Maha’ulepu Hertitage Trail
Manha’ulepu Heritage Trail, Kaua’i Hawaii
Just past Grand Hyatt’s last parking lot is the start of the Manha’ulepu Heritage Trail. The trail stretches from Keoneloa Bay to Kawailoa Bay. This section of wild coastline is spectacular. It has both geological and cultural sites.
I would recommend you wear at least tennis shoes because of the sharp lava rock along the beach path. You should see turtles along the surf as you walk along the sea dunes and cliff.
Makauwahi Cave is a limestone cave that took over 400,000 years to form, through the hardening of an ancient sand dune that over time turned to stone. Approximately 7,000 years ago, as groundwater slowly eroded the limestone and dripping water flowed down the walls molding flow-stone formations, the ceiling in the cave’s central room collapsed, creating a freshwater lake in the cave.

How to get there
Located just beyond the Poipu Bay Golf Course and CJM Horse Stable is a short sandy trail that leads to the cave. From 80 feet above, the cave will arouse your curiosity and make you wonder how this sinkhole in the middle of nowhere came to be. Paleocologist David Burney and his wife Lida Pigott Burney were equally curious on the history of the cave and have spent two decades uncovering the caves secrets. Their findings have been nothing less than extraordinary!

Makauwahi Cave is a limestone cave that took over 400,000 years to form, through the hardening of an ancient sand dune that over time turned to stone. Approximately 7,000 years ago, as groundwater slowly eroded the limestone and dripping water flowed down the walls molding flow-stone formations, the ceiling in the cave’s central room collapsed, creating a freshwater lake in the cave.
The Makauwahi Cave is the largest limestone cave found in Hawaii. It lies on the south coast of the island of Kauaʻi, in the Māhāʻulepū Valley close to Māhāʻulepū Beach, and is important for its paleoecological and archaeological values. It is reached via a sinkhole and has been described as “…maybe the richest fossil site in the Hawaiian Islands, perhaps in the entire Pacific Island region.
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