Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail

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OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure

Aloha and welcome to the audio-described version of Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail official print brochure. This audio version lasts about one hour and 5 minutes, covering both sides of the original brochure, with each side broken down into smaller sections for your listening enjoyment and time availability.

Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that visitors receive. The first side of the brochure offers color photographs of the varied landscapes, and important historical and cultural sites in the Trail corridor. Text provides information about the Trail’s natural and cultural history, safety information and open trail segments.

The second side of the brochure features a large overview map of the Island of Hawaiʻi. The map depicts portions of the Ala Kahakai Trail open to the public, the National Historic Trail corridor as well as major natural features such as lava flows, volcanoes, major highways, National Park sites and places of interest.

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OVERVIEW: Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail

Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail on the Island of Hawaiʻi is part of the National Park system. It was established in 2000 to preserve, protect and interpret traditional Native Hawaiian culture and natural resources. The stories associated with the landscapes, ancient Hawaiian sites, and over 200 ahupuaʻa, or traditional land divisions along the trail bring life to the experience. 

This trail provides access for preservation of history, the perpetuation of Hawaiian culture and preserves the coastal environment of Hawaiʻi for future generations.

The 175-mile corridor runs alongside or parallel to the seacoast extending from ‘Upolu Point on the north tip of Hawai‘i Island down the west coast of the island around Ka Lae, or South Point, and east to the east boundary of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Within the corridor are portions of pre-historic and historic trails, paralleling the shore and connecting the sea to the mountains.

To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.

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OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

This page starts with a black band across the top with the words “Ala Kahakai, National Historic Trail. Island of Hawaii” and shows the Ala Kahakai logo. The logo is a rounded triangle in white, with a blue center, with an ivory-colored ancient Hawaiian fishhook. On the upper right, are the words “National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail,” with the NPS Arrowhead logo.

Below the top black band are five pictures of various views of fish and scenes that can be viewed around the Island.

Below that is a large map of the Island of Hawaiʻi, with the Ala Kahakai trail corridor specifically highlighted on its left and southern edges. It points out many cultural sites of interest, allowing the viewer to see where they are located relative to each other major mountains and key cities.

To the upper right of the island map is information about personal safety.

At the lower edges of the map are two pictures showing a Hawaiian site (left) and a night scene of a volcanic eruption (right).

Just to the right of the southern tip of the map is a legend covering roads, the Trail corridor and ocean currents.

Across the bottom are three pictures of lava trails, noted as “ala loa.”

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IMAGES and TEXT: Welina Mai! Greetings!

The top of the brochure is a black panel, divided into three horizontal strips.

The top strip is black, with the words "Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail: Hawaii" in white.  In the upper right hand corner is the National Park Service Insignia.

Five images stretch across the middle strip of the panel, showing scenes from around the trail: A historic fishpond, 'Āholehole fish, a foot path worn into a petroglyph field, an anchialine pool, and a stepping-stone trail along the coast. 

Below this band of images is in the lower right hand corner is the ALa Kahakai National Historic Trail insignia.

IMAGE 1 of 7: National Park Service Insignia

Describing: A colored logo
Description: The National Park Service Insignia is in the shape of a wide, tan arrowhead, with the tip pointed down and a wide stem. An illustrated, simplistic illustration is within the arrowhead.

In the illustration, a white bison stands in profile, facing left, in the center of a green field in the tip. On the left, a pine tree stretches almost to the top of the arrowhead. A white lake is in the right midground, and behind it all rises a brown, snow-capped mountain underneath a tan sky.

IMAGE 2 of 7: Kaloko Fishpond
DESCRIBING: A square color photograph
Description: An aerial view of Kaloko Fishpond, a traditional Hawaiian loko ʻia in Kaloko Honokōhau National Historical Park. In the center of the photo is Kaloko kuapā, the stone fishpond wall, which separates the fishpond, on the right, from the ocean on the left. A sluice gate coming perpendicularly off the wall toward the right allows fish access in and out. The traditional ala loa trail hugs the coastline, and crosses the fishpond wall and continues south along the coastline. This photo takes place on a sunny day. The water on both sides of the wall is a teal blue color. The top of the photo shows the landscape north of the fishpond, patches of green, brown and dark grey/black lava, and green vegetation. The foreground of the photo shows the land on the south side of the water, with green trees and dense foliage, interspersed with black lava rock and tan colored sand.

CAPTION: Hawaiian fishpond walls allow controlled mixing of ocean and spring water (brackish water) , key to traditional Hawaiian aquaculture.


IMAGE 3 of 7: Āholehole Fish
DESCRIBING: A square color photograph

Description: This photo shows a very large, dense school of āholehole fish (English name Hawaiian flagtail, scientific name Kuhlia hawaiensis or Kuhlia xenera), swimming through slightly blue tinted water. The silvery grey fish are all swimming toward the left side of the photo.The light from above the water is illuminating the fish at the top of the photo, while those below are more in the dark. The exact size of the fish are not apparent from the photo, but in general the maximum length of āholehole is about 12 inches.

CAPTION: Āholehole, a favorite food fish
CREDIT: L. Kramer

IMAGE 4 of 7: Trail with petroglyphs
DESCRIBING: A square color photograph 
Description: This photo shows a deep groove of a footworn trail passing through a smooth pāhoehoe lava petroglyph field. On either side of the trail are many petroglyphs: circles, human figures known as anthropomorphs, poho or shallow cups and other shapes pecked into the lava. The color of the lava is whitish brown, the trail and the petroglyphs are substantially darker than the surface they are on. There is a crack in the lava passing through the petroglyph field and the trail. There are plants growing up out of the crack.
CAPTION: Pāhoehoe trail with petroglyphs

IMAGE 5 of 7: Anchialine Pool

DESCRIBING: A square color photograph

DESCRIPTION: An anchialine, brackish water pool, habitat of tiny endemic ʻōpaeʻula shrimp. The pool is in the center of the photograph, and reflects the white clouds in the sky and green vegetation around the edges of the pool. In the foreground green ‘akulikuli, pickleweed and heliotrope plants cover the ground, with a small patch of dark lava rock peeking out of the greenery. In the background similar vegetation and shelves of black lava rock skirt the far edge of the pool, and large trees are on the horizon, against the white sky.
CAPTION: An anchialine (brackish water) pool housing the rare and endemic ‘ōpae‘ula shrimp

IMAGE 6 of 7: Steppingstone Trail
DESCRIBING: A square color photograph
SYNOPSIS: A stepping stone trail made of smooth, rounded, water worn porous basalt lava stones. In the foreground of the photo, the photo provides a closeup of the stepping stones, the surfaces of the stones are smooth with indented “bubbles” left from when the lava was liquid. The trail is composed of many stones consolidated together in one path, and appear jumbled close up. The trail extends into the background toward the left side of the photo, flanked by contrasting dark colored, rough ʻaʻā lava. A glimpse of the ocean is visible on the right in the background, skirted by a black lava cliff. From the cliffside, a hill rises in elevation to the left; dark colored, covered sparsely with light colored grass. The sky above is white.
CAPTION: A beautifully intact coastal stepping-stone trail.

IMAGE 7 of 7: Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail Insignia

Describing: A triangular, colored logo
The logo is two concentric triangles with rounded sides . The larger triangle is white with a thick black border, and the smaller triangle is a deep blue. In the center of the insignia is a yellow fish hook, curving around in a spiral.

The words “ALA KAHAKAI” wrap around two thirds of the right and left sides of the blue triangle in large text. “National Historic Trail” wraps around the lower side.


The National Park Service welcomes you to the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail (NHT).

The Ala Kahakai NHT celebrates the ways ancient and indigenous peoples worldwide have created and used trails. From Eurasia’s Silk Roads, to the trade trails of Mesoamerica and North America, to the great ocean roads sailed by Polynesians throughout the Pacific, these ancient routes have brought people, cultures, traditions and knowledge together from across the world for millennia.

Located on one of the world’s most remote island chains, the trails of the Ala Kahakai NHT are part of the Pacific trails of the human diaspora. The trails recount stories of oceanic migrations, settlement, and adaptation.

Established in 2000, Ala Kahakai (a modern name, meaning “trail by the sea”) is a 175-mile coastal network of ancient, historic, and modern trails. The Ala Kahakai NHT corridor extends from the northern tip of the Island of Hawai‘i, along its western and southern coasts, to the eastern boundary

of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

The Ala Kahakai NHT’s mandate is to preserve, protect, interpret, reestablish as necessary, and maintain the trail system. Ala Kahakai NHT works with governmental and nongovernmental partners to encourage descendant-led stewardship of trails and resources.

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TEXT: Personal Safety

Hiking Preparedness

Hiking Hawai‘i’s coast is generally sunny and hot. Please prepare and take precautions:

  • Sun Protection: Hat, reef-safe sunscreen, sunglasses, and long sleeves
  • Water: Minimum 2 liters of water per person per day for short hikes
  • Weather: Before you go, check weather forecasts and follow all warnings and advisories.

Hawai‘i County Civil Defense:

National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office for Honolulu, HI: or by phone: 808-935-8555

Water Safety

Most coasts have no lifeguard on duty. Make informed decisions in choosing a shoreline destination appropriate to your personal ocean skill level.

  • Before you go: Check weather and ocean safety advisories (see contacts above), and heed all warnings.
  • High Surf & Strong Currents: Moderate to high surf is common in Hawai‘i. Expect strong breaking waves, shore break, and currents to make swimming difficult and dangerous. When in doubt, don’t go out!
  • Stream Crossings: Some trail sections cross stream beds that may flash flood during heavy rains. Always use caution near streams.

For Emergencies: Call 911

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MAP: Ala Kahakai NHT on Hawaiʻi Island

DESCRIBING: A large, color map that appears somewhat 3D to show topography

SYNOPSIS: This is a north-oriented map of the island of Hawaiʻi, also known as the Big Island or Moku o Keawe, and its surrounding ocean. Hawaiʻi is the largest and southeasternmost of the islands in the Hawaiian Archipelago, and like all the islands in this group, it is volcanic. The island is roughly 93x83 miles and is roughly triangular in shape, tilted so that there is a corner at 3, 6, and 11 oʻclock.

The primary focus of the map is the extent of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail Corridor, as well as population centers and points of interest within it. The corridor wraps around the west and southern sides of the island, extending approximately 175 miles from the northwest point of the island called ʻUpolu Point to the northeastern boundary of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park called Wahaʻula. The corridor lies generally between the coastal highway and the ocean, ranging in width from a sixth of a mile to 13 miles.

Visitor Centers are located in the four other National Park Units on the Island: Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park at 5 oʻclock, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park at 8, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park at 9, and Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historical Site at 10:30. Braille versions of the Ala Kahakai brochure are available at each Visitor Center.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, which is a modern name meaning trail by the sea, is a 175 mile coastal corridor encompassing a portion of the islandwide network of culturally and historically significant trails. These include ancient, historic and modern connecting trails. The corridor begins at the northern tip of the island and extends down the west coast, around the bottom southern tip and and stretches around the eastern coast about a 1/4 of the way. The corridor encompasses main population centers, National, State, and County Parks, beaches, ancient and historic sites, and natural heritage areas.

Hawaiʻi is an island in the Pacific Ocean with an irregular shape. Spanning across the northern part of the island, the shape is thumblike jutting out to the northwest from the mass of land. The west coast from north to south is curvy, jutting out about midway at Keāhole Point, and spans roughly 90 miles in length. At the southern tip of the island, a point is formed called Ka Lae, or South Point, the southernmost point in the United States. From Ka Lae, the southeast coast of the islands ascends to Kumukahi Point, the easternmost part of the island, about 70 miles along a bumpy coastline. From Kumukahi Point, the northeast coast of the island slopes up at a roughly 45 degree angle to the east for roughly 85 miles, to the island’s northernmost part, Upolū Point, which forms the tip of the “thumb”. The fairly straight northeast coastline is punctuated by the large inlet at Hilo Bay, approximately a quarter of the way up the northeast coast.

Shaded areas of the map represent differences in vegetation and land cover. The windward or eastern side of the island appears bright green colored, it is covered in lush vegetation due to high levels of rainfall. The leeward side of the island, especially the northwest portion of the island, receives very little moisture, indicated by a yellow color on the map. Further south on the west coast also receives significant rainfall, shown in light to dark green color. The southern coast, to the east of Ka Lae is called the Kaʻu desert, a dry area also indicated by yellow color.

The legend, located in the bottom right of the map, indicates the Nā Ala Hele Ala Kahakai Trail Alignment in yellow, the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail Corridor in tan, moku, or district, boundary markers as a black triangle, and ocean currents as blue tapering arrows. Amenities are not marked on the map, but are discussed in detail within each National Park Unit description on the rest of this page.

Within the trail corridor, places of interest are marked with a black dot and text. These places include National, State, and County Parks, beaches, ancient and historic cultural sites, and natural heritage areas. The nine moku, or districts, of the island are indicated with white text and white dashed lines, and landmarks denoting their boundaries are depicted with black triangles along the coast.

Black text wrapping around the coastline indicates two traditional ecological regions. Kapalilua stretches from 6 to 8 oʻclock, and 9 to 10 oʻclock is Kekahawaiʻole. 

Roads and highways are indicated by brown lines, and marked with white circles containing black numbers. Major routes are labeled in brown. The Mamalahoa Highway and the Queen Kaʻahumanu Highways start in Kailua Kona and split, with Queen Kaʻahumanu remaining along the western coast before turning east at Kawaihae, curving around the coast to Hilo at 3 oʻclock.The Mamalahoa Highway heads inwards, rejoining Queen Kaʻahumanu at Waimea. The Waikoloa Rd connects the Queen Kaʻahumanu highway and the upper Mamalahoa Highway 20 miles north of Kailua Kona. The Daniel K Inouye Highway becomes Highway 200, or Saddle Road which ends in Hilo. South of Kailua Kona, the Māmalahoa Highway traverses the entire southern part of the island along the coast, eventually connecting to Keaʻau and Hilo. From Keaʻau at 3 oclock on the map, highway 130 travels south to Pāhoa, and forms a loop connecting to Kalapana and the end of the road where it was covered by lava.

At the South Point of the island, ocean currents come from either side and join, forming a major current, Ke Au o Halaliʻi, that continues to the southwest.

Each of the five volcanoes of the island are marked in italic black text. The Kohala Mountains are in the north west corner of the island at 11 oʻclock. They start on the coast and extend inland about 30 miles to the west. Mauna Kea is directly north of the center of the island, south east of the Kohala Mountains. Twenty-five miles southwest of Mauna Kea, Hualālai volcano forms a high point on the landscape just east of Kailua-Kona. Fifty miles southeast of Hualalai is Mauna Loa and the northern portion of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Mauna Loa extends from the south center of the island to the southern tip. Grey stripes radiate from Mauna Loa indicating past volcanic flows, many of which are labeled with their years at the coast in small black text. These flows start at the top of Mauna Loa and extend in all directions. Lengths vary by direction, but in many cases, the lava flow extends to the coast. To the east of Mauna Loa is the eastern portion of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park and Kīlauea, a highly active volcano located roughly 10 miles from the coast. Extending from Kīlauea to the west and east are lava flows and rift zones, places where the volcano is splitting apart. Other geographic features, such as desert, saddles, and mountain ridges, are marked in thin black text.

The communities of Kailua-Kona and Captain Cook are along the western coast of the island. Ocean View, Waiohinu and Naʻalehu are on the southern tip. Pahala and Volcano Village are in the southeastern corner. Mountain View, Kea'au and Hilo are on the eastern tip and Kalapana and Pahoa are southeast of Hilo. Honoka'a and Hawī are on the northern coast.

Points of Interest, counter-clockwise beginning at 11 oʻclock:

Beginning at ʻUpolu point, which is the northernmost tip of the island at 11 oʻclock, Moʻokini Heiau, Kamehameha Iʻs Birthplace, Kapaʻa Beach Park, Māhukona Beach Park, Lapakahi State Historical Park, and Kaiholena. Oneloa marks the boundary between the districts of North and South Kohala. The town of Kawaihae, Puʻukohola Heiau National Historic Site, and Spencer Beach at Ohaiʻula Beach,

Nā Ala Heleʻs Ala Kahakai Trail alignment is marked with a yellow line along the coast starting at Spencer Beach, passing through Hāpuna Beach State Recreation Area and ending below Puakō Petroglyph Preserve.

Continuing south, Puakō Petroglyph Preserve, Fishponds at Kalahuipuaʻa, Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve, Puʻu Aliʻi and Kahapapa Fishponds at Anaehoʻomalu. Keahualono marks the boundary of South Kohala and North Kona at 10 oʻclock.

From 10 to 9 oʻclock:o Fishpond, and the Kona International Airport at Keahole, Kohanaʻiki Beach Park, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park. , and the town of Kailua-Kona at 9 o'clock.

9 to 8 oʻclock:

Both Ahuʻana Heiau at Kamakahonu and Huliheʻe Palace State Monument are in the town of Kailua-Kona.

Keauhou: Kauikeaouli Birthplace, Lekeleke/Kuamoʻo Battlegrounds. Puʻuohau is the boundary between North and South Kona.

Roughly a mile inland is the town of Captain Cook at 8 oʻclock.

8 to 6

Next on the coast is Kealakekua Bay State Historic Park, which contains Captain Cookʻs Monument, and Hikiʻau Heiau, Puʻuhonua o Honaunau National HIstorical Park, Kauleoli, Hoʻokena Beach at Kauhakō Bay, Kamoi at Manukā Bay forms the boundary between South Kona and Kaʻu. The town of Ocean View is 5 miles inland at 6:30 on the clock. Kahuku Visitor Center is roughly 10 miles north of Ka Lae, or South Point, which is at 6 oʻclock.

6 to 5

Wai’ohinu, Na’alehu, Whittington Beach Park at Honu’apo, Punalu’u Beach Park, the town of Pāhala is approximately 3 miles mauka or towards the mountain, from the coast. North of the boundary of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is the Southwest Rift Zone, Kaʻu Desert, Hilina Pali Overlook, Okiokiaho marks the boundary of Kaʻu and Puna moku/districts at 5 oʻclock. To the NNW, about 10 miles inland are Jaggar Museum, Volcano House, Thurston Lava Tube, Volcano Village and the Kilauea Visitor Center.

Pu’uloa Petroglyphs, Holei Sea Arch, Waha’ula Heiau marks the north side of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Kalapana, Pahoa at 4 oʻclock, Kea'au, Mountain View, Hilo at 3, Honoka’a at 12 , Waimea 20 miles inland at 11 oʻclock.

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TEXT: Open Trail Segments

The trail segments below are open to the public.

Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site

  • Pu‘ukoholā Heiau was completed in 1791 by Kamehameha I and played a crucial role in his establishment of the Hawaiian Kingdom. A self-guided walking tour of the park begins at the Visitor Center and continues south as Nā Ala Hele’s Ala Kahakai Trail.
  • Amenities: Parking, restrooms and water. Camping available by permit at the adjacent Spencer County Beach Park.

Nā Ala Hele’s Ala Kahakai Trail

  • This trail section is part of the State of Hawai‘i’s Na Ala Hele Trail and Access Program. Extending from the southern boundary of Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, to ‘Anaeho‘omalu Bay, this section of trail passes through public and private lands and provides access to numerous beaches and resorts. Check Nā Ala Hele’s website for details:
  • Amenities: Parking, restrooms, and water are available at most locations.

Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park

  • Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park is an excellent example of Hawaiian ingenuity, culture, and natural resources. Traditional Hawaiian fishponds, a fishtrap, and dryland farming complexes were built here to feed their communities. A system of trails connect these extraordinary sites.
  • Amenities: Parking, restrooms, water, and picnic area.

Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historic Park

  • A pu‘uhonua is a safe place, a place of refuge for the sick, the despised, and for wrongdoers who broke the kapu (the system of sacred and forbidden behaviors) or kanawai (laws). The Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau complex includes heiau (temples), a hale poki (mausoleum), and a royal kauhale (compound). A section of the Ala Nui Aupuni, or Hawaiian Kingdom Government Road runs through the park and continues to the south.
  • Amenities: Parking, restrooms, picnic area.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

  • Over 150 miles of trail stretch through the Park, ranging from short day hikes to overnight backcountry hiking. Along with active volcanoes and geology, the Park and surrounding region are full of mo‘olelo (stories, history) that tell of the goddess Pelehonuamea (Pele) and her family. The unique ecosystems that developed here are important to both Hawaiian indigenous and Western science.
  • Amenities: Parking, restrooms, water, gas station, food service, camping, lodging and picnic areas.

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IMAGE: Hale o Keawe

DESCRIBING: A square color photograph
DESCRIPTION: This is a photo of Hale o Keawe, translation house of Keawe, a traditional thatched roof structure. This view looks directly at the side of the structure, which has a rough texture and light brown color from the dry pili grass thatch. The top and right side of the thatch are a dark brown color. The hale is surrounded by a low wood fence with upright sticks carved to points. 14 carved ki’i, upright carved deity images, surround the hale. A lele, a traditional offering platform, is also inside the fence with the hale, near the right side. The lele is made of vertical thin posts, lashed with thin horizontal posts, forming two platform levels. A lashed wooden ladder rests on the top level of the lele. The hale and other structures sit on a flat, tan -colored sand surface. A black lava rock wall edges the sand. In the background, the dark blue ocean is visible on the right, with green trees on the left. The sky behind is a hazy light blue.

CAPTION: Hale o Keawe, a hale poki (mausoleum) that once housed selective bones of 23 esteemed chiefs, including its namesake, Keawe‘ikekahiali‘iokamoku

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IMAGE: Halema‘uma‘u crater

DESCRIBING: A square, color photograph

DESCRIPTION: A heavy plume of steam rising from Halemaʻumaʻu crater at night. The steam billows from the lower left corner of the photograph towards the upper right. The steam is illuminated with the night-time glow of the volcano, bright yellow fading through orange and red to grey. The portion of the crater to the left of the column glows bright orange, reflecting the steam. The rest of the crater is dimly lit in an orange glow, fading to black farther from the plume, while the surrounding ground surface appears almost entirely black. The light of the crater stands in sharp contrast to the deep indigo night sky, which is obscured only by a thin cloud, lit orange, in the left background and a large, billowing, grey cloud hanging in the upper right.

CAPTION: Halema‘uma‘u crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano is home to Pele, the sacred living deity of Hawai‘i’s volcanoes who manifests as all forms of lava.


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IMAGES and TEXT: Ala loa

IMAGE 1 of 3: Horse on trailDESCRIBING: A small, square black-and-white photograph

DESCRIPTION: A historic photo dating to the 1890’s of a horse on a trail. A curb-lined trail stretches far into the horizon through a field of ‘a’ā lava. The lava is jumbled in loose, natural piles, with larger boulders scattered through the field. The trail itself is constructed of this lava, stacked and built up into an elevated causeway above the surrounding area. The trail surface is a smooth, graveled grade and lined on both sides with squat walls roughly 18 inches or 45 centimeters wide. The horse stands in the middle of the trail, facing the camera and is wearing a bridle and a pack.

CAPTION: Photo taken in the late 1800s of the Kīholo-Puakō Trail depicts its use by pack animals

CREDIT:Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives

IMAGE 2 of 3: Group of people hikingDESCRIBING: A horizontal color photograph


A line of people of all ages, wearing multi-colored t-shirts and shorts on a sunny day, stretches from the lower left of the photo to the upper middle, following a coastal trail. The people are carrying notebooks, water bottles and backpacks. Two people carry small children on their shoulders. The trail winds through the landscape and parallels the shore before vanishing into a bright green thicket of trees in the distance. To the right of the trail is a field of thick, tan-and-grey basalt stones and boulders. A large pile of dead branches is strewn in the background. To the left of the trail is a band of smooth, dark lava rocks, parallelling the trail before curving to the left towards the shore along the thicket. The dark grey of this band contrasts with the vibrant green of the ground cover underneath the trees. A patch of bright white coral is spread between the shore and the vegetation on the dark lava towards the end of the curve. The lava lightens to a tan-grey as it approaches the water. The sea is a very pale blue, almost blending into the thin strip of misty sky above it.

CAPTION: Intergenerational learning along the Ala Kahakai


IMAGE 3 of 3: Scaffolding on trailDESCRIBING: A horizontal color photograph

DESCRIPTION: A photo of ʻolokeʻa, or traditional wooden scaffolding, along a raised trail. The trail stretches from the lower left to the upper right of the photograph, cutting through a rolling ʻaʻā field under a clear sky. The trail is raised and constructed of ʻaʻā lava, with a smooth gravel grade atop a stacked stone wall, forming a causeway 10-12 feet above the ground. The trail is in the process of being repaired and stabilized, and seven columns of ʻolokeʻa are built on either side of the trail, forming a series of loose “A”-shapes. Yellow and red tape are tied along the oloke’a. Atop and beneath the trail to the right are four orange traffic cones in a square around a black tarp, joined by yellow tape. A man in a yellow shirt stands at the far end of the trail. Behind him, shrouded in haze and low clouds, are the Kohala mountains.

CAPTION: Traditional ‘oloke‘a scaffolding used for trail stabilization work



Ala loa is an ancient name for the long trail, highway, and/or main road around the island. In a given area, the ala loa often refers to both the most ancient alignment as well as a general pathway.

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OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure

At the top left are the words “Living Trails.” On the top right are the words “National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior. Ala Kahaaki National Historic Trail” and the NPS arrowhead logo.

On the upper left, below “Living Trails,” is a section that provides information on ancient Hawaiian voyagers and fishing.

On the upper right, below the “National Park Service” is section providing information about Hawaiian royalty and its efforts to preserve trails and roads, and to make them always available to the public.

Below those two top sections, going across the width of the brochure are two examples of typical landscapes on Hawaii Island.

Directly below the landscape examples are seven different photo examples and descriptions of the types of trails that exist on the island.

Below the trail types is information about the importance of community to help preserve all that is a part of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

At the bottom edge are a few pictures of plants, fish and a coastline, with the National Trails System logo ate the far right. 

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IMAGES and TEXT: Living Trails

IMAGE 1 of 3: The Hōkuleʻa

DESCRIBING: A horizontal color photograph

DESCRIPTION: This is a photo of the Hokule’a, a Polynesian voyaging canoe measuring 61 feet long, 15 feet wide and weighs 16,000 pounds.This massive traditional style sailing canoe has travelled around the world.The waʻa kaulua, or canoe, is located in the left foreground in a bright blue sea, sailing toward an island. The twin hulls of the canoe are tan on the top, brown on the bottom, and are connected by a raised platform. Two bright orange, triangular sails rise from the front half of the canoe. The very long wooden rudder extends from the back into the water. A group of people are standing on the platform. The island is long and green, with low, sharp mountains punctuating the landscape. The left side is under heavy shadow from the thick white clouds that fill the sky.

RELATED TEXT: Early ancestors of todayʻs Polynesians migrated out of Southeast Asia into the islands of the western Pacific Ocean. They ventured successively outward, into easterly trade winds, refining their vessels as they went.

Over 1,000 years ago voyaging canoe migrations departed the central South Pacific in search of whatʻs known today as the Hawaiian archipelago. Their mastery in seafaring and navigation initiated an era of voyaging from 800 C.E. to 1300 C.E. between Hawaiʻi and other Pacific islands.

Polynesian settlers were well trained in assessing a landscapeʻs habitability from their voyaging canoes. Explorations throughout the archipelago found welcoming living conditions. Polynesians settled and spread, creating island-wide trail networks.

CREDIT: Polynesian Voyaging Society and ʻOīwi TV

IMAGE 2 of 3: Grassy hill landscape

DESCRIBING: A color photo, about two inches high and eight inches wide

DESCRIPTION: This is a photo of an exposed, wide open grassy hillside which is higher on the left and slopes gradually down to the right. Light colored lines cross the hillside in a grid pattern indicating the remnants of the Kohala field system, a massive agricultural complex extending miles in each direction. The slope is covered in short yellow and green grasses which appear in irregular wavy, rippled patterns. There are two patches of dark green trees near the top left of the picture and a small patch on the lower right of the slope. In the foreground, along the bottom left edge of the picture are some small leafy bushes. The sky is grey blue with some puffy white clouds.

CAPTION: Fishermen exchanged iʻa (fish and other seafood) and paʻakai (salt) with farmers for staples like kalo (taro) and ʻuala (sweet potato) from the vast agricultural complexes of the valleys and uplands.Trail networks sustained economic and social interaction across the entire island.


IMAGE 3 of 3: Fisherman

DESCRIBING: A small color photograph of a fisherman.

DESCRIPTION: A throw net fisherman, green net in hand, stands calf deep in blue-grey ocean shallows under a grey sky, facing the shore with his back to the camera. White surf crashes directly behind him. Directly in front of the man on the shore is a coconut palm tree. To the right of the tree is a heiau, or large ceremonial stone platform, black in color, several feet tall and roughly twice as wide. To the left of the tree is a wooden lele, or sacrificial altar, rising twice the height of the stone platform. Yellow tufts of grass rise on the hill behind them.

CAPTION: Coastal fisherman’s trails provide access to ocean resources and lifestyles.



The sound of saltwater slapping the windward hull of the massive wa‘a kaulua (double hulled voyaging canoe) eases as it sails into the deep bay. This protected beach sits at the foot of a long, sloping mountain, its flank streaked in black lava flows and top veiled in clouds. Shimmering black sand fractures, softly giving way under the hull’s weight. A person steps out, creating a single footprint. What fortune at finding this verdant island, this sheltered bay! In the distance, a ring of green foliage rising above a jagged ‘a‘ā landscape, indicating life giving wai (fresh water). A new journey begins, and the first Hawaiian land trail is forged.

Early ancestors of today’s Polynesians migrated out of Southeast Asia into the islands of the western Pacific Ocean. They ventured successively outward, into easterly trade winds, refining their vessels as they went.

Over 1,000 years ago voyaging canoe migrations departed the central South Pacific in search of what’s known today as the Hawaiian archipelago. Their mastery in seafaring and navigation initiated an era of voyaging from 800 C.E. to 1300 C.E. between Hawai‘i and other Pacific islands.

Polynesian settlers were well trained in assessing a landscape’s habitability from their voyaging canoes.

Explorations throughout the archipelago found welcoming living conditions. Polynesians settled and spread, creating island-wide trail networks.

Just as arteries transport life-sustaining blood throughout the body, the trails sustain the movement of people, goods, and information throughout the land.

Fishermen exchanged i‘a (fish and other seafood) and pa‘akai (salt) with farmers for staples like kalo (taro) and ‘uala (sweet potato) from the vast agricultural complexes of the valleys and uplands. Trail networks sustained economic and social interaction across the entire island.


Mohala i ka wai ka maka o ka pua.
Unfolded by the water are the faces of the flowers. Flowers thrive where there is water, as thriving people are found where living conditions are good.
‘Ōlelo No‘eau 2178

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IMAGE and QUOTE: Trail Laws and Expectations


Kānāwai o Māmalahoe
(Law of the Splintered Paddle)

A e mālama ho‘i
Ke kānaka nui a me kānaka iki
E hele ka ‘elemakule
Ka luahine, a me ke kama
A moe i ke ala
A‘ohe mea nana e ho‘opilikia
Hewa no, make

Respect alike, the rights of
All men great and humble
See to it that our aged,
Our women, and children
Lie down to sleep by the roadside
Without fear of harm
Disobey, and die

Said by Kamehameha I (1797)

RELATED TEXT: This law, enacted by Kamehameha 1, provided protection for travelers. The law asserted the king’s right and responsibility over Hawai‘i’s trails and roads and encouraged the connectivity of families and commerce through safe passage.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Highways Act

DESCRIBING: A small 1 ½" square black and white photo

DESCRIPTION: This is a historic portrait of Queen Lili’uokalani. She is full figured, stately in appearance, and has a very serious expression, almost a frown, on her face. She has very prominent cheekbones and eyebrows. Her mouth is closed and her face is slightly facing downward toward the viewer’s left. Her hair is pulled back and curly bangs line her forehead. Her hair is secured with a pearl adorned hair comb. She is formally attired in a black gown with a wide neckline that comes almost to her shoulders. A white sash hangs from her right shoulder and crosses her chest. On her heart is a large white brooch in the form of an eight-point star. She is wearing a short necklace of large black pearls. At the center of her bodice there is a small triangular jewelry piece with tiny floral shapes. On each shoulder there are large dark feathers. In the background there is an out-of-focus feather cape hanging on the wall.

CAPTION: Queen Lili‘uokalani
CREDIT: Hawaii State Archives


One of the final acts passed by Hawai‘i’s last reigning monarch, Queen Lili‘uokalani, prior to the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, was the Highways Act of 1892. It stated that “All roads, alleys, streets, ways, lanes, courts, places, trails and bridges in the Hawaiian Islands, whether now or hereafter opened, laid out or built by the Government, or by private parties, and dedicated or abandoned to the public as a highway, are hereby declared to be public highways.” The Act, which provides for public ownership of “highways” was carried through into State of Hawai‘i law (HRS 264-1(b)). This law applies even if the trail is not physically on the ground – as with instances where trail segments have been destroyed over time due to various land uses or natural processes.

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TEXT: It’s a Kākou Thing

“Kākou” is the collective “we”, inclusive of everyone. Trails pass through public and private property, although trails and access are protected by law, land surrounding the trail may be private property.

A successful trail network requires us all to have mutual respect for that which belongs to the individual, and that which belongs to the public. Being good hosts and good guests is a “kākou thing”.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Historic Land Protection, Kauleolī

DESCRIBING: This is a small color picture, about 1 ½ inches tall and four inches wide

DESCRIPTION: A coast rimmed with layered, multi colored lava rock. The bottom layer is pink in color, the middle layer is light grey and the top layer is black. This is a protected land called Kauleolī. The lava is curved from the lower right foreground and crosses to the water on the middle left. The lava’s surfaces are relatively smooth. The lava field goes back into the distant right. There is light green foliage that is growing atop the lava in the far right background. Above the lava’s edge on the left and on into the distance is a calm grey ocean. The cliff in the background of the photo is hazy from vog, volcanic emissions, obscuring the landscape. At the lower left, cupped by the curved lava, is a small cove of splashing, light blue ocean water. 

CAPTION: Historic Land Protection: Kauleolī



In 2016, at the request of the South Kona community, Ala Kahakai NHT acquired a 59-acre parcel in the ahupua‘a of Kauleolī. The coastal parcel is adjacent to Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau NHP, and includes a section of well preserved Ala Nui Aupuni (Hawaiian Kingdom Trail). Ala Kahakai NHT is working with descendants, community members, and others to manage the land.

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IMAGES and TEXT: Hawai‘i Island Trails

DESCRIBING: This is a 1” by 3” wide color picture horizontal color photograph

DESCRIPTION: This is a photo of a wandering beach footpath. The smooth sandy trail varys in width. It cuts through a field of leafy, lush green pōhuehue or beach morning glory, an indigenous spreading vine, from the lower right to the left, and then to the top toward the ocean. The shoreline near the top curves out to a point on the right, creating a small bay between it and the field. The ocean is a light grey blue. At the lower right, there are small dark rocks along the trail’s edge.

CAPTION: A pōhuehue (beach morning glory) adorned coastal trail


Behind the text is a faint grey watermark of a historic map showing trails.


Hawai‘i’s first trails followed the natural contours of the land. Major prehistoric trails, or ala loa, connected networks of shorter coastal trails (ala hele or ala lihi kai), and intersected mauka-makai (mountain-ocean) trails known as ala pi‘i mauna or ala pi‘i uka. Some trails followed streams or cliff edges, and some were boundaries between neighboring ahupua‘a (land divisions). Often, many trails radiated out of population centers, like the spokes of a wheel.

Trails exhibit a variety of construction methods and materials, based on terrain, intended use and mode of transportation. Trail names also varied by place and through time, based on specific location or community/family tradition. For instance, the Ala Nui Aupuni, is also the Māmalahoa, and the Puakō-Kīholo Trail. Hawaiian trail systems are, and will always remain dynamic.

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IMAGE and TEXT: ‘A‘ā

DESCRIBING: This is a two inch square color photograph 

DESCRIPTION: A picture of a small section of trail through ʻaʻā lava. Some of the trails are only wide enough to walk single file, while other trails can be up to six feet across. It is principally made from what looks like finely crushed blue grey rock in the middle. On its sides are medium-sized chunks of roughly textured brown colored lava rocks. The sun is lighting up the edges of some of the lava rocks on their right sides. 



These lava flows are sharp, brittle and uneven. To travel through them is slow and treacherous. Building of trails made it possible to move much more easily through this harsh landscape. Walking on ‘a’s trails, it is easy to have a sense of wonder and appreciation for their creators.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Pāhoehoe

DESCRIBING: A two inch square color photograph 

DESCRIPTION: A small section of trail on āhoehoe lava. It depicts a single-file path on a relatively smooth and flat section of light sandy colored lava. The path is deeply worn into the rock. On both sides of the lava path there are many small petroglyphs, images pecked into the rock through indirect percussion by ancient Hawaiians. In this process, a sharp rock is held against the surface of the lava and struck with another rock, like a hammer and chisel. This section of the path rises slowly up toward the right, and travels up over a rise. 


The smooth, rolling nature of pāhoehoe lava makes walking on them relatively easy. Even so, the continuous use of specific alignments created distinct paths on the land. Trails across pāhoehoe lava can be identified because they often have a smooth, shiny surface and subtle indentation caused by thousands of repetitive footfalls over time.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Stepping Stone

DESCRIBING: A two inch square color photograph 

DESCRIPTION: This is a small section of a trail made of smooth stepping stones. These grey stones are rounded and are small and medium sized. They are called “water worn” , or ‘ala, because the ocean has worn away any rough edges. The stones vary in size and are staggered in such a way that walking on them would require caution and agility in order to avoid turning an ankle. On both sides of the path there are small, rough and jagged dark grey lava rocks.



Smooth waterworn stones (‘ala or paʻala) were added along the center of a trail over rough terrain to make foot travel more comfortable. Paʻala were often hand carried from miles away to their resting place along the trail. Starting in the late 1700s, horses, donkeys and cattle were driven along trails. The smooth stepping stones caused the animals to slip so they were often moved aside or removed.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Curb-lined

DESCRIBING: A square color photograph 

DESCRIPTION: A flat surface composed of dark, sharply angled ‘a’ā lava rock and gravel extends to the horizon in the middle of the photo. Larger sized pieces of lava stacked upon one another line either side of the trail forming short curbs. Similar sized pieces of lava are present throughout the landscape on the right and left of the trail. Sunlight illuminates the trail, curbs, and surroundings with a glow, while the lower trail surface is left in shadow. The photo was taken in early evening light, rising from the right, or west, side of the frame. In the background Hualalai Mountain rises on the left, streaked in black and yellow.

CREDIT: K. Wallis 


Historically built trails (after 1778 CE) incorporate the builder’s expertise in engineering and artistic interpretation, and often include bridge-like causeways. The curbs lining the edges of the trail helped people and livestock travel these alignments with ease. Today, when trails are maintained or repaired, special care is taken to preserve the unique style of that particular trail section.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Paved Trails

DESCRIBING: A square color photograph
DESCRIPTION:A wide path made of large, flat stones extends from the foreground to the horizon in an ascending fashion indicating slight elevation. Grey, flat, interlocking stones of various sizes make up the path. Vegetation is growing in between some of the stones and on the right side of the trail On the left and right, and at the end of the path, green, bushy vegetation overtakes the edges of the road. A carefully made curb of large rocks lines the left side of the path, and is slightly visible on the right towards the apex of the rise in the background. At the furthest visible point on the path near the top of the photograph, vegetation overhangs the path and blue sky peeks out from the brush.


Eventually, wider, straighter, and more level trails were built by the Hawaiian Kingdom to accommodate horse drawn carts. The foundation of paved trails are large, interlocking stones. Speed of travel was an important factor in the planning of these trails. Often they took more direct inland routes between population centers, bypassing or built over traditional trails.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Jeep Trails & Modern Roads

DESCRIBING: A square color photograph
DESCRIPTION: A flat road consisting of light brown dirt and pebble like material starts in the foreground and ascends to the horizon indicating a climb in elevation. About ¾ of the way up the road, it makes a curve to the left and then disappears as it rounds the corner to the right behind a steep cliff composed of brown colored lava rock. On the left of the photo, the road dramatically drops off, resembling a steep, smooth cliff adjacent to the road. On further observation, the “cliff” is a constructed stone retaining wall, supported by a lava rock outcrop in the background. There is very little separation between the road surface and the dropoff. On the right in the foreground of the photo, the curve of the road is lined by a short masonry curb, the inner edge of which appears to be missing, revealing round rocks lined up and interspersed with concrete. . A hint of blue peeks out beyond the horizon indicating the presence of water



With the arrival of automobiles, some trails were modified to accommodate them. In other instances completely new alignments were constructed. Ali‘i drive in Kailua-Kona is an example of a coastal trail that has changed form through time and is now a popular modern roadway.

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TEXT: Community-Based Stewardship

Ho‘okahi ka ‘ilau like ana

Wield the paddles together
Work together
-‘Ōlelo No‘eau 1068

The purpose and vision for the trail were crafted through many meetings with community members, descendants, landowners, and other stakeholders. Their mana‘o (thought, ideas) led to Ala Kahakai NHTs descendant-led, community-based approach to trail management. This means that the community plays an active role in Trail management, helping to develop Hawaiian values-based policies, creating management guidelines, and applying them in the day-to-day care of the Trail.

Community stewardship ensures:

  • families whose genealogies tie them to the trail are able to maintain and pass on those ties, and benefit directly from their stewardship
  • everyone has the opportunity to create new or enhance existing relationships to place
  • unique, place-based management plans are specific to local needs and responsive to local resources
  • trails will be opened one section at a time, as management plans are in place
  • management plans include ways to create local economy and livelihoods which support management activities

Check our website for more information on current community-based management efforts along the Trail as well as links to our partner sites.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Partnerships

DESCRIBING: A horizontal color photograph

DESCRIPTION: A group of 15 people consisting of men and women of various builds and heights stand on a gravelly surface facing into the sun and smiling. All except one person is wearing sunglassesTheir clothing is a mixture of different colors, short and long sleeves, pants and shorts and about half of them wear a hat. An outcrop of lava rises behind them with pieces of whitecoral visible, the sky is blue. A woman in a white tee shirt, light colored shorts and hiking boots is standing forward of the group. Her arm is slightly bent in a v shape and her thumb and pinkie are up while her 3 other fingers are folded down in a shaka sign.

CAPTION: Commitment to collaboration. Repair of the historic Kīholo-Puakō trail was rooted in a strong partnership between lineal descendants, community members, and many departments within County, State and Federal agencies.
CREDIT: [Credit goes here]


Caring for trails and trail communities is successful when government and community organizations partner together. The expertise and the regulation provided by different entities means that trail actions are informed, lawful, and appropriate.

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IMAGES and TEXT: Ala Kahakai Trail Association & E Mau Nā Ala Hele

IMAGE 1 of 3: Ala Kahakai Trail Association
DESCRIBING: A color logo

DESCRIPTION: A white rectangle is in the background of a logo for the Ala Kahakai Trail Association. The logo depicts a series of three identical triangles, pointed at the top., with a wavy white line horizontal across the middle. Each triangle is composed of two parts; the top half is brown, representing a mountain top, and the bottom half is light blue, representing the sea. The two parts are separated by a white wavy line.Between the three triangles, there are two identical triangles, inverted between the others, creating a continuous pattern. Below the logo are the words Ala Kahakai in capital letters in the same blue color. Below that are the words Trail Association.

related text: The Ala Kahakai Trail Association (ATA) is a Hawai'i Island based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with board members consisting of descendants hailing from each moku (districts) of the island. ATA works in close plartnership with the Ala Kahakai NHT to maintain the shared vision of cultureal preservation and community engagement. www.alakahakaitrail.orgCREDIT: Ala Kahakai Trail Association

IMAGE 2 of 3: E Mau Nā Ala Hele

DESCRIBING: A black and white logo

DESCRIPTION: The logo is composed of the black outline of Hawaiʻi Island. The left (leeward) side of the island shape consists of an outer line of black ovals.,Immediately paralleling it is an inner line of white ovals, creating a line of footsteps following the shape of the coast. In the center of the island is the black shape of an anthropomorphic (person-shaped) petroglyph, often interpreted as running or walking

Related text: E Mau Nā Ala Hele is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established in 1979, devoted to preserving and perpetuating the historic trails of Hawaiʻi. Between 1980-2000, the organization was instrumental in the creation of both the State’s Nā Ala Hele Trail and Access System, and the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

CREDIT: E Mau Nā Ala Hele

IMAGE 3 of 3: Background image
DESCRIBING: A faded brown watermark behind the text and other photos.
SYNOPSIS: A picture of anthropomorphic, or people-shaped, petroglyphs on a smooth stone surface, shot at an angle. There are at least 3 figures, each with triangular torsos and round heads. Their limbs are sticks, with three digits on each limb. Because the photo is a watermark, it is very faded and not much detail can be discerned.


The Ala Kahakai Trail Association (ATA) is a Hawai'i Island based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with board members consisting of descendants hailing from each moku (districts) of the island. ATA works in close plartnership with the Ala Kahakai NHT to maintain the shared vision of cultureal preservation and community engagement.

E Mau Nā Ala Hele is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established in 1979, devoted to preserving and prepetuating the historic trails of Hawai'i. Between 1980-2000, the organization was instrumental in the creating of both the State's Nā Ala Hele Trail and Access System, and the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

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IMAGES: Coastal Images

IMAGE 1 of 4: Flower

DESCRIBING: A square color photograph

DESCRIPTION: Two low lying flowers are surrounded by their large leaves. The flowers are trumpet-shaped with frilled edges and are pale pink with deep purplish pink, star-shaped centers. The light green leaves are tear-drop shaped, wider where they attach to the vine and tapering to a point.

CAPTION: Pōhuehue, the beach morning glory


IMAGE 2 of 4: Pair of fish

DESCRIBING: A square color photograph

DESCRIPTION: Two ‘omilu fish (also known as Bluefin Jack or Caranx melampygus) swim toward the right, with one fish partially in front of and higher in the water than the other. The exact size of the fish are not apparent from the photo, but in general ‘omilu are typically two-to-three feet long or 80-to-117 centimeters. These fish are silver with bright blue dorsal fins and tail; their eyes and pectoral fins are yellow. The water around the fish is pale blue. At the top of the photo, ripples from the ocean’s surface are visible.

CAPTION: A pair of ʻomilu

CREDIT: L. Kramer

IMAGE 3 of 4: Beach front

DESCRIBING: A horizontal color photograph

DESCRIPTION: The photo shows a trail running from left to right near the ocean’s edge, across a white coral and black lava rock beach. In the background, the ocean is deep blue. Shallow waves are breaking just in front of the beach, forming delicate white foam. On the right coast is a pair of scraggly, many-leaved heliotrope trees. Grey and white clouds are on the horizon. In the distance, the Kohala Mountains are visible on the far right. The pale blue sky is visible on the upper left.

CAPTION: Coastal trail in South Kohala


IMAGE 4 of 4: Small ground plant
DESCRIBING: A horizontal color photograph

DESCRIPTION: The ‘Ākulikuli (Sea purslane, Portulaca portulacastrum) fills the photo. The large leaves are roughly rectangular, and extend upward. They are light green, deepening through yellow into red on some of the edges. One flower blooms in the middle-left foreground of the photo. It is a five-pointed star, pale pink with a deeper pink center.
CAPTION: ‘Ākulikuli, an indigenous coastal ground cover.

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IMAGE and TEXT: National Trails System

DESCRIBING: A color logo 

DESCRIPTION: Two concentric triangles with bowed out sides, with the point at the top. The outer triangle is white and outlined in black, with a white “glow” around the outside.The inner triangle contains a drawing. In the drawing, a white trail winds up a dark green hill onto a larger light green hill to the horizon. A semicircle of blue, bordered in white, on the right of the hills indicates water. Above the horizon, a stylized white sun hangs in a royal blue sky. 


Ala Kahakai NHT is one of 19 National Historic Trails in the network of scenic, historic, and recreation trails created by the National Trails System Act of 1968. For more information, visit

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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail traverses various terrain along the coastal corridor on Hawai'i Island. Trails vary greatly within the 175 miles, passing through public and private land, from sandy beaches to inland lateral trails, and take a variety of forms from modern roads to lava foot paths.  Caution and agility is advised in order to avoid turning an ankle on uneven trail surfaces.

Brochures: The Ala Kahakai NHT brochure is available in braille format at all of the Kailua-Kona Ala Kahakai NHT office, and visitor centers at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, and Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site.the Ala Kahakai NHT office. Please call (808) 854-5646 if you would like to arrange pickup/checkout of the braille brochure. 

The National Park Service is committed to making all practicable efforts to make facilities, programs, services, employment, and meaningful work opportunities accessible and usable by all individuals. To help you plan your visit please find accessibility information here:

Park rangers with training in audio description are on staff at Ala Kahakai NHT and other NPS sites on Hawaiʻi island.

Additional information on the Trail is available on the NPS App, available on the App Store or Google Play.

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OVERVIEW: More Information

Sections of the trail can be accessed through the four National Parks on the Island of Hawai'i including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park and Pu'ukohola National Historic Site. Otherwise, the section of the Ala Kahakai Trail under Hawaii State Na Ala Hele jurisdiction is open for public use.

Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail is one of over 424 units in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks and programs in America’s communities, please visit 

For more information about the trail contact: 

Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail
73-4786 Kanalani Street, #14
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

808-326-6012 x101

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