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Kaimu Black Sand Beach

big island/puna

Pāhoa, 96778

Black Sand, Hiking

Hours of Operation:

Black Sand, Hiking

Kaimu Black Sand Beach

The Big Island's Newest Beach

Visiting the Big Island offers an awe-inspiring opportunity to witness the dynamic forces of nature in action, as Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes on the island, continuously reshapes the landscape. Nowhere is this transformation more striking than at New Kaimu Beach in Kalapana.

In 1990, a relentless river of lava flowed from Kilauea, engulfing the shoreline and burying the original Kaimu Beach under 50-70 feet of molten rock. The fiery onslaught devastated the entire community of Kalapana and nearby subdivisions in its path. For several months, a torrent of lava cascaded into the ocean, heralding the emergence of new land as it filled the bay near the shore. Over 20 years later, a new stretch of beach is finally taking shape, rekindling the hope that this once-beloved playground may be resurrected.

The original Kaimu Beach was renowned for its pristine jet-black sand and the stately coconut trees that lined its shores, attracting both locals and visitors. In a remarkable effort to revive the former glory of Kaimu Beach, dedicated locals have planted hundreds of coconut trees, symbolizing nature's resilience and the community's unwavering spirit even in the face of loss.

New Kaimu Beach presents a surreal, almost eerie landscape, particularly during the late afternoon and sunset. As the sun's smoky rays filter through the clouds, vibrant green ferns and the fresh fronds of coconut palms contrast strikingly with the rugged, black lava rock.

The path to the beach is a short 10-minute walk from 'Uncle Roberts,' a gathering of roadside stands, tour desks, and a parking area at the southern terminus of Highway 137 (Kapoho-Kalapana Road). Along the path, local jewelry vendors often display their wares, and atop a small hill, an 'information station' offers brochures for a small donation to support area maintenance. You can also explore a captivating historical photographic display of the 1990 lava engulfing the town.

The trail meanders through undulating fields of solidified lava. As you stroll amidst the young coconut palm forest, you'll witness the formation of black sand – a result of the constant pulverization of lava rocks by the relentless ocean waves over the years. In the distance, you'll see steam plumes marking Kilauea's active vent. As you approach the windy shoreline, the edge of a small 6-foot cliff reveals the swirling, sandy transformation beneath, sculpted by the relentless ocean waves depositing black sand to form the new beach.

New Kaimu Beach is still relatively narrow and not suitable for swimming due to its strong currents and hazardous surf. The beach lacks facilities, and it may take many more years for it to regain its former size. Nevertheless, it stands as a living testament to the fascinating geological processes at play and the unyielding forces of nature. The dedication and care invested by the local community reflect their longing for the day when they can once again enjoy their beloved beach, symbolizing the revival of the life they cherished.

Kaimu Black Sand BeachThe Big Island's Newest BeachVisiting the Big Island offers an awe-inspiring o ....

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