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2016-10-20  
2016-10-20  
2016-06-12  
Waimea Cyn - Lonomea via Kukui and Koaie, HI
mini location map2016-10-20
15 by photographer avatarchumley
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Waimea Cyn - Lonomea via Kukui and Koaie, HI 
Waimea Cyn - Lonomea via Kukui and Koaie, HI
 
Hiking avatar Oct 20 2016
chumley
Hiking12.39 Miles 3,502 AEG
Hiking12.39 Miles   6 Hrs   5 Mns   2.39 mph
3,502 ft AEG      54 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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clairebear
John9L
The original plan was to make this an overnight, but we opted to keep the heavy packs in the car, camp in the state park that night, and push through this as a day hike instead.

I had it marked as an 11-mile round trip with about 2500 feet of gain -- almost entirely on the 2000 foot climb out of Waimea Canyon at the end.

In retrospect I'm not sure if I would have preferred the backpack option or not. The Kukui Trail from the rim to the river is steep. Very steep. Carrying a heavy pack in either direction would have been slow. But then again, the end of the trail at Camp Lonomea was a nice area with amazing waterfalls and swimming holes that would have been a great spot to spend a full afternoon or longer.

Some tourists hit the Iliau Nature Loop. A handful even make the monster 2000+ foot descent to the bottom of Waimea Canyon (known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) - I think we saw 6 others? But pretty much nobody goes beyond there.

You can hike the Waimea Canyon trail all the way down to the coast, but after reading about it, I didn't think it offered the kind of return on investment I was interested in for our week on the island, so we opted to head upstream to Lonomea on the Koaie Canyon Trail.

This trail was cut nicely into the canyon slope, usually a hundred feet or more above the roaring stream below. It was shaded and the constant sound of water was relief to the somewhat warm conditions on the canyon floor. Upon reaching Lonomea, I was happy to spend a few minutes cooling off in the clear pools of Kukui Stream before beginning the return trip.

I had a close encounter with a horned goat, but these trails are primarily used by hunters, so he was not at all interested in sticking around for a photo!

We got attacked by mosquitos at Camp Wiliwili along the Waimea River, which was running at just above a trickle. It's the only time we encountered mosquitoes on the entire trip. It's probably less of a problem when the river is running faster.

The miles and elevation racked up quickly and the last 2+ mile climb out was something none of us were looking forward to in the afternoon heat. Luckily, we found that nearly the entire climb was shaded, and went by quite quickly. I was happy to have an ice cold beer waiting in the cooler at the top! :)

We headed up the road a few miles to our camp at Koke'e State Park, and caught some glimpses of the beautiful Waipo'o Falls along the way. We settled in to camp for a night of rain and the anticipation of another great hike the next day!
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