Kōloa Heritage Trail
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What: 10-mile tour of important sites in Kōloa and Poʻipū
Where: South Shore of Kauaʻi through Kōloa and Poʻipū
Ka Ala Hele Waiwai Ho‘oilina o Kōloa, or the Kōloa Heritage Trail, is a 14-stop, self-guided 10-mile tour of the Kōloa and Poʻipū area’s most important cultural, historical and geological sites, with descriptive plaques that explain each spot’s significance.
Kōloa is a historic South Shore area, home to Hawaiʻi’s first commercial sugar plantation. In the mid 1800’s, sugar replaced the whaling industry to become the principal industry of Hawaiʻi. As a result of the sugar boom, approximately 350,000 immigrants from around the world came to Hawaiʻi to work in the sugar plantations. Although tourism supplanted sugar as Hawaiʻi’s major industry (Kauaʻi’s last sugar mill closed in 2008), the legacy of the era lives on in the unique ethnic diversity of Hawaiʻi’s people today.
Beyond the shower tree in the center of Old Kōloa Town you’ll discover the Sugar Monument, just one of the stops on the Kōloa Heritage Trail. This circular concrete sculpture suggesting a millstone holds a bronze sculpture depicting the eight principal ethnic groups that brought the sugar industry to life (Hawaiian, Caucasian, Puerto Rican, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese and Filipino). The sculpture opens up to face the remnants of the Kōloa sugar mill’s stone chimney, built in 1841.
Kōloa Heritage Trail Locations
Encompassing the south shore of Kauaʻi, look for these special spots on your next visit:
1. Spouting Horn Park - Famous south shore blowhole.
2. Prince Kūhiō Birthplace & Park - Prince Kūhiō, known as the “People’s Prince,” was born here in 1871.
3. Hanakaʻape Bay & Kōloa Landing - Formerly the third largest whaling port in Hawaiʻi.
4. Pāʻū A Laka (Moir Gardens) - Botanical garden founded in the 1930s.
5. Kihahouna Heiau - Site of an ancient Hawaiian temple.
6. Poʻipū Beach Park - Popular beach home to endangered monk seals.
7. Keoneloa Bay - Home to some of Kauaʻi’s oldest occupied sites (200-600 A.D.).
8. Makawehi & Pa‘a Dunes - A fossil bed that has become a popular spot for bird watching
9. Pu‘uwanawana Volcanic Cone - A younger volcanic cone in a formation dating back more than 5 million years.
10. Hapa Road - Hawaiians have lived in this area since 1200 A.D.
11. Kōloa Jodo Mission - Buddhist temple built in 1910.
12. Sugar Monument - Commemorates the site of Hawaiʻi’s first sugar mill.
13. Yamamoto Store & Kōloa Hotel - Former plantation-era mainstay from the 1920s. Note that these two businesses are now the present day Crazy Shirts and the South Shore Pharmacy respectively.
14. Kōloa Missionary Church - The first Congregational church in Kauaʻi.