If you are looking for a quiet camping option on the Hāmākua Coast, Kalōpā State Park is a unique option that takes you away from the coast and up into a lush rainforest on the slopes of Mauna Kea. Of the public campgrounds available in this area, Kalōpā State Park is definitely the most remote and private camping option, and the surrounding forest is an exceptional backdrop.
The lodging is split into two areas: tent camping and centrally located cabins. Both are very close to one another, and from either location you can access all trails by foot. Only three spaces are available for tent camping, and four people are permitted within each spot. The spots cost $12 for residents and $18 for non-residents. The campsites each come with their own small shelter to set up your tent within, given the ground is often saturated. Within the campground there is a small shared pavilion with a few picnic tables, bathrooms, and lights. The campground is spacious, and the shelters are a decent distance from one another.
If you would like a step up from tent camping, there are two duplex cabins available (four rooms total), and the cabin permits come with access to a large community kitchen and dining hall. Don’t expect much within the cabins; each room is only furnished with four bunk beds, and that is all. However, the dining hall has a fully equipped kitchen and a spacious dining area with folding tables, chairs, and a large fireplace. Do not move collected firewood around the island, which can spread Rapid ʻOhiʻa Death (Ceratocystis fimbriata). Instead, consider buying firewood. The kitchen utilizes industrial appliances, so sharing the cooking space should not be a problem. The nearest grocery store is the Malama Market in Honoka’a, which is 15 minutes away (6 miles).
The park hosts 6 miles of multi-use trails, including a short nature trail with interpretive signs. The trails are easy to access from either camping location, with shorter and longer options available. Because the park has cooler temperatures, wet weather, and is not conveniently located near other popular tourist destinations, you can expect a quiet visit to Kalōpā State Park.