The Halawa Valley is located at the far northeastern tip of Molokai (28 Mile), and is one of the jewels of the island. This spot is considered the longest continusouly inhabited spot in all of the Hawaiian Islands. It is believed that the area has been populated since 650 AD. It was an ideal location to live because fresh water flows year round from Mo’oula Falls. The land was fertile allowing the growth of taro to flourish, wild pigs roamed the valley and a protected cove allowed boats to launch for fishing.
Everything changed in 1946 when a massive tsunami devastated the valley, killing many, and tainting the land with salt water. Most of those who survived, decided to leave the valley for other places on the islands. Today there are still a few families who live here and tend to the land the way their ancestors did in ancient times.
If you visit Molokai and want to go further into the valley than the seashore, you need to take an official hike with one of the homeowners. One hike has a cultural focus, teaching about the past population and their practices of living on the land. The other hike is a bit more relaxed and focuses on floral, fauna and the natural beauty of the valley. Both hikes climb to an elevation of about 250 feet, ending where you can enjoy a swim in a pool below one of the falls. Both hikes are 3-4 hours long and are considered to be medium to difficult. Okay, the hike kicked our butts, but in the end it was worth it.
If you do not want to hike you can still drive into the valley for photos. The drive (and Highway 450) ends at a parking lot where you can enjoy one of the two beaches. It should be noted that swimming here can be dangerous if there are high waves. Pack a picnic and make a day of it. If you visit on a weekday, chances are good that you will only see a couple other people on the beach with you.