Located on the northeast side of Hawaii about 10.5 miles north of Hilo in Honomu, Kolekole Beach Park offers a relaxing place to enjoy the beautiful scenery. It has been a popular beach for residents because it offers spacious grassy areas for picnicking. Therefore, know that on weekends and holidays, this park can get crowded.
However, this park has not been as busy lately. This is because the park has been closed because of lead-impacted soil since April 18, 2017. The area affected by lead is beneath Kolekole Stream Bridge. It extends about 300 feet in the mauka direction. This bridge used to be part of a railroad. However, it was destroyed by a tsunami in 1946. It was rebuilt in 1950 so it could be used by cars. Throughout the life of the bridge, lead paint dispersed into the soil below. All lead paint on the bridge was removed in 2001, but this could not stop the contamination of the soil.
Currently, there have been action steps taken to minimize potential lead exposure to those enjoying the park. Such action steps include maintaining healthy grass, installing fencing around the area with the highest levels of contamination, posting signs to notify the public about the problem, and restricting activities that could risk exposing bare soil. Long-term clean-up solutions are being evaluated and the public will be able to provide input. Hopefully, the situation will be remediated soon and the park will be restored to it’s former glory. Keep watching for updates.
Because of the closure, the park is not currently well maintained and has become overgrown. The ocean conditions at the park are too dangerous for swimming, but you can swim in the Kolekole Stream. It is fed by Akaka Falls, which is a popular attraction about four miles above Honomu. There is another smaller waterfall that flows into the stream near the ocean. This creates the nice scenery available at the park. Keep in mind that there are strong currents, so it’s best not to swim in the mouth of the stream.
On Kolekole Beach, find black sand and rocks. The beach itself is small and when the conditions are rough, the water will spill over the beach and into the stream. There is driftwood on the beach, so you can find a little spot to sit or lean against and listen to the waves. Some surfers do get out on the water here. The brave ones can catch some pretty epic waves.
-There are many wild cats that live in the park. Sometimes people feed them, just know that they are around.
-You will have to walk a little way from the parking area to the park. If you plan to bring a picnic or some lawn games, you may want to bring along a wagon for easy transport of the items. Otherwise, be ready to carry everything.
-Since the park has become overgrown, it may be best for a quick stop to view the scenery for now.