MacKenzie State Recreation Area


A moody, windswept grove of ironwood trees edge sheer cliffs towering above the ocean. The raw beauty of this powerful landscape makes an unforgettable picnic spot – but has also been the backdrop for supernatural tales and criminal acts. Trails extend either direction from the parking area, and a lava tube 0.1 miles east is an interesting post-lunch adventure. The waves crashing through a hidden sea arch near the tube is a captivating sight.

Swimming is not even tempting, and several fishermen have drowned after being swept off the cliffs by erratic waves. Camping at MacKenzie is no longer allowed; perhaps out of respect for the huaka‘i po, or 'night marchers,' – groups of chanting warrior spirits that carry torches along the historic King's Road, which passes through here. More likely, the ban is in response to theft and other crimes that have plagued the isolated park in recent years.

Enter off Hwy 137 between Miles 13 and 14.

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