Kalopa State Recreation Area Horse Trail
(The Horse Trail is 2.6 miles ONE WAY, so you have to come back the same way you went.)
Where: This Park is just past the village of Honoka’a on the Hawai’i Belt Road, Hwy. 19 (Mamalahoa Hwy.). Travel either 15 miles east of Waimea or about 40 miles north of Hilo, and find the well-marked turn for Kalōpā State Park on the mauka (uphill) side of the road between the 39 and 40 mile markers. Keep following signs for the Park as you drive uphill on paved roads. Upon entering the Kalopa Recreation Area, park immediately to the left in the small dirt lot where you will see the “Hunter Access” sign. You will see a narrow trail off to the left of the sign.
*Important Note: **The Horse Trail is the only Kalopa trail that allows dogs.** It is frequently used by hunters for pig hunting with their dogs although it is common to see everyday hikers with their non-hiking dogs. On the evening of Labor Day 2015, we saw only one person with their friendly dog (not hunting). We came across no other humans or animals.
Website: http://www.bigislandhikes.com/kalopa-state-park/ (It is very difficult to find detailed information on this park and trail system. This is the only one I could find that details each of the trails.)
Frequently spotted: native and non-native trees, including guava, Kahili ginger, Christmas berry, ferns, ferns, and more ferns, mosquitoes, MUD.
Conditions: Mostly flat, gradual sloping, muddy, shaded, slippery at times. Avoid after heavy rainfall. It’s at a little bit higher elevation, so it tends to be cool with occasional rain showers. Advise bringing rain jacket, mosquito repellent, and anything you don’t mind getting muddy.