Crusin’ Pololu Valley With Tita Nui

September 2, 2016, 2:13 PM HST
* Updated November 15, 3:11 PM
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Pololu photo: Darde Gamayo

Pololu photo: Darde Gamayo

Pololu means “long spear” in the Hawaiian language. Pololu Valley is the northernmost valley along the east coast of the Kohala Mountains on the Island of Hawai‘i.

The valley is not as well known as Waipi‘o Valley, which is located about 12 miles southeast of Pololu.

From the scenic overlook, you’ll be able to see little portions of the black sand beach about 1,000 feet below. Hiking is allowed along the rocky and sometimes very slippery path that leads down. The trail consists of several switchbacks, which upon descent, offer you a better view of the beautiful coastline.

The trail can be difficult at times due to the loose rocks and areas that may become slick when wet.

You should allow yourself at least two to three hours for the roundtrip hike.


The area was once renowned for its kalo farming, especially a variety called “Kalo Pololu” that was grown there.


Kalo Pololu, noted for its red stems, is preferred by many kūpuna as the best leaves from which to make laulau—a local dish consisting of pork and/or beef wrapped in the kalo leaves then steamed for several hours.

There were also a few rice fields in the valley in the mid to late 1800’s.

In the 20th century, Pololu fell into disuse as the sugar industry boomed in the Kohala region, drawing those last few residents out of the valley.


Today, you can still see parts of the Kohala ditch that runs along the sides of the valley. It was used to divert water from the nearby Honokane Valley to what was once the sugarcane fields of the North Kohala District.

Pololu holds a beauty all its own, allowing one to step back into time and be encompassed in the wilderness of old Hawai‘i.

If you take the time to explore all it has to offer, it surely will leave you with an undeniable urge to come back again and again.

Pololu photo: Darde Gamayo

Pololu photo: Darde Gamayo

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