Looking for a short hike in Kona? Why not try the Makaʻeo Walking Path. Located within the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area beside the beach, this trail is an easy hike through some colorful Hawaiian flora.
The loop path itself is less than a mile long and part of the trail has been paved. The garden itself is maintained by the local community and features a wide variety of plants – from natives to unique succulents.
Fun fact: Makaʻeo means “point of the piercing eye” and was named after the nearby point.
The Old Airport
The Old Kona Airport was originally built in 1947. By the 1960s it was apparent that a new airport was needed as Boeing 707s and DC-8s were not able to take off on such a short runway. The new Kona International Airport was built at Keahole Point in 1970 and by 1976 the old airport was converted into a state park.
Fun fact: Walk the loop 3 times and you’ll have walked 2 miles!
Old Kona Bay
Directly opposite the garden, across the old airport runway landing strip, is a long sandy beach. There are plenty of picnic tables on the main part of the beach, or you can try the more private beach cove at the far end of the runway.
Local community support
After its conversion, the State in conjunction with the local community worked together to turn the area into multi-use path and garden space. The Kona Farm Bureau began a planting program at the north end of the proposed path, while the Kona Outdoor Circle oversaw the planting of larger trees and a grassed area.
Eventually other local community organizations became involved with the garden, including the Friends for Fitness. Facilities such as an outdoor workout space (including a chin-up bar, balance bars and stretching post) and drinking fountain were added. Members of the Friends have taken responsibility for different sections of the garden. Look out for volunteers working in the garden on Thursday mornings.
It isn’t just the Friends for Fitness who are involved with the garden. Under the Adopt-A-Park Program, members of the community, whether individuals or businesses, can take responsibility for a part of the garden. This community approach to the garden makes room for a wide variety of spaces including a Japanese garden, a Thai pavilion house and a number of sculptures.
Where? Makaʻeo Walking Path – 755560 Kuakini Hwy, Kailua-Kona
Take a tour amongst the fragrant plumeria in this unique seaside community botanical garden.