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Planning a visit to Kauai? We regularly add news and information about events, activities, and places to see on The Garden Isle.

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Sheila Heathcote has lived in Hawaii since 1986. She's a published author on the topic of Kauai and the owner of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast.

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Koke'e State Park - The Gem of Kauai's Upland Rainforest

Just above Waimea Canyon is one the world's most beautiful spots -- Koke'e State Park. With an abundance of hiking trails, scenic lookouts, recreational opportunities (camping, hunting, fishing and picnicking), lodging, food and information, Koke'e is a "must-see" for anyone visiting the island of Kauai.

For visitors, the road leads to spectaular lookouts over breath-taking Kalalau Valley (as seen in the photo to the right). The Pihea Trail traverses the rim of Kalalau into the Alakai Swamp where endemic birds and flowers abound.

The Kaluapuhi Trail is an easy trek near the first lookout that leads back toward the trailhead for Awa'awa'puhi Trail -- the longest day hike in Kokee. Awa'awa'puhi descends the forested palis to provide spectacular views of the rugged Na Pali coastline below.

Wildlife, like goats, deer and boar, live in these woods and are often hunted by locals in order to feed their families.     

Local hunters, however, are closely regulated by the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources and do not hunt on or near hiking trails.

Information about Koke'e's natural history can be obtained from the Koke'e Museum, located in the Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow. Beautiful local crafts and interesting books about Kauai are also available here.

Notice all the chickens waiting for a handout? Bird lovers from lower areas of Kauai have been known to bring their unwanted chickens and roosters to Koke'e where they get special treatment by the tourists! Hungry chickens and visitors can also find sustenance at the Koke'e Lodge, where a favorite menu item is the Portuguese Bean Soup. The Lodge stocks a lots of souvenirs and T-shirts, and administers the state rental cabins .  

For information go to http://www.kokee.org or call (808) 335-9975 for weather conditions on the mountain and a schedule of upcoming events.

For information about renting a cabin please see http://thelodgeatkokee.net or call (808) 335-6062

To camp, hunt or fish, go to http://www.hawaiistateparks.org/