Captain Cook’s Monument lies on the north side of Kealakekua Bay and marks the approximate spot where he died. The monument can be reached by sea, and also by a steep trail from the top of Napo’opo’o road. The adventurous will be rewarded by the beauty of the place, and by the excellent snorkeling.
Be sure to take your time as you hike down the trail to Captain Cook’s Monument as there are many breathtaking views for you to enjoy. The hike gets a little steep so you will want to wear durable shoes. It is approximately 2 miles one way so leave yourself plenty of time. With a leisure pace it will take about 1 hour down and 1.5 hours back up. You may want to bring a flash light just in case it takes longer than planned and you end up hiking after dark. Plenty of water is also recommended as well as a snack. You will burn a lot of calories.
Once at the bottom you will head to the left to view the monument. Here you can jump in, cool off and enjoy the beautiful fish and crystal clear water. There will be many people enjoying the water view tour trips from Kailua Kona and visitors in kayaks. If you come by kayak or canoe, you have to keep your boat in the water with you. It is not allowed to dock your boat unless you are with an authorized tour guide.
After you have enjoyed the water, there is a beautiful hike over old lava where you can view the powerful Pacific Ocean. You will want to go back to where the trail came out and go to the right instead of turning to the left to go to the monument. The area is beautiful! There is light house about 1/4 of a mile hike heading North.
The view of where the lava hardened at the water is just beautiful and you can feel the power of the Pacific as the water washes against the shore (see video below). There is also a small lighthouse that can be seen while staying at Kona Bayview Inn at night when the sky is dark.
Video of the power of the Pacific – BTW Don’t snorkel here…
Directions to trail:
From Kailua-Kona, drive Highway 11 south. Turn right on Napo’opo’o Road toward Kealakekua Bay (at mile marker 111). There is a turnout that’s big enough for a few cars on the left side of the road (you will see other cars parked here) and the trail head is across the street.