Monday, March 25, 2013

Red Sands Beach

trail view of Red Sands Beach
It's true, Red Sands Beach in Hana, Hawai'i is right in town, near the Hana Beach Park, but it's a hidden gem and a little difficult to access. Located on the ocean side of an ancient volcanic cinder cone, it is completely invisible. 

Though the hike is short, it is challenging in places and not for anyone with an aversion to heights. Wear shoes, not flip-flops or slippahs (unless you are a local), and travel light - no bags or heavy backpacks that could cause imbalance. No signs will point the way, but you know you are on the right path when you see the hand-made warning sign tacked to a tree in the center of the trail. 

The following directions provide the easiest walking route to this beautiful beach and isolated cove, created by a millennium of weather and relentless sea erosion. 
  • If you can find a spot, park at the end of Uakea Road on the grassy, uphill side and just below the green school buildings. (If not, try parking around the corner across from the ball field.) Obey the 'No Parking' signs or you will be ticketed.
  • Standing on the grassy hillside with your back to the school buildings, look toward the surf and you will see a well worn trail at the edge of the grass heading downhill to the beach. Take this trail down to the beach - do not veer left through the cliff-side cemetery or the upper cliff trail as the terrain is unstable, dangerous and prone to slides. 
  • Once on the pebble beach, follow the shoreline to the left for about 40 yards where you can, again, pick up the trail to the left. 
  • From here the trail is a clearly visible narrow path over coarse, loose lava pebbles so care is recommended. When you reach the top you'll have the first view of this beautiful cove and beach. 
  • The trail down to the beach is barely a foot wide in places with a sheer drop to the ocean below -- be VERY careful. 

Directions to Red Sands Beach: 
Though the red sand isn't truly red, nor is it really sand - it is a mixture of tiny red and black pebbles - I know of no other reddish-colored beach as picturesque as this in all of Hawai'i. Try visiting late in the afternoon and you may have the place to yourself!

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