Papakolea Beach (Mahana Beach)
Only at Papakolea Beach, also known as the Green Sand Beach, is the only beach that has dark colored green sand. The sand is a mixture of a mineral called olivine that is found very close to a collapsed crater at the shore, along with black sand that has eroded from the dried lava rocks. Adults and kids alike are fascinated with this green sand, and plays a big part in what makes Papakolea Beach a unique place to visit.
Getting to Papakolea Beach is a long journey and can be quite challenging. Located in a small cove that is carved out of a rough shoreline that is dominated by tall cliffs, you will definitely need a strong four-wheel drive vehicle to get here, or if that isn’t an option, you can hike to it. The trail itself is about 2 ½ miles each way, making it a 5 mile long journey round trip. You will need to take the paved South Point road from the highway, which will be approximately 12 miles to where the pavement will end and the rough 4X4 trail will begin. This is the point where you will need either a four-wheel drive vehicle or hike the trail down to the beach.
At the end of the trail, you will have to hike down the side of the cliffs in order to get to the beach below. The beach is surrounded by tall lava rock cliffs and you will be able see an opening where the water runs out into the Pacific Ocean. You will see that the water is deep dark blue in color. The waves are usually pretty rough as they make their way towards the shoreline. Usually people will wade in the surf or do a little swimming and bobbing around, but it is recommended that you do not venture out into the deeper waters where there are strong and unforgiving currents.
We ask that you do not disturb any of the beauty at Papakolea Beach. Please take any trash that you may have. The green sands here are rare and very much protected and we ask that you leave it there at Papakolea Beach. Leave everything how you found it so that others in the future may enjoy the same beauty that you have enjoyed. Be sure to bring plenty of water to drink, sunscreen, and a hat to protect you from the Hawaiian sun. Papakolea Beach, or the Green Sand Beach is a unique and beautiful experience. You wont be disappointed.