The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail stretches for 175 miles along the western edge of Hawai'i and leads through countless cultural and historical sites, varied geography, and diverse natural areas. The Na Ala Hele state trail access program ensures public access along this trail, which has numerous points of entry and exit.
One such segment leaves from the southern end of Spencer Beach Park near the camping area and proceeds for a pleasant half mile to Mau'umae Beach, a small and protected beach that sits north of Mauna Kea Beach. The walk is a pleasant alternative to the parking situation that is closer to Mau'umae but requires entry through the Mauna Kea Resort gate, which can turn cars away if visitor numbers to the public beach areas are at capacity. Instead, you can simply park at Spencer Beach Park and take the half-mile walk to find your way to Mau'umae.
Throughout the walk the trail is easy to follow and remains mostly level. Shoes will undoubtedly make the walk more comfortable, but good sandals should suffice given the quality of the footpath. The path begins in the welcome shade of a dense canopy of trees, and while camping and overnight stays are not allowed here, several makeshift shelters look like they have been constructed among the roots and branches. After a quarter mile or so the trail exits the trees and spends the rest of the distance tracing the open shoreline, where open views of the coast are excellent. A little more than halfway through the walk you'll cross a drainage that evidently floods during high runoff events, but otherwise it leaves a picturesque little beach. Follow the trail as it turns slightly around this point and continue to Mau'umae Beach.