of the beach is on the way in. The hike down to the beach looks intimidating from far away, but its totally do-able. After we did lunch and watched surfers and boogie-boarders, we hitched a ride back. The locals hang out at the beach and give rides back when asked. The ride back is a completely separate and terrifying adventure on rough recreational vehicle paths, but still worth the money back if you were as exhausted as we were.

The reviews of this area totally undersold this hike. We opted to run the 3 miles each way and it was so worth it. Running was just as fast as taking a ride with the locals but allows you to check out the cliffs. Look out for sea turtles surfing the waves. Make sure you hike to the top of the cliff that overlooks the beach at the end. Keep going around the point to get to a coral beach that is more private.

Long hike but you can ride in one of the many trucks taking people to and from the beach! Such a beautiful view. Totally worth the hike (:

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Hawaii's South Point

Snorkel Two Step Beach

Halema‘uma‘u Trail

Thurston Lava Tube Trail

Kilauea Iki Trail

Halema'uma'u Steam Bluff and Sulfur Banks