Iliau Nature Loop Trail in Koke'e State Park
When visiting the Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Parks there are a number of popular hikes to choose from, however this often overlooked trail is one of the most spectacular viewpoints of the canyon with very little commotion and crowds. It makes a great opportunity to get out of the vehicle and stretch your legs before exploring further portions of the park.
At a Glance:
Spectacular views and lots of native plants surround this easy to follow nature walk along 03 tenths of a mile loop of trail
Waimea Canyon State Park above Waimea town.
0.3 mile loop/ 40 foot change of elevation
Sturdy shoes, rain gear, water and food.
Follow all posted warnings within park grounds. The trail is very slippery for the first mile due to muddy conditions. The adjacent Kukui Trail decends steeply and you should be extremely mindful of slippery footing if you choose to go try part of this trail to reach more canyon views.
Where to Start:
As you drive up into the Waimea Canyon State Park the trailhead is approximately a mile into the park on the right. This trail shares signage with the "Kukui Trail" which is a much steeper and dynamic hike that drops down to the 2,000 feet to the canyon floor. There are usually only a few cars parked along the roadway as the indicator of the trailhead. Once parked, the trail is just over a small embankment on the canyon (right) side of the road and is easy to follow. Many layers of native plants are visible all along the trail, the most prominent being the Iliau which gives the trail its name. Many interpretive signs are dispersed along the trail labeling the natives and telling you a bit about them.
Give yourself 30 minutes to do this hike and plan accordingly. It is honestly one of the easier hikes in the region, as long as you are prepared. The elevation plus weather conditions on this trail can make for colder weather then the coast. Bring layers, and be prepared for rain, though at this elevation fog and cloud mists are more likely.
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 restaurant 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 link for Iliau Trail:
From Waimea: turn onto Waimea Canyon Road HI-Route 550 inland off of Kuhio Highway / HI-Route 50 proceed 6.7 miles up the road, until you merge with Kokee Road. Proceed approximately 1.3 miles up the road looking for the Kukui Trail/ Iliau Nature Loop Trailhead signs on the right next to roadside parking.