Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
180.00 ft (54.86 m)
Trail type
6.00 mi (9.66 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The trail to Mahana Green Sand Beach, also called Papakolea Beach, follows a series of rough dusty double track roads along the clifftops of the southernmost part of the United States.

Hiking into the beach is the only legal way to access the beach. At 3 miles each way, the shadeless path is less than scenic for the most part, but the payoff comes when you hit your destination, one of the few green sand beaches in the world. The sand at Mahana Beach is colored by olivine contained in the surrounding landscape, which is broken down and deposited onshore by the waves. 

From the parking area, the dirt roads branch off and weave alongside each other, however as long as you head in the correct direction, they all end up at the dirt area overlooking Mahana Beach.

Alternatively, while not legal, locals with lifted tracks offer rides to and from the beach for a cash fee. If you hike to the beach and decide you'd prefer a lift back, it's usually also possible to ask drivers if they'll take cash for a return ride. (Note that these rides are very bumpy and physically demanding as you'll be standing in the back of truck hanging on while it swerves and bounces across the rough terrain.)

While no permits are required and there is no fee necessary to embark on the hike, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) asks that hikers inform them ahead of time of their plans to hike across the land. They can be reached by phone at 808-974-4250.

An alternative parking area is located at South Point, however parking here will add an additional .3 miles to each direction of your hike.

Overall the hike is less than spectacular, and can get hot and dusty. However the Green Sand Beach is absolutely worth visiting.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Unique destination. Can catch a ride one-way which is its own experience!


Dusty & exposed. No amenities.

Trailhead Elevation

65.00 ft (19.81 m)

Highest point

95.00 ft (28.96 m)


Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Suitable for

Motorized vehicles

Permit required




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