Maunakea in Hawaiian Culture

Historic Properties

Historic Properties are defined as any building, structure, object, district, area, or site that is significant in the history, architecture, archaeology, or culture of the State, its communities, or the nation. Historic Properties on Maunakea include traditional cultural properties, trail systems, Archaeological sites, and Buildings. For more information on Historic Properties, visit the Cultural Resources Management Plan.

On this page:

Traditional Cultural Properties

Upright stones

Traditional cultural properties are defined as having an association with cultural practices or beliefs of a living community that are a) rooted in that communities history, and b) are important in maintaining the continuing cultural identity of the community.

The summit region of Maunakea is considered a traditional cultural property.

Trail systems

Although traditional accounts of trails (ala hele) on Maunakea do not provide precise route information, they do suggest the presence of ancient trails through the summit region. Maly and Maly (2005:454) assert that ancient trail systems across all the mountain lands afforded travel to burial sites and for the collection of resources including adze stone, canoe koa, and bird feathers.

A mo‘olelo (traditional story or legend) associated with chief Pili-a- Ka‘aiaea, and thus dating from the 1300s, recounts the journey of two brothers, Ka-Miki and Maka-iole, as they traveled the island by trails. When Ka-Miki was sent to the summit, he was also guided by a mele (chant, song or poem):

The path goes to the uplands
The path goes to the lowlands
It is a lonely path to the mountain
A damp dreary path
A fire will be the wrap
Warming you along the sacred trail…

Many historical trails are no longer in use or visible, so please be respectful and stay on current, marked trails only.

Hiking Trail on Maunakea

Adze Quarry

Archaeological Sites

Numerous archeological sites, including shrines, burials, ahu, lele, and other features can be found on Maunakea and are significant in Hawaiian culture. Please respect the sites and do not alter them, bearing in mind that some of these may take the form of rock stackings or other formations that can in some cases appear natural.


Halepōhaku stone cabin In the 1930's the first stone cabins on Maunakea were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The cabins served as a base camp for hunters, hikers, and explorers. The name of the mid-elevation area, Halepōhaku, or “house of stone”, is derived from these cabins.

An architectural survey completed in 2010 provides additional detail on these cabins
Halepōhaku Rest House 1 15 Mb PDF
Halepōhaku Rest House 2 16 Mb PDF
Halepōhaku Comfort Station 12 Mb PDF.