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Captain Cook Monument Trail - Hawaii, United States

by Vaudesir  
with a Garmin Colorado 400t
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A short hike down (and back up) to Captain Cook Monument, in beautiful Kealakekua Bay.

At the north end of Kealakekua Bay, British explorer Captain Cook was killed in 1779. A monument commemorating the event was erected in 1874 close to the spot Cook is believed to have fallen. Accessing this monument is not very easy. You either have to take a boat, a kayak, or hike to it. We chose to hike down (and back up). It's a short distance (about 1.8 miles one way), but the 1300 feet of elevation loss on the way in makes it a healthy climb on the way out.
Another incentive is the snorkeling. Guides seem to agree that the water near the monument is one of the best snorkeling spot on the island. Enough of an incentive for Vero to join my dad and me for this hike.

The hike down was easy enough. The slope is not too steep but we constantly had to watch our steps because of roots and big rocks at first, and then smaller rolling rocks. It didn't prevent us from enjoying the beautiful views of the ocean and of the south end of the Bay (where the Place of Refuge - Pu'uhonua o Honaunau is located).
The trail is partly shaded, which is a big relief on a hot sunny day. The portion near the bend doesn't have many trees though.

After reaching the water, we went to check out the monument, which I understand is on British territory (the land around the monument was given to the Crown). 
We were surprised to see so many snorkelers in the water. Snorkeling "cruises" take people straight to the monument. The water was so clear that we could clearly see and admire many sorts of fish from the shore. Few minutes later, we were in the water, and indeed, this was a great experience. The water was crystal clear, the coral was beautiful, the fish was abundant and colorful. Awesome snorkeling.

All refreshed, we were ready to hike back up. We knew it would be a bit challenging, especially in the sun, but it was really not that bad. The trail was not too steep and the grade was relatively constant. All those hikes in Henry W. Coe State Park paid off I guess ;-) We stopped only a few times. Most of the time, we just focused on our footing. We quickly gained elevation and before we knew it, we were back at the trailhead.

  • water, sunscreen
  • bring your snorkeling gear
  • Remove your camera from your pocket before going into the water. Both my camera and Captain Cook died there...
Captain Cook, Kealakekua
Photos: See all pictures and videos from Captain Cook Monument Trail
Comments (5)
This description is very realistic.I did it for my sixtieth birthday. This is unforgettably good memory
by marju44 on Aug 05, 2013
Fantastic place. Fun place to snorkle. We saw dolphins in the bay. Some folks did swim out to them, although we did not. A bit steep(and probably sunny for most) on the way out, but our 5 year old did it by herself, with some encouraging.
by DavidRicke on Jan 06, 2013
Love it

by sfrandiver on Sep 04, 2012
Well, now you can buy a Nikon... don't listen to that croyle guy's advice ;-)
by antonyw on Feb 27, 2010
Nice hike, too bad about your camera.
by Brighto on Feb 23, 2010
Trip Info
February 19, 2010
Trip Location: Captain Cook, Hawaii, United States
Length: 4.1 miles
Duration: 4 hours
Activity: Hiking
Trip viewed 34,815 times
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