The Sea Arch is a very short hike in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The hike itself is short, flat, and easy (only .25 mile to the sea arch viewpoint). The drive is a long and winding road at the very far terminus of the park road. In order to find the Holei Sea Arch, drive the Chain of Craters Road to the very end and then take the short hike to see the arch.
From the Visitor’s Center, the road to the Holei Sea Arch is 22 miles. That translates into about 45 minutes one way. The last ten miles or so, are through fields of black rock that have been spewed from ancient and modern volcanoes. The ripples and rills of the rock formations are interesting, but there is a lot of low scrubby vegetation, and the view along the road is a bit like the road through fictional Mordor. Read more about this road and the stops we made on our Hawaii Volcanoes National Park guide.
The road drops off a large volcano all the way to the rugged coast. There are no beaches, just the relentless pounding of waves upon the immovable volcanic rock. A small parking area and restrooms are the only thing to greet you at the turn around. Find a parking spot near the restrooms and begin the walk down the paved trail. There is no shade in this area of the park.
The Sea Arch trail is a flat walk along an abandoned road. After just a quarter of a mile, it leaves the path and walks toward the sea. Watch for a small sign that points you off the road. Then the trail walks over the uneven lava rock, which is not accessible for any type of wheels. As you approach the rocky cliffs overlooking the sea, look for the Sea Arch back toward the car. It’s a bit difficult to see in the late afternoon due to the position of the sun, but you can definitely frame the arch against the sea behind it. We recommend visiting in the morning if you can. Our pictures are from the late afternoon visit in October.
The Holei Sea Arch is a unique feature that is worth the long drive in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This sea arch will not last forever and has already changed a lot over the years from the constant water beating on it. While you’re all the way down that road, make sure to check out the Pu’uloa Petroglyphs, which we enjoyed, too.