Hawaii has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, many of which are secluded gems that require hiking and care to visit. But many adventurous visitors may wonder if they can go to Kaihalulu Beach, also called Red Sand Beach, in Maui.
We think the correct question to ask is: should you go to Red Sand Beach? And the answer is no. We never want to be fun-suckers, but it just isn’t safe or advisable. After all, there are so many great places to see in Maui that it isn’t worth risking your life to get to a dangerous space.
But still, we can talk about how beautiful Kaihalulu Beach is, the charming town nearby, and what you can do instead of this hike.
Where is Kaihalulu Beach
Kaihalulu Beach is on the island of Maui, in the town of Hana. You’ll find it past Hana Bay, mauka (toward the mountain) of Hana-Maui Resort.
You get to Hana by driving on Hana Highway to east Maui. It’s a winding, narrow road that extends about 50 miles from the Kahului airport.
Though we are against going to Kaihalulu Beach, we encourage you to drive the Road to Hana. This adventure is one of the best things to do on Maui and gives you the chance to visit beautiful beaches that are easy to access.
To ensure the best experience driving to Hana, leave early. The round-trip trek will take several hours. We typically grab breakfast in Kahului and then return to our hotel in time for dinner.
Also, be sure not to park or block the road in any way and respect all kapu (Hawaiian for keep out) signs – they are there to keep you from trespassing, getting hurt, or from impeding into local neighborhoods that would like to remain tourist-free.
Along the way, stop at the many farm stands, overlooks, and posted trails. Once you’re in Hana, you can see even more coastal beauty, shop in the local stores, and take in the unique vibe of this small Hawaii town.
Why Kaihalulu Beach is Dangerous to Visit
The trail to Kaihalulu Beach is not very long, but it has a steep descent that is slippery and narrow. One wrong step and you could plunge into the cliffs below. Erosion has made this even more severe in recent years.
Rescues happen here often, both from falls along the trail and from the unpredictable waters below.
I’m not going to deny that Maui’s Red Sand beach is a marvel, but with so much to do on the island, we say heed the warnings and enjoy safer activities that still hold incredible beauty.
What to Do Instead of Hiking to Red Sand Beach in Maui
Luckily, there is a lot to do in and around Hana, so you can still have an incredible adventure without risking your life at Kaihalulu Beach.
Waianapanapa State Park
While you may not get to see Red Sand Beach while in Maui, you can still see the equally beautiful Black Sand Beach.
Located in Waianapanapa State Park, Pa‘iloa Beach (AKA Black Sand Beach) is easy and fun to visit. Just make sure you make a reservation in advance – they’re required to help manage the crowds.
While here, you can see a blowhole, lava tubes, and great coastline views.
Hamoa Beach is about 3 miles past Kaihalulu Beach, and it’s a great place to enjoy Hana’s magnificent scenery. It likely won’t be secluded, but swimming conditions are often good, it’s very spacious, and the sand is super soft.
Pipiwai Trail & Waimoku Falls
This hiking trail is managed by the National Park Service and is full of spectacular forest scenery. Though you can’t swim in any of the falls along Pipiwai Trail, you will likely enjoy some seclusion. After all, this area of Waimoku Falls, ‘Ohe’o Gulch, and Seven Sacred Pools is so far past Hana that many visitors turn around before reaching it.
Beauty and Danger at Kaihalulu Beach
Kaihalulu holds an otherworldly beauty thanks to its bright red sand and quiet seclusion. But there is lots to see and do in Maui, so you’ll want to skip this “hidden gem.” After all, getting injured (or worse!) is a great way to ruin a vacation, and it unfortunately happens a lot in Maui when visitors access dangerous areas.
Want to plan a Maui vacation with all the best spots (including some secluded beaches)? Access our Hawaii Trip Planner here.