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Maha‘ulepu

mahaulepuMāhā‘ulep? name (“and falling together”) comes from a legendary battle that occurred in the 1300s when Kalaunuio Hua, a Big Island ruler, made an attempt to take over all the Hawaiian islands. Kalaunuio Hua and his men paddled to Kauai, drew up on Māhā’ulep? Beach and began to form themselves into fighting order.

Kukona, then ruling chief of Kauai, appeared on the ridge above the gathering. Kalaunuio Hua hurried to meet Kukona, but when he got there Kukona could not be found.

Kukona, who now stood on a neighboring ridge, challenged Kalaunuio Hua which prompted a chase inland, further away from the beach. When the invading warriors reached Wahiawa (near Kalaheo), Kukona and his army attacked the tired warriors and defeated them easily. By nightfall, it was evident that Kalaunuio Hua had lost the battle and became a prisoner to Kukona. Thus began the historical distinction of Kaua‘i as an island that was never conquered.

The shoreline corridor begins at Makawehi Point, where a trail across the Pā‘ā dunes affords pedestrian access from the Po‘ipu resort area to Punahoa Point and Māhā‘ulep? Beach. From there the accessible shoreline continues north to Ha‘ula at the foot of the Hā‘upu range.

This popular recreation area features crescents of sandy beach, known as the Māhā‘ulep? coast, a variety of coastal vegetation, windblown modern dunes, and a fossil?rich lithified dune system that forms fantastic cliffs, points and pinnacles overlooking the water. A privately?owned rutted dirt road affords daytime vehicular access to the Māhā‘ulep? coast from Punahoa Point north to Hā‘ula Bay.

The entire four?mile stretch from Makawehi Point to Hā‘ula offers a scenic hike in a wilderness atmosphere with no visible development except a single house at Māhā‘ulep? Beach. A narrow and rutted dirt road reaches most of the way to Hā‘ula; at favored spots it can be packed with vehicles on weekends and holidays, when local families converge for daytime and overnight fishing, spearfishing and camping.