This pleasant hike spans the short distance between the Kīpahulu Campground and Kuloa Point, meandering along rugged shoreline and in the proverbial shadow of the towering, 10,023-foot Haleakala Peak. While many come to the area to poke around in the Ohe’o Gulch and the Seven Sacred Pools, at the time of publication, the park service has closed the gulch indefinitely, thanks to a series of landslides that have plagued the area after extremely heavy rains in the winter of 2017. For more up to date information, see the National Park Service website.
The trek out to Kuloa Point is quick and worth a stop, even if you find yourself on a time crunch. It's ideal for young children and those hoping to quickly stretch their legs. The trail is quite flat and meanders through a lovely grove of hala trees — you’ll recognize them by their fruit that resembles pineapple, though the two are not directly related. It’s a tree that’s historically extremely useful; from the fruit, to the poles and branches, the leaves that are woven for baskets and garlands and more, the native Hawaiians made use of every part of them.
After wandering through fields, underneath tiered, cascading pools and alongside the crashing ocean, you’ll quickly find yourself at Kuloa Point. Don’t forget your camera — on a clear day, you can see the Big Island, a whole 30 miles away across the ʻAlenuihaha Channel.
Be advised that there’s no great place for swimming here. While the calm-looking pools may look inviting, they’re known for their flash floods that can take visitors by surprise in a nasty way. Always check with the park service before you swim.