Weliweli via King’s Highway Foot Trail

Enjoy Stellar Views on the Weliweli via King's Highway Foot Trail
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

The Weliweli via King’s Highway Foot Trail takes you on a 4.8-mile, or two-hour, trek along the northwestern shores of the Big Island. Want to make a full day of your oceanside hiking adventures? Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the beach, so you can kick back and enjoy all the scenic views to the fullest before heading back.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

A day hike to remember, the Weliweli via King’s Highway Foot Trail promises to treat you to beautiful views step after step. The out-and-back again trail takes you along the ancient King’s Highway, starting near the Waikoloa Beach Resort. Following the trail south along the coastline takes you near Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway right before you turn northwest to reach the beach at Weliweli Point.

Although it’s just 4.8-miles roundtrip, expect to spend about two hours trekking down to the beach and back again. Most of the trail consists of rough lava rocks and sand that reflect the heat from the sun. Beyond that, the lava rocks create varied terrain that you cannot just tromp over and hope for the best. Even if you wear grippy shoes, you have to carefully pick your footing to avoid taking a fall. The flat terrain is relatively easy to traverse otherwise.

Since you’re basically cutting through the heart of the oceanside lava fields, there’s little to no vegetation to speak of along the trail. Instead, you have a clear view of the wide open skies along with glimpses of the ocean beyond the shoreline. Only shorebirds make an appearance from time to time. All other wildlife stick to friendlier habitats, making it a rather quiet, uneventful hike all throughout the year.

In fact, you’re unlikely to encounter many other hikers in your midst despite the trail starting at the resort. So, it’s a great hike for when you want to simply enjoy being out in nature and have plenty of time for self-reflection. As you get closer to the water, there are ample opportunities for amazing photos, too. Be sure to bring your camera and tripod, especially if you want to get long-exposure shots of the sunrise or sunset.  

Although the photo opportunities are best early or late in the day, walking along the trail in dim conditions can prove treacherous. The lava rocks are not at all predictable, after all, so you’ll want to bring a flashlight to see the path ahead if you won’t have the sun lighting the way. No matter when you come down the trail, bring plenty of water and a few protein-rich snacks. As the hot sun beats against the lava rocks, the heat can quickly sap your energy and leave you feeling parched.

Once you reach the beach, plan to enjoy the water from the shoreline. There are no lifeguards on duty to provide assistance if you get in trouble in the water, after all. Plus, there aren’t likely to be any people around to call for help. Instead, it’s best to bring a picnic lunch and simply sit on the beach to enjoy the views while you chow down. After that, go beachcombing, jump the waves, or simply sunbathe for a while before heading back the way you came.

Insider Tips:
-The winds can pick up rather quickly, especially as you get closer to the water’s edge. In fact, it’s not uncommon for 40 MPH guests to sweep across the shoreline.
-Erosion from hikers, the wind, and other disruptions can change the trail surface from day to day.
-If you encounter sea turtles, monk seals, and other protected species, stay far back to avoid disrupting their natural activities.