Pu’u Hinai Cinder Cone – Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Where: Waikoloa Road, Telephone Pole 96
Waikoloa, HI 96738
My favorite place to walk the dogs in Waikoloa Village is the “Cinder Cone” trail…lots of sniffing, bounding through tall weeds opportunities for your pooches. Heading east on Waikoloa Road from Waikoloa Village/post office/shopping plaza, you will drive about ½ mile to an area with a locked gate (has red duct tape wrapped around the center area) and dirt area where you can park safely away from the roadway (CLICK on photo below to enlarge it and see where and how I park). Park on either side of the gate, but please don’t block it. Walk around the gate either side to access the jeep trail that leads to the cinder cone and beyond. I have walked 4 miles round trip, but it goes much further. This is private property owned by ranchers who allow public access, I have confirmed (8/2013).
The conspicuous Waikoloa cinder cone, with its hidden caldera and giant mysterious cinder spot, has tantalized the imaginations of locals and tourists alike for decades. It’s currently used as a cinder mine. As of September 2012, a few cows have been in the area near the cone (approx. 1 mile in from Waikoloa Road), but you will be separated from them by a wire fence. Keep this in mind if your dogs are curious. There are several jeep trails: one main one that runs north and south and a few others that branch off from the main trail, including one or two that lead west to the Waikoloa Village Post Office (where you can park and walk from that direction). To hike from the Waikoloa Village Post Office, drive just past (South) the post office and park on the mauka side in front of large boulders and a curb-cut driveway (the driveway was probably made a long time ago for purposes of a development, but you will see there is no development!). Watch out for broken glass at the beginning of the trail. These trails are always great for mountain biking.
Frequently spotted: goat bones (fresh and old), cows. Conditions: Mostly flat, gradual sloping, sandy, rocky, dry terrain, no shade. Since it is a bit higher elevation than the Village, it can be less hot than the Village. Advise going in early morning or late afternoon.