MacKenzie State Recreation Area

big island/puna
Adventure/Public Recreational

Pāhoa, 96778

Fishing, Hiking

Hours of Operation:

Fishing, Hiking

MacKenzie State Recreation Area

The Big Island's Eastern Grove

Nestled within a captivating ironwood grove, MacKenzie State Recreation Area unveils the untamed beauty of Hawaii's volcanic coastline. Here, you can immerse yourself in the rugged allure of the island's eastern shore. Spend a day at MacKenzie State Recreation Area engaging in activities like fishing, picnicking, or hiking along the Old Hawaiian coastal trail.

This modest park operates solely during daylight hours, providing essential amenities such as picnic facilities and restrooms, although it lacks drinking water. While fishing is permitted, swimming is discouraged due to the rocky shoreline, cliffs, and powerful currents. The hiking trail traces the ancient Hawaiian coastal path, known as "the King's Highway," leading you past the entrances of lava tubes. Notably, the park harbors Hawaii's largest grove of ironwood trees, which were thoughtfully planted in the 1930s by ranger Albert J. MacKenzie, whose name now graces the park in perpetuity, commemorating his service and legacy. MacKenzie State Recreation Area is an integral part of the Malama Ki Forest Reserve, safeguarding the region's natural wonders.

Visitors flock to MacKenzie State Park for its awe-inspiring vistas and fishing opportunities rather than swimming. This stretch of Puna's coastline boasts dramatic lava formations and gracefully leaning palm trees. Given the often tempestuous ocean conditions and low cliffs, it's advisable to maintain a safe distance from the edge. The park includes a picnic area perfect for a pleasant lunch, but access to potable water is not available. Exercise caution in this area, as it has a mixed reputation.

Camping is permitted with the requisite permit, though it may not be the most practical choice due to its conditions. At the parking lot, you'll find a sign indicating a segment of the King's Highway, commissioned by King Kamehameha and later restored by convicts in 1850. Located just north of the parking area are ancient lava tubes worth exploring, provided you wear sturdy shoes and bring a flashlight.

To reach MacKenzie State Recreation Area, take Highway 130 south from Pahoa. At the intersection where Highway 130 ends and transitions into Highway 137, make a right turn. Follow Pohoiki Road, formerly Highway 137, for approximately two miles, then turn left as Highway 137 diverges. Continue along this road, and you'll find the park on the left side after mile marker 137.

MacKenzie State Recreation AreaThe Big Island's Eastern GroveNestled within a captivating ironwood g ....

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