Frequently Asked Questions

Hui o Laka FAQs

Kokee & Waimea Canyon FAQs

Q: How long does it take to drive to Waimea Canyon and Koke`e State Parks?

A: From Lihu`e (1.5 hours), Poipu (1.25 hours), and the North Shore (about 2 hours). Times are without excessive traffic.

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 hike to the waterfalls?

A: The most spectacular waterfall in the park is Waipo`o Falls and it is visible clearly from numerous lookouts along Koke`e road, especially Pu`uhinahina Lookout and the lookout across from the Pu`ukapele Campsite between mile markers 12 and 13. There is a hike to the head of the waterfall along the canyon's edge.

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 a good 4wd vehicle is needed. Make reservations to camp through Hawai`i State Parks Division, Kaua`i office at (808) 274-3444.

Q: Is it okay to pick maile and other native 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 State Parks at (808) 274-3444.

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. Click here for more about our special birds.

Q: Why are there dead trees in the forest?

A: Many of the old snags and dead trees are remnants of Hurricane Iniki. Some koa trees along the lower portion of the parks have been killed in the last 10 years by fusarium, a little understood phenomena. There is no harvesting of dead trees or logging allowed in general. Many native flora and fauna grow on dead trees.

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.

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.

Q: Can I use my cell phone?

A: There is no cell phone signal or wireless capability at Koke`e. Pay phones are available next to The Lodge at Koke`e and The Pu`ukapele Picnic Area. Use your cell phone to take photographs to post later.

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, hunting and camping information and permits can be obtained from the State of Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources State Parks website. Guide books can be less reliable as they are often not up-to-date.

CCC Camp Reservations FAQs

Q: What kinds of accommodations are there?

A: Anything from bunkroom beds to cottages are available to rent. Bunkhouse use also includes sharing privileges in the mess hall. Cottages come with their own kitchens. All stay overs require 2 nights minimum, a deposit and all campers need to bring their own bedding and other linens.

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

A: You must be a member of Hui o Laka to use the CCC Camp. An individual member can share an accommodation with one nonmember guest. A family membership covers up to 6 people. A patron or business member can rent up to 52 beds.

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

A: We would love to help you but you need to plan ahead and contact appropriate offices or camps during their business hours.

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

A: There are a few months during the winter and spring when the weather can be less than desirable. If you have planned ahead and brought the right clothing, rented one of our heaters and want a quiet retreat, then talk to us. We schedule our maintenance during these months but will gladly accommodate visitors.

Membership FAQs

Q: Are my membership donations tax deductible?

A: Yes, Hui o Laka is a private 501(c)(3) organization. It has been in existence since 1952 and operates the Koke`e Museum and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp both in Koke`e State Park.

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

A: Discounts are given to museum members for purchases in the gift shop, classes and the ability to stay at the historic CCC Camp. Newsletters and other communications are also part of membership.

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

A: It is held on the Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend at the CCC Camp. All current and new members are invited to attend.

Volunteers FAQs

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

A: There are scientific and research projects that use interns and volunteers In the Kokee area from time to time. Hui o Laka has a nice variety of opportunities for those interested in making a difference.

Q: What can I do for Hui o Laka?

A: There are events and workshops that need help - everything from serving food to setting up tents. There are planned Kokua Koke`e work days for National events including Earth Day and Make a Difference Day. Any group or individual can volunteer to assist in trail maintenance with Kokua Koke`e. The Museum and CCC Camp both need ongoing maintenance and landscape assistance. Hui o Laka has need of office assistance during festivals and membership meetings. Just ask by calling Hui o Laka at 808-335-9975.

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 1952 and operates the Koke`e 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 may have requirements to follow

Koke`e Museum FAQs

Q: What are the museum's hours?

A: 9am - 4pm daily. 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.

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. In 2015-16, new exhibits will be added to share the cultural history of the museum.

Q: Are there any exhibits outside?

A: There is a short, 800 foot long Nature Trail behind the museum that is maintained by the museum to show a segment of what a native forest looks like. A plant guide can be borrowed from the museum. It is a good introduction to Koke`e prior to taking longer hikes.

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 Museum is run by Hui o Laka, a nonprofit organization.

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