Exploring Mackenzie State Park and stunning coastlines, lava tubes, hikes and supernatural presence (updated 2023)

Mackenzie State Park along the Red Road or the Kalapana – Pohoiki road is truly magical and worth the stop on your visit around the area. The park survived most of the lava eruptions and intrusions to the lower Puna area you can view the lava fields in the far northern part of the park grounds that you can do a hike into. Before the road to Pohoiki was rebuilt, hiking through the coastal trails was started initially in the MacKenzi park area.

Exploring Mackenzie State Park and stunning coastlines, lava tubes, hikes and supernatural presence

History of MacKenzie State Park

The park was named for park ranger Albert Mackenzie who died at the young age of 21 and planted many of the ironwood trees in the park to deter erosion and the cliffs eventual decline into the ocean. The park has a dark Hawaiian history of ancient Hawaiian warriors or night marchers that would walk the Kings Trail at night time.  People have also witnessed chantings, battle cries, drumming and other occurrences on windy or stormy nights. MacKenzie park has spiritual significance with ancient and lost human souls or ‘Uhane’ wandering through the area. The large stands of ironwood trees also have a creepy effect with supernatural feeling to them.

If you visit the areas around the park, see if can actually feel any supernatural elements or vibe in walking around the area that many visitors have here.

History of MacKenzie State Park

Attractions in the park

Explore the raw power of the ocean against the gorgeous cliff areas of MacKenzie park

Discover some of the ancient lava tubes in the area which there are many, but be advised not to actually crawl into the lava tubes

Hike the old Kings Trail area to discover the lushness and forest surrounding with huge stands of ironweed trees and ocean views

Have a nice picnic in the covered pavilion

Fishing off the cliffs on MacKenzie is a popular pastime in the area.

Overnight camping is allowed by you must obtain a permit from the  Hawaii State Park Division.

Directions to MacKenzie State Park

From Pahoa, (approximately 22 miles one way) drive down Hwy 130 to the Junction at Hwy 137 and drive down the Kalapana – Kapoho road until you hit the entrance to the park and make a right and into the parking lot area.

Attractions in the park

More details to visiting the park

The park is open daily from 7am to 6:45 pm

Entrance to park is free

There are picnic areas and bathroom facilities on the parking areas

No swimming is allowed in the treacherous waters off the cliffs

The Cliffs are unstable with waves crashing on them constantly so be at a safe distance from the edge

There is no cell service from the area so be careful in visiting

There are memorial shrines around the park, please be respectful of the signage and other impromptu memorabilia placed as memorials to lost ones.

More details to visiting the park

Weather and best time to visit East Hawaii on the Big Island

East Hawaii, particularly the Hilo and Puna regions on the Big Island, enjoys a tropical rainforest climate, which means it experiences high rainfall and lush vegetation year-round. When planning your visit, it’s essential to consider the distinct seasons and weather patterns:

Winter (November to March): This is the wet season in East Hawaii, with the highest rainfall levels. Expect frequent showers, occasional heavy rain, and overcast skies. The temperatures remain pleasantly warm during this period.

Spring (April to June): Spring sees a gradual decrease in rainfall, making it a transition period from the wetter months. Showers are still possible, but you’ll also enjoy more sunny days. This season is excellent for outdoor activities.

Summer (July to September): East Hawaii’s summer is characterized by drier and sunnier weather. July, in particular, is known for being one of the driest months. This is an ideal time for beach outings and exploring the outdoors.

Fall (October to early November): The fall season sees a gradual increase in rainfall as the region transitions back to the wetter conditions of winter. Temperatures remain warm, making it a pleasant time to visit.

Best Time to Visit:

  • Spring and Summer (April to September): For the best weather and outdoor activities, consider visiting East Hawaii during the drier spring and summer months. These months offer more sunshine and comfortable temperatures for exploring the lush landscapes, waterfalls, and coastal areas.
  • Winter (October to March): While the wetter winter season can bring heavy rainfall, it’s also the time when the region’s waterfalls are at their most spectacular. If you’re a nature enthusiast and don’t mind occasional rain, this can be a great time to witness the vibrant greenery and powerful waterfalls.

Keep in mind that due to the rainforest climate, East Hawaii’s weather can be unpredictable, with showers possible even during the drier months. It’s a good idea to check the local weather forecast and be prepared for varying conditions when exploring this stunning region of the Big Island.

Visiting Pahoa? Check out these other places to explore

An entire guide to visiting the Puna District of Hawaii

Explore the new Kapoho black sand beach with no name

Check out the cool lava mold formations and botanical garden at Lava Tree State Park

Visit the colorful and Hawaiian folk inspired Painted Church in Kalapana

Or visit downtown Pahoa area attractions here

Experience the Sunday market at Maku’u Market outside Pahoa

Visit the new black sand beach and hot ponds at Pohoiki Beach on the Red Road

Do the coastal hike to Ha’ena Beach

Explore the Red Road aka Kalapana Kapoho road.

Visiting Pahoa? Check out these other places to explore

Have you been to MacKenzie State Park?

Have you felt any supernatural or spiritual presence in the area? Please share your thoughts and other recommendations in the comments below with your recommendations.

Conclusion to visting MacKenzie State Park

In conclusion, a visit to MacKenzie State Park in Hawaii promises an adventure like no other. With its dramatic cliffs, lava tubes, untamed beauty, and a sense of raw wilderness, it’s a destination that leaves a lasting impression. Explore the rugged coastline, witness the power of the Pacific Ocean, and marvel at the geological wonders that tell the story of Hawaii’s volcanic past. While visiting, remember to tread lightly, respect the natural environment, and savor the unspoiled majesty of MacKenzie State Park. It’s a place where nature reigns supreme, and your journey becomes a remarkable tale of exploration and awe.

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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.