Between the lava fields of Kohala Coast and the lush surroundings of North Kohala is Lapakahi State Historical Park. The cultural site is 12 miles north of Kawaihae near mile marker 14 on Hwy 270. The turn off is easy to miss so keep track of the mileage markers. Down the hill about a half mile, there is a small parking area near a building (more like a shack).
Lapakahi is over 260 acres of ruins spread across the hills above down to the coast below. What is left behind here in this partially restored settlement that dates back over 600 years gives us insight into the daily lives of an ancient fishing village and farming community. This rugged coastal park will give you a glimpse of what it was like to live like the Native Hawaiians of the past.
Be sure to pick up a trail guide at the small shack near the parking lot. The guide makes the short hike much interesting, so consider printing one out before you arrive (link below) just in case you can’t get one at the Park. From the parking area, the trail travels clockwise around the ancient village. The 19 numbered stops are explained in the guide. The one mile trail through the village takes you through ancient structures and artifacts including several house sites, canoe storage houses, salt-making pans, kukui nut lampstands, and even a few Konane (checker like game).
Swimming is not advised along this rugged coast, but Koai’e Cove below the village is a beautiful stretch of coastline with very clear water.
Lapakahi is open daily from 8am – 4pm except for state holidays. There are portable restrooms, but no water available. There is no shade and it can be quite hot so it is recommended you bring water and take this self-guided hike early in the day.
For more information or to print the guide, visit Hawaii State Parks – Lapakahi