Pu'u Ola'i, also known as Earthquake Hill or Red Hill, is an easily recognizable landmark on the South Maui Coast. It formed in the late 18th century when a dramatic volcanic eruption spewed lava into the sky. As the lava cooled and fell to the earth, it created the cinder cone we know as Pu'u Ola'i.
Today the hill stands as a reminder of Hawaii's volcanic origins. Many shrubs, trees and flowering plants have since colonized the rich lava soil.
The hike begins on Big Beach, also known as Mākena Beach, then continues up to a rocky outcrop. Head straight across the outcrop to Little Beach, an unofficial nude beach. Turn right to climb Pu'u Olai and turn left to wander down to the tide pools. While there are no official trails to any of these locations, there are plenty of use trails that will guide your journey. Be mindful of the warning signs near the recent slide area on the south side of the hill, where the cliff edges are steep and the land is a bit unstable.
Once you're near the top of the hill, you'll see a well-defined pathway. This leads up to and around the summit crater. Walk around the crater loop to find your favorite view of the uplands of Maui, the sandy beaches, neighboring islands, and sparkling blue ocean. Start your hike early for lovely sunrise views, quiet beaches and cooler temperatures.