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: