Pools of Mokolea

Experience The Natural Wonder of the Pools of Mokolea
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Visiting Hawaii for vacation means you are ready to find a little slice of heaven on earth. While there are countless ways to enjoy the beauty of the islands, visiting the Pools of Mokolea and Rock Quarry Beach is one that you won’t soon forget. You can spend as little or as long as you like exploring the area. Don’t be surprised if you only see many one or two other groups as this area is isolated and not the easiest in the world to get to, making it a peaceful, ideal setting if you would like to get on your own and enjoy spending some time reflecting or enjoying the company of someone you love. 

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Situated just south of Kilauea on the island of Kauai, is Kahili Beach also called Rock Quarry Beach. This public beach is accessible via a short trek down to the northwest corner of the island. From the beach, you can wade across the Kilauea stream to access the trail to the Pools of Mokolea, a somewhat isolated natural attraction that is most accessible during low tide. 

The Pools of Mokolea are lava tubes that fill with water, surge, and then drain.  It’s worth noting that although gaining access to these lava pools, the Pools of Mokolea, isn’t a lengthy hike, it is a bit challenging. It can be slippery, treacherous, and rocky along the three-mile span. Seeing these geological wonders that formed from ancient lava flows is worth it though if you can safely navigate the trail to gain access. 

It’s also important before visiting any lava pools, or seaside tidal pools of any kind, such as the Pools of Mokolea, that you check the ocean conditions. When the ocean is rough and the surf is heavy, these tubes will act more like a spout or a blow-hole. During lower tide or when the ocean is less intense and calmer, these lava pools will act much like a giant breathing mow, not sending water upwards as much. 

Visitors to the site claim that it is well worth the effort to reach the locale and state that although it is a bit challenging to access, meaning it can get wet and the rocks are sharp, it is worth seeing the majesty and beauty of these amazing natural wonders. Although you can take your time obviously and spend as long as you desire there, many visitors state that they made the trek and took in all the sites in less than two hours. Others spent longer enjoying the beauty. 

Once you go as far as you can down the trail, you will be able to see the Kilauea Lighthouse when looking towards the North. This beautiful picturesque lighthouse is located on Kilauea Point and is situated within the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. 

In addition to the Pools of Mokolea, there are also crystal clear tidal pools in the area which present an ideal location to see all sorts of marine life or even get into the water and enjoy a relaxing moment while in paradise. There is also a freshwater river that flows into the sea in this area you can enjoy. Guests testify to seeing all sorts of marine life in the tide pools like urchins, fish, crabs, anemones, and more. Some even say they saw sea turtles enjoying the pools.

How to Get There:
Once in Kilauea, head north along Kilauea Rd past the Lighthouse Bistro. After you pass Titcomb St. on your left, take the 3rd right onto an unmarked diagonal road and follow it as far as your car can handle (approximately 1.5 miles). Park at the plateau overlooking Rock Quarry Beach (if you can make it that far) and take the rest of the way by foot.

Insider Tips:
-Guests state that the roadway down to the beach can get a bit muddy and full of potholes. This means it’s best to find out the conditions of the road and then the trail as well before you plan your trip. You might need to rent something with a bit of power to it to get through, though many guests claim even a sedan can make it, it’s bumpy at times. 
-Guests recommend wearing water shoes with support for the trail down to the pools. They also state that having walking poles to keep your balance isn’t a bad idea. Also, know you will likely get wet or sprayed on in this area, so be prepared for this. 
-Be aware of all ocean conditions when visiting this area. You do not want to visit during high tide or when the sea is too rough, or it is too windy as this area can be a bit dangerous during those times or the trail can be cut off.