Hiking back through three million years of evolution on the Pepeʻopae Trail is Kamakou’s star attraction. Crossed by a boardwalk, this undisturbed Hawaiian montane bog is a miniature primeval forest of stunted trees, dwarf plants and lichens that make it feel like it’s the dawn of time. From the trail’s end at Pelekunu Valley Overlook, you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic view of majestic cliffs, and, if it’s not too cloudy, you’ll see the ocean beyond.
To reach the Pepeʻopae Trail from Waikolu Lookout, follow Kamakou’s main 4WD road 2.5 miles to the marked trailhead; this makes a nice hour-long forest walk in itself.
A great way to see Kamakou is by joining one of the guided hikes led by the Nature Conservancy on the first or second Saturday of every month. Transportation is provided to and from the preserve.