Black Pipe Trail to Canyon Trail in Koke'e State Park
The end of the Canyon Trail in Koke'e State Park is the red earth plateau seen to the left, above the twin waterfalls. The views from the trail are some of the best you will get of the Waimea Canyon. The Koke'e State Park has many trails to explore that reach portions of the spectacular Waimea Canyon, all are free and public accessible. The most rewarding is a combination of two trails accessed by a 4-wheel drive road that you can hike out to a central vista in the midst of the Canyon. The popularity of the trail is a plus, as it is easier to find and follow then any other in the area.
At a Glance:
Highlights: The best trail to get you safely below the canyon rim. At trails end you reach the beauty of the Waipo'o Falls. The upper most falls has a small pool for swimming.
Location: Koke'e State Park above Waimea town.
Activity Level: Moderate to strenuous depending on your trail choice.
Equipment: Sturdy shoes, rain gear, water and food.
Warnings!: Follow all posted warnings within park grounds. The trail is very slippery for the first mile due to muddy conditions. The end of the Canyon Trail runs along a ridge. The ridge is wide, but extremely mindful of slippery footing if you choose to go check out the edges.
Reservations: None needed.
Where to Start:
As you drive up into the Koke'e State Park, visit the 2 scenic lookouts and take observe the canyon weather before you start. Just past the second lookout, called "Pu'uhinahina", you will be looking for the 14 mile marker. Just prior to mile marker 14 there is a dirt 4-wheel drive only, "jeep road" on the right that goes downhill. Find parking on roadside opposite the "jeep road". Walk the dirt road downhill looking for signs for the first portion of the "Blackpipe Trail" which will be on your right. Walk through the forested trail looking for the link with the Canyon Trail. The trail winds through forest then eventually runs along an open exposed red earth ridge. The canyon views are incredible from here and there is suddenly no shade for about mile. Carefully follow the ridge trail until it winds inland to the forest wrapped Waipoo Falls, where a swim or shade picnic can make for the perfect pause before making the hike out.
Give yourself 2 to 3 hours to do this hike and plan accordingly. It may honestly be one of the best hikes of your life, as long as you are prepared. The elevation plus weather conditions on this trail can make for colder weather. Bring layers, and be prepared for rain, though at this elevation fog and cloud mists are more likely.
IF clouds or rain are heavy this trail is not very enjoyable and should be avoided. Drop to a lower elevation and explore some of the Waimea Canyon lookouts instead.
The Lodge in Koke'e is the only amenities, food and snacks in the area. They are open 9 am to 4 pm 7 days a week. The charming resteraunt inside is a great place to warm up and dine while up in the park.
Contact the Koke'e Museum and Park Headquarters:
Koke'e Park Trail Map Link:
State Park Website for Koke'e: