⛱ 2024 Guide to Maui Red Sand Beach: Location, Safety & More

Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach Maui blog post cover photo.  Text overlaying an image of the red sand beach with a swimmer walking the shore.

Kaihalulu Beach, better known as Red Sand Beach, is a natural marvel forged by volcanoes and hidden away on Maui’s famous Road to Hana.

It is one of the most unusual beaches we have seen throughout all of our travels. Beautiful as it is, however, Red Sand Beach is also a place of controversy.

Due to a narrow, degrading trail that locals argue crosses over private property, visits are highly discouraged by Maui natives. However, there is a law in Hawaii prohibiting any private entity from denying beach access to the public.

Finding and hiking to this crimson cove presents some challenges. The trail is not maintained and deteriorates more and more with each tropical storm.

Due to the danger this sheer, narrow trail presents, we absolutely do not recommend it to anyone traveling with children or with balance/mobility issues!

For those explorers who understand the safety risk but are comfortable accepting it, our comprehensive guide to Red Sand Beach will show and explain everything you need to know for a safe and enjoyable visit.

We explain how to find Kaihalulu Beach, where to park, what to expect, and how to properly prepare to ensure your personal safety.

🏖 Overview of Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach Beach

As beautiful as the beach is to see in person, there is a lot to know and understand prior to visiting for the first time.

Local residents and state officials will not assist you in finding this location nor advertise it due to safety concerns. However, our belief is that education is greater than condemnation.

We have created this guide so that you have all the information necessary to have a positive experience.

Before getting into the rest of this guide, please read the bullet points below highlighting some crucial details you should be aware of:

  • The hike to Red Sand Beach should only be attempted by experienced, able-bodied hikers. No children or individuals with mobility or balance issues should attempt this hike.
  • Do not attempt the hike during or following heavy rainfall. The trail can quickly deteriorate and is very slippery, even when dry.
  • Wear proper shoes. Slips and falls are the primary cause of injury on the Kaihalulu trail.
  • All beaches in Hawaii are public beaches. Contrary to what you may read, private property cannot prevent access to any beach in the state by law.
  • Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach is “clothing optional.”
  • More rescues occur here than almost anywhere else on the island of Maui.
  • The cove can be subject to brutal rip currents. Take great care when swimming.

📍 How to Get to Red Sand Beach Maui

A satellite view of Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach near the town of Hana.
A satellite view of Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach near the famous Maui town of Hana.

As you can see in the photo above, the beach is located within a hidden cove near the town of Hana. Reaching this cove requires a half-mile hike along a narrow trail with steep sides.

Follow the instructions below to get to Red Sand Beach:

  1. Drive or walk to the dead end of Uakea Road just past the Hana Community Center (the road runs parallel to Hana Ball Park, see Photo 1.)
  2. Find the yellow gate with a small dirt walking trail beside it and walk across the empty grass field. (Photo 2)
  3. Find the trail on the far side of the field (Photo 3)
  4. Follow this trail 0.5 miles to Red Sand Beach.

⚠️ Safety & Warnings at Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach

A drone photo of Red Sand Beach on Maui

The dangerous hiking conditions at Red Sand Beach have been well-explained throughout this guide.

It is narrow and rapidly eroding, with steep drop-offs. Bring proper footwear, go slow, and do not attempt with children, following heavy rains, if you suffer from vertigo or balance issues, or if you are physically limited.

In addition, the cove itself can create an extremely strong undertow invisible from the surface. Practice extreme caution if you choose to swim here and be mindful that things can change quickly.

🧐 Is it Ethical to Create a Guide to Red Sand Beach?

A view of Red Sand Beach from the Kaihalulu trail overlook.

In the information age, location sharing has become a topic of controversy. Among the many incredible destinations in Maui, few spark more debate than Red Sand Beach.

Unfortunately, this site has had more than a few rescue teams called in. These include water rescues as a result of the dangerous undertow, as well as land rescues due to fallen hikers.

We have spoken directly with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, whose official position is to remove any mention of Kaihalulu Beach. However, we feel that the lack of safety information presents a danger to those visitors intent on seeking it out.

One recently reported tragedy occurred when a hiker accidentally took a very dangerous route, unable to find instructions on locating the proper trail.

As travel guides, our responsibility is to provide accurate, detailed information so that readers understand the rules and risks and can make informed choices.

Additionally, as two passionate travelers, it is our credo that this world is meant to be explored and enjoyed responsibly, particularly its greatest miracles. Physically capable and conscientious hikers should have absolutely no difficulty accessing the beach.

Please respect the island, the locals, and the rescue workers by carefully reading this guide and practicing due caution if you decide to visit.

🌅 When to Visit Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach

Adam Marland is seen jumping for joy from the shores of Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach Beach.
Jumping for joy on a morning visit to Red Sand Beach.

The best time to visit Red Sand Beach is in the morning. This makes the extremely limited parking easier to find and may even provide some solitude.

Additionally, the water tends to be at its calmest, the dangerous trail will be empty, and the water color most vibrant from the angular light.

With that said, there is no bad time to visit except during or immediately following heavy rains.

The Kaihalulu trail is slippery and steep enough when dry but becomes especially dangerous during storms.

🙋‍♀️ FAQs About Maui’s Red Sand Beach

Red Sand Beach Maui  landscape photography by Adam Marland.

Learn the answers to the most frequently asked questions by people hoping to visit Maui’s Red Sand Beach for the first time.

📍 Where is Red Sand Beach?

The beach known as Kaihalulu, or colloquially as Red Sand Beach, is found in a small cove near the city of Hana in eastern Maui.

🧭 How do you get to Red Sand Beach?

There is an unmarked trail at the end of a grassy knoll near the dead-end road of Uaukea that will bring you through a tropical forest straight to Red Sand Beach after 0.5 miles.

Find maps, images, and more specific information in this guide.

⚠️ Is Red Sand Beach dangerous?

Yes, Red Sand Beach is one of the most dangerous beaches to access on Maui. In addition to a treacherous trail, the cove is subject to extreme rip currents. Great care should be taken when visiting and swimming here.

🚧 Is Red Sand Beach on private property?

No, Red Sand Beach is NOT on private property. In fact, state law prevents any beach or beach access from becoming private property.

🥾 How long is the hike to Red Sand Beach?

The hike to Red Sand Beach is a 0.5-mile hike out and back that typically takes 10-20 minutes each way. Great caution should be taken, and this hike should not be attempted with children or people with mobility issues.

🎟 Do you need a reservation for Red Sand Beach?

You do not need a reservation to visit Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach, and, like all beaches in Hawaii, both the trail and beach are public access by law.

🌺 More Maui Beaches & Travel Guides

Sunset at Secret Cove Beach.
Discover the best secret beaches of Maui and more helpful guides to the island below.

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Before you go, you may want to skim some of the titles for other relevant Maui guides below to ensure you do not miss any epic beaches, sunset destinations, or noteworthy things to do during your visit to the Valley Isle!

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Written by
Adam Marland is a professional travel blogger and landscape photographer from Oregon. After over a decade of experience as a freelance travel photographer, Adam found national acclaim when he became the National Park Foundation's “Chief Exploration Officer” in 2021.