Lonomea is a permitted backcountry campsite for up to eight individuals. It is located deep within the Waimea Canyon at the end of the Koaie Canyon Trail in the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve. There are a couple of routes to get to Lonomea, but the shortest route is to take the Kukui Trail down to the Waimea stream where it connects with the Koaie Canyon Trail. As you traverse down to the Waimea stream, dropping 2,000 feet in 2 miles, spectacular views abound. Along the Koaie Canyon Trail are three other campsites that can be obtained by permit, and some backpackers like to camp at the earlier campsites and do a day-hike to Lonomea. Lonomea can also be done as a 12-mile "okole buster" day-hike.
While the Kukui Trail offers spectacular views, the Koaie Canyon Trail rewards hikers with a dense forest and historical ruins from when the valley was once settled. Coffee, guava and orange trees abound, along with native trees such as the kukui and lonomea tree. Aside from the overhead helicopters that frequent the canyon, you most likely will not pass another hiker once you pass Wiliwili campsite at the base of the Kukui Trail.
Lonomea is a very playful river spot with deep swimming holes, cliff jumps, two waterfalls and numerous rock slides. What makes it such a spectacular campsite is how much fun you can have once you are there. Tubing is a popular activity in this section of the river, so much so that the shelter often has inflatable tubes left behind from previous hikers and hunters (other things are sometimes left behind, too, unfortunately). If you are staying for more than one night, some hikers enjoy a day trip (four to seven hours) upstream to an 800-foot unmarked waterfall. Mosquitos can be brutal in the dense forest, so be prepared to spend hours on the flat, smooth rocks adjacent to the campground, which tend to be bug-free and perfect for setting up a camp kitchen, too.