Embrace The Detours: Kolekole State Park, Hawaii

Kolekole Park State Park

Kolekole Park State Park

We discovered it by accident. We were on a road trip going from Waikoloa to Hilo on Highway 19 and had loaded the car down with freshly made organic salads, fruit, fruit juices, water, and some candy munchies from the pit stop made earlier at a naturals foods market in Waimea. Highway 19, along the  Hāmākua Coast, is littered with these bridges that once were railroad lines that. By 1949, they had been resurfaced to be used by cars. These bridges extend across lush valleys, and stunning waterfalls. Well…our “embrace the detours” moment happened as we crossed one of those bridges just past mile marker 15.

Old railroad bridge that is now a state highway 19.

Old railroad bridge that is now a state highway 19.

Roland said, “What was that?”

I was like, “What?”

He said, “That sign said something about a park”

I said, “Should I turn around?”

He’s like, “I don’t know.”

Then I’m like, “Yes or no!?”

He said, “Yes.”  So, I made an illegal Uturn, and we went back to what turned out to be the sweetest little spot ever.

Kolekole Tall Trees

The wonderfully tall trees shaded the road to this hidden gem.

We descended down a narrow road with a rock wall lined with lush vegetation on the left, a drop off to the valley floor on the right, and overhead it was thick with leaves from the surrounding trees, creating a tree tunnel. I love a tree tunnel!! When we reached the base of this road, there was the option to cross a bridge that goes over a stream, or make a right and head into the park.

Kolekole Stream

Kolekole Stream

After stopping to take some photos, we veered to the right and drove along the stream into the parking lot situated in front of a large grassy area that was lined with a few picnic tables.  Next to us flowed the stream, feed by the Akaka Falls about 4 miles away, that lead to a rocky beach where it met the ocean.  As we ate our lunch, the view directly in front of us was of a small waterfall.

Waterfall in Kolekole Park

Waterfall in Kolekole Park

Kolekole State Park

This is the spot where we enjoyed lunch.

River meets Pacific Ocean at Kolekole Park

River meets Pacific Ocean at Kolekole Park

Flowers in Kolekole Park

Flowers in Kolekole Park

Flowers in Kolekole Park

Flowers in Kolekole Park

So…there we were sitting at a nice clean picnic table, eating our fresh salads, next to a stream, with a waterfall in the background. It really was picture perfect.  All because we had decided to take a detour.

Have you had your own “Embrace The Detours” moment?

 

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About Terri Lundberg

Terri Lundberg is an American expat currently residing with her husband in Saudi Arabia, but she calls Seattle and San Diego home. She’s a travel writer, an avid photographer and is a resource and cross cultural trainer to expats relocating to Saudi Arabia. She's been to 100 destinations, 26 countries, and counting.

Comments

  1. I love the perspective!
    I always wondered how visitors viewed kolekole park.
    Kolekole is a killer little surf spot. kolekole means talk story in Hawaiian.
    I hope you were able to stop at Hakalau beach. Hakalau was one of the major plantation mills along the Hamakua coast. It was all over grown and run down for as long as I can remember until about 5 years ago. The Aloha crew at Pakalove
    http://pakalove.org/ cleaned it out, landscaped, and made it very very nice.
    if you’re still on the island check it out!
    Also theres a hidden trail to see a hidden waterfall called Hawai’i Falls. 🙂
    Aloha and Mahalo for visiting us on Hawai’i

  2. I need to go back the the Islands. Very pleasant

Trackbacks

  1. […] stops along the way, and it’s an effortless way to see the island. Stop for a picnic at Kolekole State Park.  And, if you’re lucky, you may see a zebra that is a pet in someone’s backyard […]