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NATURE

SCENERY

AKAKA FALLS STATE PARK
End of Akaka Falls Road (Hwy 220), 3.6 miles southwest of Honomu.
(South Hilo District)
Pleasant self-guided walk through lush tropical vegetation to scenic vista points overlooking the cascading Kahuna Falls and the free-falling Akaka Falls which plunges 442 feet into a stream-eroded gorge. The 0.4-mile loop footpath requires some physical exertion.

ANAEHOOMALU BAY
North from Kailua-Kona on Queen Kaahumanu Hwy (Hwy 19). Take road at Mile Marker 76 to beach.
(South Kohala District)
A long crescent of white sand - fronting the Hilton Royal Waikoloa Hotel - very scenic area. A popular West Hawaii spot for windsurfing - location of many archaeological sites including two fishponds and a large petroglyph field.

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
P. O. Box 52
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718-0052
(Volcano District)
Tel. (808) 985-6000 (open 24 hours per day, all year)
Distances to the Park: From Hilo - 30 miles southwest on Highway 11; From Kailua-Kona - 96 miles southeast on Highway 11, or 125 miles through Waimea and Hilo via Highways 19 and 11.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park encompasses 333,000 acres from sea level to the 13,677-foot summit of Mauna Loa, the world's largest and most active volcano. It is home to Kilauea Volcano, Mauna Loa's dynamic smaller sibling which provides frequent opportunities for lava viewing. For your safety, upon arrival talk to the ranger in the Kilauea Visitor Center about current lava flow conditions. The following information applies to some of the many opportunities for viewing the spectacular scenery in the park. For more information, please visit the Park's Website. (The 7-day park entry fee is $10 per vehicle; $5 per bicyclist or pedestrian; free for Golden Age/Eagle Passport holders.)

LAVA FLOW
: January, 2007 marks the beginning of the 24th year of the ongoing eruption of Kilauea Volcano. Visitors may view the active lava flow from the end of the Chain of Craters Road, about four miles away from where the lava enters the ocean. Viewing conditions frequently change - chances of seeing red lava vary daily, but are usually best at night. For information on the current eruption and safety precautions, please visit the park's website. For photos, visit a Lava Flow Pictorial.

HALEMAUMAU CRATER OVERLOOK: A short ten minute walk to the crater's edge offers an incredible surrealistic view. Native Hawaiians practice their ancient traditions at Halemaumau Crater. Please respect this sacred Hawaiian site. Do not build rock piles or leave any items that may desecrate this area. Warning! Volcanic fumes are hazardous to your health. Visitors with heart or breathing problems, and infants, young children and pregnant women should avoid this area.

SCENIC DRIVES:

  • Crater Rim Drive (1 - 3 hours): Explore the summit of Kilauea Volcano via Crater Rim Drive, an 11-mile loop road that encircles the summit caldera, passes through the Kau Desert and tropical rain forest and provides access to well-marked scenic stops and short walks. Allow one to three hours, depending on how often you stop.
  • Chain of Craters Road (3 - 4 hours): If you have three to four hours, you may also explore the East Rift and coastal area via Chain of Craters Road. This road descends 3,700 feet in 20 miles and ends where a 2003 lava flow crosses the road. Depending on changing volcanic activity, there may be opportunities for viewing active lava flows. No food or fuel is available along the Chain of Craters Road.
HILO-HAMAKUA HERITAGE COAST DRIVE
Discover the sights and plantation history of the Hilo-Hamakua Heritage Coastline, a 45-mile drive on State Highway 19 through scenic byways, former mill towns and plantation villages.
(Hilo-Hamakua Districts)
Until a few years ago, this region was the home of large-scale sugar plantations and a history which molded Hawaii's economy, history and cultural mix for more than a hundred years. For more information, please refer to the Hilo-Hamakua Heritage Coast Drive Guide.

LAUPAHOEHOE COUNTY PARK
Hawaii Belt Road, North of Hilo - Hamakua Coastline
(North Hilo District)
A remote and beautiful area affording wonderful views.

LAVA TREE STATE MONUMENT
Off Pahoa-Pohoiki Road (Hwy 132); 2.7 miles southeast of Pahoa
(Puna District)
17.1 acres. Viewing of a forest of lava trees along a 0.7 mile loop trail. This unusual volcanic feature is the result of a lava flow that swept through this forested area and left behind lava molds of the tree trunks. Picnicking opportunities. Potable water.

MACKENZIE STATE RECREATION AREA
Kalapana-Kapoho Beach Road (Highway 137)
(Puna District)
13.1 acres located 9 miles northeast of Kaimu - isolated, low cliffed, wild volcanic coastline. Tent camping only in ironwood grove. Good shore fishing. Old Hawaiian coastal trail traverses the park. Cultural sites, scenic vistas. Picnic area, pavilion, restrooms. No drinking water.

MAUNA KEA ICE AGE NATURAL AREA RESERVE: LAKE WAIAU / SUMMIT
Take the Saddle Road (Hwy 200) to Mauna Kea Road. Lake Waiau is located at the 13,000-foot elevation, near the summit of Mauna Kea off Mauna Kea Road (approximately 800 feet from top of the extinct 13,796 foot volcano). The lake is accessible via a 30 minute walk from the road. Prepare for snow at the summit if visiting this area in winter. Note: check with the U-Drive Company - the Saddle Road (Hwy 200) is the only road to Mauna Kea and is off limits to most rental cars.
(Hamakua District)
Exceptional geologic features are in this reserve of 3,894 acres. Just as massive glaciers were forming and receding on the continents during the Ice Age, the high slopes of Mauna Kea had coinciding intervals of ice cover. The features of erosion and deposition left by the action of four successive glaciers are prime natural assets protected by the reserve. Another significant geologic feature is Lake Waiau, which at 13,020 feet elevation is one of the highest lakes in the United States. A complex and well preserved archaeological site with adz quarries and related ancient Hawaiian cultural remains is also located here. At 13,796 feet, the view from the summit of the tallest mountain in the Pacific is nothing short of awesome! Guided Tour

PARKER RANCH
Visitor Center
Parker Ranch Shopping Center
Kamuela (Waimea), HI 96743
Tel. (808) 885-7655
In the brochure entitled "Paniolo Hawaiian Cowboy", the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board states "... Completely overlooked in the history books of the American West, Hawaiian cowboys actually supplied much of the beef to the hordes flocking to California during the Gold Rush. By the mid-1840's, the era of wild range cattle passed on to domesticated ranch herds. In 1847, John Parker was granted two acres of land for ten dollars and thus began Parker Ranch that today stretches approximately 150,000 acres from the highlands of Waimea to the sea...". The Parker Ranch Visitor's Center contains a museum and films/videos of Paniolo history.

PEEPEE FALLS
Take the right fork after Mile Marker 1 on Waianuenue Avenue in downtown Hilo and follow the signs to Rainbow Falls. Continue past Rainbow Falls for approximately one mile to Peepee Falls.
(Downtown Hilo District)
An idyllic waterfall and deep pool.

POLOLU VALLEY LOOKOUT
Located at the end of Akoni Pule Highway (Hwy 270)
(North Kohala District)
Outstanding vista showing the raw, untamed side of the Big Island. Pololu Valley was once one of the richest wet taro plantations in Hawaii. Close to Keokea Beach Park.

PUNALUU BLACK SAND BEACH PARK
Punaluu
(Kau District)
One of Big Island's most famous black sand beaches - home to the endangered Green sea turtle.

PUUHONUA O HONAUNAU
National Historical Park
P. O. Box 129
Honaunau, HI 96726
(South Kona District)
Tel. (808) 328-2326 (Administration); (808) 328-2288 (Visitor Center)
A 181.8-acre park. Until 1819, vanquished Hawaiian warriors, noncombatants, and kapu breakers could escape death by reaching this sacred ground. Prehistoric house sites, royal fishponds, coconut groves, and spectacular shore scenery comprise the park. Green sea turtles can often be spotted in Keone Ele cove . Humpback whales can be seen during the winter months. Handouts on the local plants and birds are available. A 1871 historic trail (approx. 1 mile) has many archeological sites including temple sites (heiau), some sledding tracks (holua), and old house sites. There is also an open lava tube cave that ends at the face of a sea cliff. Watch your head as the ceiling is low and flashlights are recommended. Ask at the visitor center for a backcountry trail guide. The park celebrates its annual Hawaiian Cultural Festival on the weekend that falls closest to July 1. Note: The Green Sea Turtle is a Federally protected endangered species - please do not touch them and keep 10 feet away. For your own safety, please do not jump from the cliff or opening of the lava tube cave.

SOUTH POINT (KA LAE)
Located at the end of South Point Road off Mamalahoa Highway (Hwy 11), near Waiohinu and approx. 6 miles west of Naalehu. The drive along South Point Road from Hwy 11 to the end is approx. 12 miles.
(Kau District)
As you drive down the South Point Road, you cant miss seeing and hearing the huge Kamoa Wind Farm's windmills generating electricity. Ka Lae ("The Point") is the southernmost spot in the United States - the next Continental landfall is Antarctica - 7500 miles to the south.! This wild coastline has extensive archaeological sites, and is believed to be the site of the first Polynesian landings in 300 A.D. or earlier. The rocky point at Ka Lae is an overhang, and many local fishermen literally risk their lives climbing down a rope ladder to their boats anchored many feet below.

UMAUMA FALLS
Go 16 miles north of Hilo on the Hawaii Belt Road (Hwy 19). At Mile Marker 16, take the road inland. Turn right and park by the first gulch.
(South Hilo District)
One of the most stunning waterfall settings in Hawaii. You can see the falls from the highway bridge that crosses the stream.

WAILUKU RIVER STATE PARK
Off Waianuenue Avenue, downtown Hilo; Boiling Pots Area at end of Peepee Falls Drive; Rainbow Falls on Rainbow Drive; Peepee Falls is approximately one mile beyond Rainbow Falls.
(Downtown Hilo District)
A 16.3 acre park. Viewpoints of geologic and scenic interest along Wailuku River. Boiling Pots is a succession of big pools connected by underground flow or cascades whose waters roll and bubble as if boiling. The well-exposed hexagonal columns that line the pools were formed by the slow cooling of basalt lava. The 80-foot Rainbow Falls is renown for the rainbow formed from its mist. Legends say that the cave beneath the waterfall was the home of Hina, mother of the demigod Maui. Peepee Falls is an idyllic waterfall and deep pool.

WAIPIO VALLEY OVERLOOK
From Hilo, take Hawaii Belt Road (Hwy 19) north to Honokaa. Take Route 240 to Overlook.
(Hamakua District)
An awesome, unforgettable view of a valley that was a special place to the ancient Hawaiians.

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