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Planning a visit to Kauai? We regularly add news and information about events, activities, and places to see on The Garden Isle.

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Sheila Heathcote has lived in Hawaii since 1986. She's a published author on the topic of Kauai and the owner of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast.

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Sunday
Aug142011

Hiking the South Coast beyond Shipwreck's Beach

Stepping off the manicured sidewalks of the lush, tropically landscaped Grand Hyatt grounds, and onto the sands of Shipwreck's Beach on Keoneloa Bay is one of the easiest ways to ride a time machine into the ancient past.

Unmarked fishermen’s paths and footprints in the sand along this breath-taking coastline lead to the remote and stunning Mahaulepu Beach near Kawailoa Bay.


Rated ‘easy” and with an elevation gain of only 100 feet, this 4 mile (round trip) trail takes approximately 3 hours to traverse, but allow extra time to swim, sun bathe and enjoy the area’s seclusion.

Keep the camera handy as rugged sea cliffs, secluded coves, dunes, tide pools, sculpted lava formations and native plants embellish the landscape.


Here, Kauai’s natural history is etched in spectacular limestone and lava rock formations, and fossilized treasures can be seen eroding out of ancient lithified sand dunes and ledges.


Green sea turtles, spinner dolphins, monk seals can be viewed along the coast most of the year and humpback whales are visible during winter months.


Evidence of the stages of the island’s volcanic growth over the past 5 million years and several major sea level changes over the past 500,000 years are visible.

 In many places ancient soil horizons associated with the sand dunes contain abundant fossil land snails and the bones of extinct flightless birds and large land crabs.

The shoreline also abundantly sprouts lush native coastal vegetation well adapted to the harsh environment.

 

 

 

From Lihue take Hwy. 50 to Maluhia Rd. (Tree Tunnel Hwy 520) into Koloa and take any of the roads from Koloa to Po’ipu Beach.  Turn left and pass the Grand Hyatt. Shipwreck's Beach, where this hike begins, is in front of the Grand Hyatt Take the last paved road to the right to the public parking lot between the Hyatt and Po’ipu Bay Golf Course.