• Big Island Resource Conservation and
    Development Council
  • County of Hawai‘i, Department of Parks and Recreation
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Managing Information with
    Rural America Hawai‘i Tourism Authority
  • State Department of Land and Natural Resources
  • Nä Ala Hele Hawai'i Eco-tourism Association
  • E Malama Project Sierra Club Coordinator,
    Roberta Brashear
  • Kepä Maly, Kumo Pono Assoc. - ethnographer
  • Michael Hyson, Ph.D. - Webmaster
  • Kim Tavares - GPS plotting
  • Sherry Kelso - maps & CD cover design

Production of this map guide is made possible by:
Healthy Hawai‘i Initiative and is NOT FOR SALE.

E NIHI KA HELE is a program of:

To support Puna Trails by
Education, Involving &
Recognizing Eco-tourism
Operators in Puna.

"Enihi ka helena i Puna, mai ho‘opä, mai pülale i ka ‘ike a ka maka… Travel cautiously in Puna, be careful not to touch everything, don‘t rush all about to see everything…” 
From a traditional saying, warning that one should travel cautiously through Puna.

Contact Info./Map Orders:

Ginny Aste/Jon Olson - Puna Trails Council
ginny@interpac.net , 808-965-9869
jon@interpac.net , 808-965-6093

P.O. Box 1051, Pahoa, HI 96778, Ph/Fax 965-5454

Website: www.interpac.net/~plntpuna

One day Pele called to her sisters and invited them to travel with her from Kïlauea to the shore of Puna.  While relaxing and fishing, Pele saw the women Höpoe and Hä‘ena dancing near the shore and asked her sisters if some of them might dance for her, but none could dance.  The youngest sister, Hi‘iaka-i-ka-poli-o-Pele (Hi‘iaka), had not yet joined Pele and her older sisters at the shore, as she was gathering lehua blossoms to weave into lei (garlands).  When Hi‘iaka arrived, Pele inquired of her, if she might have a mele (chant) and hula (dance) with which to entertain them.   Hi‘iaka said that she did (for she had befriended Höpoe and Hä‘ena and learned the mele and hula), and as she adorned Pele and the other sisters with the lei lehua, she chanted:


Ke ha‘a la Puna i ka makani,

Puna dances in the wind,

Ha‘a ka ulu hala i Kea‘au.

The pandanus groves of Kea‘au dance as well.

Ha‘a Hä‘ena me Höpoe,

Hä‘ena and Höpoe dance,

Ha‘a ka wahine,

The women are dancing,

Ami i kai o Nänähuki la—

Turning in the sea of Nänähuki —

Hula le‘a wale,

Gleefully dancing,

I kai o Nänähuki, e!

At the shore of Nänähuki!


  • Please respect historic resources.
  • Refrain from walking on adjoining historic sites and do not remove any rocks from walls or other features.
  • Entering sites is inappropriate except for lineal descendants, cultural practitioners, and those performing preservation tasks.
  • The Puna Trail-Old Government Road is an historic
  • Damage to the trail or any archaeological sites along the trail is subject to penalties, as defined in Hawai‘i Revised Statutes Chapter 6E-11.
  • The Shipman Estate is private property.
  • The loko i‘a (fishpond) has been maintained by the Shipman family for well over 100 years; trail users and visitors to Kea‘au Beach should respect the private property rights of the Shipman family and refrain from trespassing.
  • Dogs and other animals should be kept on leashes at all times, and they should be kept away from Hawai‘i’s unique forms of wildlife.
  • Trail use is limited to non-motorized transportation.


Users of the map guide are encouraged to consult a physician to determine appropriate levels of physical activity and exercise.


Swimming and shoreline hazards:

  • Never swim alone.
  • Swim only on a calm day, even then there can be “rogue waves”.
  • Avoid entering streams and ponds when you have open cuts on your skin.
  • Shoreline hazards include sea cliffs with vertical drops large breaking waves, and wet slippery surfaces.
  • Always face the ocean and stay a distance away from wave dampened rock surfaces. If a tsunami warning is given, follow instruction issued through the Emergency Broadcast System.

(sea turtles), ‘ïlio holo kai (monk seals), and nënë (endemic geese) are endangered species; the honu and ‘ïlio holo kai are known to haul out along the shoreline of the Puna trail and the Shipman Estate (Kea‘au Bay) is home to the oldest nënë breeding program established by 1918.
Without this program, it is likely that the nënë would have become extinct.
In the ancient lore of the people of Hawai‘i, there are several things for which the district of Puna is famed-among them are: the rising sun at Kumukahi; Pele and the geologic phenomenon; the fragrant groves of pü hala (pandanus trees); growth of ‘awa (Piper methysticum), the beach at Kea‘au where Höpoethe woman-turned to stone danced, or rocked in the waves on the shore; and Käne, a Hawaiian god and ancestor of the chiefs and commoners, a god of sunlight, fresh water, verdant growth, and forests.
Ancient trails (ala hele) provided travelers with access to a variety of resources.  They were the link between individual residences, resource collection sites, agricultural field systems, and larger communities.

Today, while traveling along the Old Government Road one can see a wide range of sites that are of significance to families who once lived in the vicinity.

Because the trails were used over the generations, they also exhibit a variety of construction methods which range from ancient – for example worn alignments on pähoehoe lava, or cobble stepping stone pavements – to historic curbstone lined roads with elevated stone filled “bridges” that level out the contour of the roadway.
This map/guide was created to show a portion of the 39 mile network of bike/hike trails in the “backyards” of Puna subdivisions.  The guide is designed to highlight the cultural history of the trail network and point out the necessity of protecting fragile ecosystems and cultural sites.  Subsequent map/guides will show additional sections of Puna trails.

Puna Trails Webpage   *PlanetPuna*