By: Barbara Lilley



Although air fare to Hawaii (unlike other routes) has nearly doubled since the writer's last visit in 1969, the variety of scenery and hiking--from 13,000' peaks to tropical beach trails--and swimming--fresh water pools complete with waterfall and warm (75+) ocean water including body surfing--can still make an individual camping and hiking visit, combined with some sightseeing, worthwhile. Stay at least 2 weeks if possible! This write-up will supplement and include information contained in a report on the previous trip printed in HPS/DPS/SPS newsletters at that time. The Islands do get winter storms so the best weather combined with the least crowd appears to be May 1 thru early June and mid-Sept. to mid-Oct. The most economical car rentals ($15 per day plus gas, no mileage) are through local agencies.

County campgrounds now charge a fee (to help with law enforcement); state and national are still free. Both county and state campgrounds require obtaining camping permits in advance from the appropriate agency so some advance planning is desirable.

Summer-type camping and hiking equipment is adequate but include rain gear and warm clothes for higher altitude hikes. A tent is required in public parks and there are mosquitoes. Although economical eating places (MacDonalds, Col Sanders or ask car rental agent where local people eat) are found in main population centers, meals in the newer, outlying resorts are expensive so bringing cooking gear and having lunch food to eat while traveling is recommended, even if backpacking trips aren't planned. Grocery stores are plentiful and Primo beer can satisfy your thirst. Wild guava trees grow everywhere; coconuts are harder to find (bring saw to open them!).

To obtain the list of the various agencies (county, state, forest, etc.) on each island to contact for hiking and camping information, entitled "CAMPING IN HAWAII/INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE", call the Hawaii Visitors' Bureau in L.A. or write to "Division of State Parks, P.O. Box 621, Honolulu, HI 96809". The Auto Club of So. Calif. publishes a handy booklet on the Islands; more up-to-date road maps and information on current events and points of interest can be obtained at car rental agencies and at Tourist Bureaus located at each island's airport. There are also four recent guidebooks: "Hiking Guides to Kauai, Maui, Hawaii"(3 books) by Robert Smith and "Hawaiian Hiking Trails" by Craig Chisholin

Island of Hawaii

Mauna Kea is the highest peak (13,796'). Though rental agencies disapprove, a regular car can be driven to 9200'. Turn off Saddle Road west of Hilo and drive 9 miles to locked gate at Hale Pokaku. Walk (or hitchhike) up 6-mile jeep road to observatory; summit register is located across the crater. Snow likely during winter months. Obtain hiking permit from Div. of State Parks in Hilo. The climb of Mauna Loa (13,667') via the road in Volcanos Natl. Park is a 2-day hike, spending 1 night in a furnished cabin. A shorter approach is to drive (passenger car OK) from the Saddle Road to Mauna Loa Observatory at 11,000' and hike the 6-mile direct route to the summit. Road open only on weekends except with special permission. Chishoim's "Hawaiian Hiking Trails" gives a good description. To find the start of the trail, walk about 400 yards along the dirt road which continues past the turnoff to the Observatory (park car at turnoff). Interesting return from summit is to descend into crater and walk out via North Pit, then follow jeep road back to observatory. Topo maps (Mauna Loa, 71/2' and Kokoolau, 71/2') and compass recommended; also Park brochure on "Mauna Loa's Summit Trails". Snow could be a problem during winter months. Information on other hikes on the "Big Island" can be obtained from the Guides and from Park Headquarters.

A day of hiking and sightseeing in Volcanos National Park is quite worthwhile. Good roads go all the way around the island. The best swimming beach is at Rapuna State Park located south of the Nauna Kea hotel on Hwy. 19 (no camping but excellent free day use facilities and pavillions can be rented for overnight use)~ Camping is free without permit in National Park campgrounds, free with advance permit In two state parks, or for a fee and advance permit in various County parks. Or "casual" camping is possible along the Saddle Road after the outskirts of Hilo are left behind.

Island of Maui

A road goes to high point of Maui, Haleakala Crater (over 10,000') in Haleakala National Park. Interesting one-day hikes into crater via Halemauu and Sliding Sands trails, or backpack through Crater, staying at cabins (reserve well in advance) or campgrounds (permit required). To follow trail thru crater to Hana Road would require advance arrangements (perhaps with a tour bus company) as traffic Is light and hitchhiking illegal in Maui. Additional hiking described in Guides, including climb of Puu Kukul, high point of other "half" of Maui. Most ocean swimming is calm altho in 1969 good body surfing was found on Hwy. 30 north of Holokihau at small cove 50 feet below the highway. Best swimming is in fresh water pools along Hana Road as well as in the Oheo Gulch ("Seven Pools"), both below and above the road (latter area reached from Makahiku Falls overlook). Interesting hike to continue on to Waimoku Falls.

Camping (strictly regulated) is available in 3 state parks (advance permit) and 2 county parks (advance permit & fee). Again, a fallback is the two National Park campgrounds, one en route to Haleakala summit (which may be full) and one in the Seven Pools area (no drinking water), both free without permit.

Island of Kauai

The "Hiking Guide to Kauai" is worth purchasing. Both Kokee and Waimea State Parks offer numerous hiking trails including some backcountry camping (check latest regulations re permits). To climb Mt. Walaleale, high point of Kauai and wettest place in the world, requires skillful navigation with compass, map and marking tape to negotiate miles of swamp and access is discouraged at present. Most famous trail is the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pall coast. The reward for the 12 mile round trip day hike to Hanakoa Falls is a good swimming pool, fantastic scenery (in addition to the local "nude" beach at Hanakaplai, 2 miles in) and all the guavas you can eat. Or one can backpack for 2 or 3 days (permits required) and continue on another 5 miles to Kalalau Valley and beach. (Total distance one way to Kalalau without side trips is 11 miles.) Boots and bathing suits are the appropriate attire for this low altitude hike! Altho the best beach weather is on the "dry" side, at Polihale State Park, the swimming is often too rough and even though it is more likely to rain, the ocean between the Pavillion County Park and the pier on beautiful Hanalai Bay still provides some of the most enjoyable body surfing In the above 3 islands at least. Advance permits are required for all campgrounds on Kauai; fortunately camping permits for County Parks can be obtained from police stations outside of regular business hours. Fees are charged; state parks are free.

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The Island of Oahu was not visited in 1978 but was worth a couple of days of sightseeing in 1969; for hiking and camping information contact the appropriate agencies on Ohu. Areas recommended for body surfing (in 1969) were Koko Head Beach Park, Makapuu Beach Park and Waialee Beach. The drive down the east coast of Oahu is one of the most beautiful in all the Islands; Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center are probably worth visiting; and with luck you will see surfboarders in action at famous Makahu Beach. The island of Mobokai was not visited either time but has a state park where camping is permitted and both county and state park agencies have offices there.


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