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Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area

Big Island, Hawai'i

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Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area

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  • Large ʻōhiʻa trees line the drive into the park.- Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area
  • The trails are lush and green, but also very muddy.- Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area
  • An empty streambed that creates a massive waterfall when it has been raining.- Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area
  • Eucalyptus trees within the park.- Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area
  • Fiddleheads.- Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area
  • The forest is truly layered.- Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area
  • There is a good chance you won't see another soul on your hike.- Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area
  • Kalōpā is known for its towering trees.- Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area
  • The day use picnic shelter.- Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area
  • One of the duplex cabins available for rent.- Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area
  • A large dining hall is available if you rent one of the four cabins.- Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Rare flora and fauna. Cooler temperatures. Quiet campground and cabins. Interpretive nature trail.
Cons: 
Muddy. Mosquitos.
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Region:
Big Island, HI
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

​Kalōpā State Park and Recreation Area is a 100-acre park that joins with the 500-acre Kalōpā Forest Reserve and offers 6 miles of trails for multi-use. The park is located on the lower slopes of Mauna Kea at 2,000 feet and borders the Hanaipoe Gulch. Because of the elevation and consistent rainfall, the park is typically wet and cool, and this offers a unique climate for certain native plants to thrive. Many of the plants within the park are listed as rare or endangered, and the state has done an excellent job of removing some of the pesky invasive species that adversely affect Hawaiian forests.

Upon entering the park, you will immediately notice the massive trees, particularly old ʻōhiʻa trees with beautiful red blossoms. The understory is equally lush, and the hapu’u pulu fern tree is a welcome sight coupled with the numerous green mosses that cover tree trunks and logs. Hiking in the park gives you the sense that you are stepping back in time.

The park is available for multiple recreational uses, including hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and camping. Kalōpā offers two duplex cabins for rent; each includes eight bunks and a bathroom with hot showers. If you rent a cabin, you have access to a large dining hall that features a fully equipped kitchen. Many people like to book all four rooms and hold retreats or functions within the dining hall. The cabins and dining hall are centrally located, and you can access all trails without needing to drive. There is also a large, well maintained lawn surrounding the cabins, perfect for children and lawn games. The tent campground is nearby and has small individual shelters along with a slightly larger shelter with picnic tables and bathrooms. There is also a day use picnic shelter within the park.

Because Kalōpā State Park is not very close to high-volume tourist attractions, you are likely to have a very quiet experience within the park. Nearby historic Honoka’a town is worth a visit, and the malasadas at Tex’s Drive-In come highly recommended. Your experience at Kalōpā State Park will be much more enjoyable if you are prepared for the conditions within the park.

Here are some other things to consider:

  • The park gets rain regularly, and despite the altitude, the mosquitos can be brutal. Be sure to wear protective clothing and bug spray.
  • The weather can be quite cold, particularly at night and when it rains. Be sure to bring layers and be prepared for cooler temperatures if camping.
  • The trails are often very muddy if it has been raining, and boots are recommended.
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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

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