Hawaii April 26, 2018
The Ancient Forest In Hawaii That’s Right Out Of A Storybook
The Hawaiian Islands are known across the planet for our incredible beaches and nearly 750 miles of gorgeous coastline, but most people don’t associate the Aloha State with sprawling forests. And while all of our incredible forests are enchanting, there is one ancient forest nestled on Hawaii Island that looks as though it was ripped from the pages of your favorite fairytale. This is the Kalopa Native Forest State Park & Recreation Area, and it is undoubtedly worth a visit if you find yourself on the Big Island’s Hamakua Coast near Honoka’a.
With a dense upper canopy, emerald green plants, and even whimsical, oddly-shaped tree branches twisting themselves across the forest, you’re sure to feel as though you’re in a storybook setting — perhaps on your way to an enchanted castle or far away destination?
Nestled on the slopes of Mauna Kea, the Kalopa Forest receives substantial rainfall, resulting in the enchanting and lush native forest you’ll find here.
The 100-acre Kalōpā Native Forest State Park and Recreation Area adjoins the 500-acre Kalopa Forest Reserve, and while large and beautiful, because the forest is located off the beaten path, chances are good that you’ll find a bit of solitude.
We’re not sure how long this native, old-growth forest has been around, but it’s full of ancient flora species that were found on the island before the first Polynesians discovered and settled Hawaii. In fact, the native forest attempts to protect and preserve the endemic Hawaiian ecosystem as it was before contact with humans.
The park features a 0.7-mile trail through a forest of native ohia lehua trees, as well as a variety of rare plants in the Arboretum area, including endangered loulu palms as well as a variety of rare native hibiscus.
There are a handful of other trails traversing the park as well, and if you take them all, you can expect at least 5-6 miles of hiking. You will also find horseback riding trails, picnic areas, overnight lodging, and camping.
At an elevation of approximately 2,000 feet, you can expect damp and chilly weather when you visit this incredible forest. If you plan on hiking, be sure to bring plenty of water, shoes with plenty of traction that you don’t mind getting muddy, mosquito repellant, and maybe a raincoat.
For a closer look at this old-growth forest, check out this footage from
YouTube user videofilmik:
The Kalopa Native Forest State Park is located at 44-3480 Kalaniai Rd., Honokaa, HI 96727 and is open daily during daylight hours.
Want to experience other Hawaii forests? Check out
this forest hike sure to enchant you, or perhaps plan a visit to one of these 12 incredible forest reserves.