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!"