Nestled at the base of a sheer cliff just north of Kilauea, Secret Beach is well off the beaten track for good reason. You must hike down (and back up!) a rocky trail which zigzags through trees, gullies, and brush. You can drive only to the trail’s beginning at the top of the cliff. From here, you can
hear the waves crashing below – apparently not very far away – as you look down on a trail which seems to disappear into a tangle of jungle. The path is steep in places – sneakers are a good idea – but branches, roots, and vines offer plenty of handholds, and in a pinch, you can always resort to the seat of your pants!
The walk down will take about seven minutes, and as the path makes
the last sharp plunge before leveling off to the sand, you can see, at last,
through a screen of trees and hanging vines, a magnificent stretch of golden
sand and a shining aqua-colored ocean. In rainy times, this enormous triangle of
sand may be partly covered by a lagoon fed in part by a stream winding
down behind the beach. Towards the left, you can climb a rocky outcropping
and find a small beach ending in a steep cliff.
Towards the right, you can see the Kilauea lighthouse and walk a long way across the sand.
Secret Beach is not a place to come alone, for the obvious reason of its isolation. Swimming is not safe. The surf is rough, and the currents strong and unpredictable; you’d never find a lifeguard if you had trouble. During the winter, this beach, enormous as it is, can disappear almost entirely under huge, crashing waves. Instead of swimming, walk along the water, hunt for shells, and forget everything but the feel of wet sand between your toes.
The walk back up the cliff will give you time to adjust to the world you
left behind – just about 10 minutes of mild exertion, with the air cool under
the trees and the leaves speckled with sunlight. This would not be pleasant in the mud, though, so don’t go after a soaking rain. By the time you reach your car and remember that you have to stop at the store for milk, the
peaceful solitude you left behind will be as hard to recapture as a wave rippling on the sand. But for a few moments, you were lost to your ‘working-day’ world. This may be the secret of Secret Beach, a secret worth keeping!
Note: One reader discovered another secret about this beach, when she and her family reached the bottom of the trail and ran into “a long-haired young man wearing nothing but a guitar!” So be prepared for strange music!
Do take a moment to explore some of our amazing vacation rentals in the Kilauea area. Many luxury homes are sprinkled about the bluff. A few of my favorites, The Hale Lani and The Villa, both exquisite in every way!
Directions: Approach Secret Beach and Kalihiwai Bay from Kalihiwai Rd,
about a half mile north of Kilauea on Rt 56. Turn towards the ocean onto
Kalihiwai Rd. Bear left, then turn right onto a dirt road that looks like abroad red gash in the landscape. Follow towards the water till it ends. Park,
lock up, and walk down the trail.