Frequently Asked Questions

Hui o Laka FAQs





Kokee & Waimea Canyon FAQs

Q: Is there an admission to the park?

A: As of 2019, there is now an admission to the park that can be paid for at any of the four major lookouts using a credit card. These payment kiosks are at Waimea Canyon, Pu?u Hinahina, Kalalau, and Pu?u o Kila Lookouts (the ones with paved parking lots). There are attendants to help you and answer questions at the first two lookouts. Residents with either a valid Hawaii drivers license or State I.D. do not have to pay.

Q: Do you need reservations or permits to hike on trails at Koke?e?

A: Currently (2023) you do not need any reservations or permits to hike at Koke?e and Waimea Canyon State Parks. You do need permits to camp and only in designated campsites. Please visit the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) section of the Hawaii.gov website to learn more about what is available throughout Hawai?i for both visitors and residents. Alerts and park closures, park rules, and other pertinent information are found here as well.

Q: What will the weather be like?

A: There is a link on our landing page to a weather forecast page for Koke?e State Park. https://kokee.org/index.php?the-natural-history-museum-visiting

Q: Are views into Kalalau Valley better in the morning?

A: Generally speaking, in normal trade wind weather patterns, early to mid-mornings and very late afternoons tend to have the least cloud cover. Remember the elevation is high enough that low clouds will fill in the valley obscuring the view. While the valley sometimes can be completely clouded in, spectacular views pop through parting clouds. So, unless it is raining, you may have a chance to see the view. With mountain weather, there are no guarantees. The top of the mountain is a veritable "weather machine" so it changes all the time. Our advice is to drive up no matter what because you just may get the best view in the entire Hawaiian archipelago!

Q: Can we continue driving on the highway to get back to the north shore.

A: From Park Headquarters where the Koke?e Museum is located, the highway ends at Pu?u o Kila, about 4 miles further. At that point, you have to turn around and drive back down the mountain. The highway system is basically a horseshoe with Kokee on one extreme and Ha?ena on the other.

Q: Where are restrooms?

A: Public restrooms in Koke`e State Park are at Waimea Canyon Lookout, the Pu`ukapele Picnic Site Pavilion, at Koke`e Pavilion at Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow, the Koke`e Camp Grounds, and at the Kalalau Lookout. They are on septic systems and are sometimes individually closed for maintenance. Good rule of thumb is to use one when you see one!

Q: Where can I camp?

A: There are two campgrounds in Koke`e: at the head of Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow and near Kawaikoi Stream. One is accessible by two wheel drive car and the other is either a very long hike or using a good 4wd vehicle. Make reservations to camp through camping.ehawaii.gov

Q: Is it okay to pick native and other plants?

A: Not without a permit and proper protocol! Assume that anything you want to pick or take out of the park requires a permit. They do check! Call ahead for information - State Parks at (808) 274-3444. Do not pick flowers and fruits from cabins around the park. They are not public property.

Q: Where is a good place to see native forest birds?

A: Kalalau and Pu`u o Kila Lookouts, Pihea and Alaka`i Swamp Trails, and Kaluapuhi Trail. Currently native forest birds are threatened by bird malaria carried by mosquitos. There populations have retreated to higher elevations, but they are losing the battle. Global warming now allows mosquitos to reproduce in all elevations on Kaua?i and the birds have nowhere else to go. Some of the native birds are more affected than others.

Q: Why are there dead trees in the forest?

A: Koa trees along the highway are dying off from Fusarium oxysporum, a fungus that infects trees. Currently ?ohia is also threatened by fungus as well. Both diseases are spread by contaminated soil. We ask that hikers use proper cleaning protocols to make sure you dont spread these diseases. Scrape or scrub dirt and debris from hiking shoes, brush the dirt and seeds off, and then spray rubbing alcohol on your shoes and hiking sticks before hiking on a new trail. For the same reason, please stay on established trails.

Q: How cold does it get? What should I wear?

A: The park environment ranges from 2,000 to 4,000 feet elevation above sea level so it can get nippy. The coldest time of the year is January and February when temperatures can dip into the high 30s Fahrenheit. It is generally at least 15 degrees cooler than at sea level. A jacket and long pants, as well as covered shoes are good to bring if you plan on hiking or even getting out of your car to enjoy the views. It is better to carry more than what you might need.

Q: Is there drinking water?

A: Pack your own drinking water. Do not drink out of any stream or faucet. Drinks are available to purchase at The Lodge at Koke`e (mile marker 15) but it has limited hours of operation. Do not go on any hike without adequate drinking water. Many rescues occur because of heat stroke.

Q: Can I drive my rented 4wd vehicle on the dirt roads?

A: There is very little road maintenance in the park. Some roads will start off looking well maintained and then develop deep ruts. This is a wilderness park with only a handful of employees. Falling trees and landslides occur frequently. Some roads have beds of clay that almost never dry out. Unless you are positive you know what you will be facing, it is generally a good idea not to go too far from the paved road. Local people that go often into these areas have outfitted their vehicles with winches and specialized tires. They carry equipment to cut through fallen trees and mud chains. Rental vehicles do not. It could take a full day or more to have a tow truck available to retrieve your vehicle. For the same reason, make sure you have adequate fuel, and your vehicle is in good condition with a spare tire prior to traveling to Koke?e.

Q: Can I use my cell phone?

A: There is no cell phone signal or wireless capability at Koke`e. Use your cell phone to take photographs to post later. Two of the major Waimea Canyon vistas do have limited cell phone coverage, Pu?u Hinahina and Waimea Canyon Lookouts. For better reception, you regain service on Waimea Canyon Drive around mile marker 6. If you have a conference call or zoom meeting scheduled, do not expect to participate while hiking at Koke?e.

Q: Where is the best place to get trail information?

A: Koke`e Museum has an outdoor map with trail information on the porch. Staff, inside, can assist with any other questions during museum hours. Pre-visit information, such as hunting, fishing, and camping information and permits can be obtained from the State of Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources State Parks website dlnr.hawaii.gov. Guidebooks can be less reliable as they are often not up-to-date. Beware of any apps using google maps as there are some errors that could get you lost (2022).

  • Koa wilt has been observed on the Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. While koa wilt symptoms and Fusarium oxysporum have been found in koa trees along Mauna Loa Strip Road at elevations up to 7,000 feet (Anderson and others 2002), most diseased trees are found below 3,000 feet elevation.

    CCC Camp Reservations FAQs

    Q: What kinds of accommodations are there?

    A: The historic camp was built in 1935 and is available as a quiet retreat. The CCC Camp has two cabins and two bunkhouses. All stay overs require 2 nights minimum, a deposit to hold a reservation, and all campers need to bring their own bedding and other linens. Koke?e is not an ideal site for a first-time visitor to Kaua?i as it isnt a central location to see the whole island. For more information, please check on the tab on this website.

    Note: There are several large camps at Koke?e run by nonprofits such as Hui o Laka and all have their own rules and public they served depending on their mission. There are also state cabins located near Park Headquarters that are rented to the general public. Unfortunately, there are not enough cabins, camps, and tent campsites available for all those that wish to stay overnight. Wilderness camping is not allowed, nor are campfires allowed outside of the established campgrounds. Camping in vehicles or campers are not allowed on public property or on roadsides.

    Q: Can anyone make a reservation to use the camp?

    A: Hui o Laka accept reservations from residents and non-residents as long as they feel the camp and our rules fit their expectations. The cabins are suitable for singles and small families. The barracks can serve small groups of people. There is no tent camping allowed and parking is very limited making larger groups of people a challenge.

    Q: Do I need a permit or reservation for other camp sites?

    A: Please dont expect to find vacancies at the last minute. We would love to help you, but you need to plan ahead and contact appropriate offices or camps during their business hours. Basically, permits are needed for any group gathering of 26 or more in the park. The pavilions also require permits if you wish to reserve them.

    Q: Are there off-season periods where rates may be less?

    A: No. Koke?e State Park is a popular retreat with few facilities available for overnight stays. Weekends and school holidays are always a premium and rarely available unless reserved far in advance.

  • Koa wilt has been observed on the Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. While koa wilt symptoms and Fusarium oxysporum have been found in koa trees along Mauna Loa Strip Road at elevations up to 7,000 feet (Anderson and others 2002), most diseased trees are found below 3,000 feet elevation.

    Membership FAQs

    Q: Are my membership donations tax deductible?

    A: Yes, Hui o Laka is a private 501(c)(3) organization. It operates the Koke`e Natural History Museum and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp both in Koke`e State Park. The Museum opened in 1953 and will be 70 years old in 2023.

    Q: What do I receive as a member of Hui o Laka?

    A: Besides supporting the museum and organization, discounts are available to members on purchases in the museum gift shop and for CCC Camp stays. Special rates are available for any offered classes. Newsletters and other communications are also part of membership.

    Q: When is the Annual Membership Meeting for Hui o Laka?

    A: It is held in the fall at the CCC Camp, and announced in our membership newsletter. All current and new members are invited to attend.

  • Koa wilt has been observed on the Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. While koa wilt symptoms and Fusarium oxysporum have been found in koa trees along Mauna Loa Strip Road at elevations up to 7,000 feet (Anderson and others 2002), most diseased trees are found below 3,000 feet elevation.

    Volunteers FAQs

    Q: What are the volunteer opportunities at Koke`e?

    A: Hui o Laka has extensive property to maintain and volunteers are welcome to assist us in those endeavors. These include the Nature Trail behind the museum and the CCC Camps historic buildings and landscape. We also can facilitate locating other organizations that do important work on the island to protect and preserve remaining native flora and fauna.

  • Koa wilt has been observed on the Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. While koa wilt symptoms and Fusarium oxysporum have been found in koa trees along Mauna Loa Strip Road at elevations up to 7,000 feet (Anderson and others 2002), most diseased trees are found below 3,000 feet elevation.

    Donations FAQs

    Q: What will my donations be used for?

    A: Unless specified, donations are considered to be unencumbered meaning it can be used to fill in the gaps where grants do not. Sometimes cash and in-kind services are needed as matching funds for successfully applied for funds. Donations are very important for non profits such as Hui o Laka.

    Q: Is there an endowment fund?

    A: Yes, Hui o Laka has an endowment fund. Is needs to be grown significantly further. Endowments are money that is invested with the interest going to support the organization. The principal, unless in dire times, is to remain safely invested.

    Q: Are my donations tax deductible?

    A: Yes, Hui o Laka is a private 501(c)(3) organization. It has been in existence since 1954 and operates the Koke`e Natural History Museum and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp both in Koke`e State Park.

    Q: I don't have any money but I can provide services. Are they needed?

    A: Because Hui o Laka operates facilities, there are many opportunities to donate services or even gently used items. Furnishings of all kinds need to be replaced or improved on at the CCC Camp on a continuous basis. Painting, plumbing, electrical, carpentry and landscaping services - large or small - are always needed. Please talk to our director about any feasible ideas including accommodations during work parties. Some things need a long lead time as the owner of the facilities, State Parks, may have requirements to follow.


  • Koa wilt has been observed on the Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. While koa wilt symptoms and Fusarium oxysporum have been found in koa trees along Mauna Loa Strip Road at elevations up to 7,000 feet (Anderson and others 2002), most diseased trees are found below 3,000 feet elevation.

    Koke`e Museum FAQs

    Q: What are the museum's hours?

    A: Kokee Museum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In fact the only days it is closed is when the park is closed which is usually due to extreme weather conditions or lack of water and ongoing electrical outages. Current hours are still limited due to a lack of employees. Weekdays, the museum is open from 11am-3pm. Weekends the hours are from 10:30am to 4pm. We are open major holidays but the hours may be limited.

    Q: What kind of exhibits are there to see?

    A: The museum has a collection of natural history exhibits including endemic and introduced animals that live in Koke`e. There are also exhibits about human activities in the area that is a unique history all its own.

    Q: Are there any exhibits outside?

    A: There is a short, 975 foot long Nature Trail that shows a segment of what a native forest looks like.
    It is a good introduction to Koke`e prior to taking longer hikes or if you are short on time or ability, a great introductory experience.


    Q: Is there an admission?

    A: There is no charge to visit the museum. If you are happy with your visit, feel free to leave a donation in the box at the front door. Koke`e Natural History Museum is run by Hui o Laka, a nonprofit organization. It is supported through donations, membership dues, and gift shop sales. It is not directly funded by the State of Hawai?i and is an independent entity operating in the State Park.

  • Koa wilt has been observed on the Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. While koa wilt symptoms and Fusarium oxysporum have been found in koa trees along Mauna Loa Strip Road at elevations up to 7,000 feet (Anderson and others 2002), most diseased trees are found below 3,000 feet elevation.




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