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Hakalau Beach Park[

big island/hilo
Beaches/Public Recreational

29-2306 Old Mamalahoa Hwy
Hakalau, 96710

Picnicking, Swimming

Hours of Operation:

Picnicking, Swimming

Hakalau Beach Park

The Big Island's Northern Beauty

Hakalau Beach Park, nestled at the mouth of Hakalau Stream to the north of Hilo, features a rocky shoreline along its coast. Previously a hub of local activity with evening barbecues and weekend gatherings, a permanent road closure to cars has led to reduced local use. Nonetheless, the park remains open, accessible via a walk along the road or a steep trail from the elevated parking area.

The shoreline predominantly comprises rocky terrain, often scattered with driftwood. Occasionally, a sandbar forms at the stream's entrance, though accessing it from the main part of the park may prove challenging. Waves breaking at the confluence of the stream and the ocean create conditions suitable for experienced boogie boarders, while the calm waters within the river mouth offer a safe play area for keiki (kids). Swimmers venturing outside the river mouth should exercise caution, especially in the strong currents, and consider using fins.

The park boasts an iconic piece of history in the form of the Hakalau Bridge, originally constructed in 1911. It's a converted railroad trestle spanning 722 feet at a height of about 260 feet above the stream. Nearby, remnants of an old sugar mill, including foundations and concrete walls, remain along the stream. Graffiti artists have adorned several walls with their artwork. Originally built in 1890, the Hakalau Sugar Mill ceased operations in 1974, and the main structure was demolished in 1979. In 2009, the county converted the 3.2-acre property in the gulch into a park.

Accessing Hakalau Beach Park is most convenient via a 2/3-mile walk along the old park road. Keep in mind that the route can become wet near the final bridge if the stream crosses it, so packing water shoes or being prepared to go barefoot can be helpful. Alternatively, an option for beach access is a steep trail that commences near the road's blocked gate. This trail includes steps in some areas but remains steep and slippery, making it more suitable for experienced hikers.

To discover this hidden gem, drive north from Hilo on the Hawaii Belt Road (Hwy 19) and turn right following signs to Hakalau shortly after mile marker 15. This road is part of the Old Mamalahoa Highway and terminates at the gate and parking area for Hakalau Beach Park (with limited park signage). Along the way, you'll pass the Hakalau Plantation Company buildings, marking your path to this secluded spot.

Hakalau Beach ParkThe Big Island's Northern BeautyHakalau Beach Park, nestled at the mouth of Hakala ....

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