Pools of Mokolea

Mokolea Point Trail

Discover an amazing section of lava rock tide pools on the rugged coastline near the town of Kilauea on the Mokolea Point Trail.

Difficulty: Easy
North Shore/Kilauea
 2.75 miles (out and back)
Map: Google Maps

The Pools of Mokolea is an amazing section of lava rock tide pools on a rugged section of coastline near the town of Kilauea. The dramatic location is a favorite for photographers at sunrise, and for adventurers seeking an up-close look at a blow hole known as The Cauldron or The Toilet Bowl. Though we do not like the latter name for this amazing natural wonder, the blow hole does indeed appear to drain like a toilet.

It is potentially one of the most dangerous locations on the island, and extreme caution is urged when visiting the Pools of Mokolea. In addition to the inherent dangers of the blow hole, large waves crash on the rocks throughout the year. In years past, the location was rarely mentioned and received few visitors. Today, with public mentions in guide books and on various social media sites, the area is receiving more visitors. We expect at some point that authorities will restrict access to the tide pools (as has happened at Queen’s Bath in nearby Princeville). However, under proper conditions (low tide, calm ocean), the pools can be visited safely.

The Pools of Mokolea are located on a promontory across from Kahili (Rock Quarry) Beach in an area that is part of the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. A predator resistant fence has been built just above the trail to the pools to protect the wildlife in the refuge. This is a special place with many natural attributes.

There are two ways to reach the Pools of Mokolea. The easiest and quickest way is to park at Kahili Beach and wade across Kilauea Stream at the mouth of the river to the other side, then walk about a quarter mile through a meadow and past the rock quarry rocks to reach the pools area. However, this path involves crossing the stream. Normally, the stream is placid, but can be problematic (with a potentially dangerous undertow) during heavy runoff.

The recommended way to reach the pools (to avoid crossing the Kilauea Stream) is to park on Kahili Quarry Road in Kilauea and walk down the dirt road to the pools area. This is known as the Mokolea Point Trail. The road is rutted, and very slippery and muddy when wet and walking is recommended over driving. It is about a mile from the park point to the end of the road (at the stream crossing mentioned above), and another quarter mile on the foot trail to the pools.

Read more about the Pools of Mokolea in our Winter 2024 Issue of Kauai Magazine: Journey to the Pools of Mokolea!

Pools of Mokolea