Kaihalulu Beach, commonly known as Red Sand Beach, is a beautiful secluded cove on the eastern coast of Maui, just south of Hana Bay. Getting to this beach is a small adventure by itself but the reward waiting in the end is jaw-dropping. This isolated beach, yet so close to Hana town, is well worth a visit on a "road to Hana" drive.
It was a little tricky finding the trailhead as there were no signs pointing towards the direction of the beach. The trail starts from Hana community center to the right of the building. There were warning signs about the dangers of the trail and to proceed at our own risk. It is no joke. The trail is short but very narrow and slippery from the loose cinder and pine needles. It goes up and down and has a steep drop into the ocean on one side should you slip.
Like geniuses, despite being aware of the dangerous conditions of the trail, we started the hike in our flip flops. Soon we realized our mistake but did not turn around. Instead, we decided to tread the slippery parts barefoot, which helped get a better grip, but wasn't pleasant.
We made it to the beach somehow. Pain from pricking cinder in our soles was nothing compared to the raw impressive beauty in front of our eyes. Water was clean and clear. The beach is protected from large waves by a natural wall of black lava rock. There were no nude bathers at the time and very few people overall.
Red sand is a result of continuous erosion of red cinder cone behind the beach. A closer look at the sand shows that it is a mixture of red cinder and black lava rock which gives it the deep red color.
It is one of the few red beaches around the world and probably the only one in Hawaii, not sure though. If you are a decent hiker, and debating whether to make a stop here or not, you definitely should.
We used Fuji X-T1 camera with 18-55mm lens. As a secondary camera Fuji X-70.
Read Next: Green Sand Beach, Big Island
Where to Stay: We stayed in Ashton Mahana at Kanapali. Check out other options. For accommodations closer check here.
Getting there: Follow Hana highway 360 and exit off Uakea Rd. Look for Hana ball park or Hana community center at the end of the road.
Hours and Cost: Open 24/7, but you may need to ask permission from the community center to enter the gate and access the trail.
Parking is by the road, may be difficult to find a spot on a busy day.
Trail: It is unprotected, slippery and steep in some places. Definitely wear SHOES.
What to Bring: Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, bathing suit, water, snacks or food, wear sturdy shoes, and bring a camera.
Things to do in the area: Do the full "Road to Hana" trip, Waianapanapa State Park, Sacred pools, Garden of Eden.