Manuka Nature Trail

Hilo, Hawaii 96721

Manuka Nature Trail

Manuka Nature Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"If you have other reasons for visiting the south end of the Big Island, complement your trip there with a visit to Manuka State Wayside and its pretty, pleasant nature trail. Before you begin your walk, look inland from the visitor center. If the day is clear (as it usually is early in the morning), there is a spectacular view of four of the Big Island’s volcanoes: Kohala, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Hualalai. The central attraction of the park is the massive remains of Puukohola Heiau, which you can see by following the path that leads seaward past milo, kiawe, ilima, and gourd vines. As you descend this paved trail and curve gently to the right, the ruins of Puukohola rise above you. Its precincts are kapu, and you are not permitted to enter them.

There’s another reason you’re not permitted to enter the heiau: its outer walls are beginning to collapse after having stood for over 200 years. Frankly, I cannot imagine that Puukohola could be any more impressive from the inside than it is from the many vantage points along this trail. It is immense and aweinspiring. What months of wearisome toil were required of thousands of workers to carry, lift, and place these huge reddish stones on these fiery hot, bone-dry slopes!"

More Manuka Nature Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking the Hawaiian Islands (Falcon Guides)
Suzanne Swedo
View more trails from this guide book
"The Manuka Natural Area Reserve, on the southern slope of Mauna Loa, protects one of the least disturbed sections of original native forests on the island. It was last buried by lava more than 2,300 years ago, and has miraculously escaped development, so it has some very old trees by Hawaiian standards, many of which exist nowhere else on earth. While the nature trail itself starts at about 1,800 feet in elevation, the reserve as a whole extends all the way from sea level to 5,000 feet, so every habitat from lowland dry forest to wet rainforest is represented. It is also home to the ’elepaio, a tiny native bird with a cocked tail, and Hawaii’s only native mammal, the hoary bat." Read more
Best Easy Day Hikes: Hawaii: The Big Island (Falcon Guides)
Suzanne Swedo
View more trails from this guide book
"The Manuka Natural Area Reserve, on the southern slope of Mauna Loa, protects one of the least disturbed sections of original native forests on the island. The site was last buried by lava more than 2,300 years ago, and has miraculously escaped development, so it has some very old trees by Hawaiian standards, many of which exist nowhere else on earth. While the nature trail itself starts at about 1,800 feet in elevation, the reserve as a whole extends all the way from sea level to 5,000 feet, so every habitat from lowland dry forest to wet rainforest is represented. It is also home to the ’elepaio, a tiny native bird with a cocked tail, and Hawaii’s only native mammal, the hoary bat." Read more

Manuka Nature Trail Reviews

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1/25/2008
Good news and bad news. The trail is in great shape - well marked - and small nature guides at the front. It's a bear to hike, however, because the surface is small (fist sized) pieces of lava that tend to roll when you step on them and the nature guide only gives the Hawaiian and Latin names for the plants (so, literally, if you don't already know those names for a guava plant you can't identify it unless you see the fruit). Still, if you're a nature lover and willing to put up with the surface, it has a great variety of endemic, indigenous, and Polynesian-introduced plants.
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10/29/2003
The Manuka Nature Trail is a great leisure hike through forested land. The trail is well marked and along the way you can view various native tress, plants and flowers, all of which are marked. Halfway through the trail leads to a pit crater which can be carefully explored by climbing down the side wall, once at the bottom there is a fallen tree which will take you to the other side to view what looks to be large openings of shallow lava caves. The hike was easy, the climb down into the pit crater and out was easy, but not recommended for everyone. One of my dogs made it down accross the tree trunk and out with no problem...the other one never even tried. Light hiking boots or trail runners are recommended for the trail which is at times muddy. The trail is also blocked in a few areas where you have to step over large fallen tree branches. Rocks can be slippery.
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Manuka Nature Trail Photos

Trail Information

Hilo
Nearby City
2.33
Distance
340 feet
Elevation Gain
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Easy
Skill Level
1 hour
Duration
USGS Pohue Bay
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018