The vibrant town of Hilo is located on the northeastern side of “The Big Island”, Hawaii. This town overlooks Hilo Bay, and is located at the base of two volcanoes: Mauna Loa, and Mauna Kea. This lush area of Hawaii features thundering waterfalls, thick rainforests and blooming flowers. All of this natural beauty means many parks and trails to explore with your pup! This charming town is also known for its open air farmers market which welcomes leashed dogs, and offers anything from locally grown coffee and exotic fruits, to handmade jewelry.
For a great place to hike and watch a sunset with your best pal, check out the Upper Waiakea Forest Reserve. This reserve is home to endemic birds, and some steep trails that lead to a few lookout points. From these lookout points, you can enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Leashed dogs are welcome to enjoy the trails with their two legged friends.
If you don’t have the whole day to dive into the tropical wilderness, check out one of Hilo’s smaller urban parks! A favorite is the Panaewa Park. This park is family and dog friendly, and has big open athletic fields that your pooch can run and sniff on while there are no sports in play. Just make sure your dog is leashed and picked up after! With all of these places to explore and play, Hilo is a tropical puppy paradise.
The Town Center of Hilo is more than just bustling streets and shops. In this neighborhood. you can find plenty of nature and green spaces to explore with your best pal. This neighborhood is home to the Wailuku River State Park. The park is most famous for the Waianuenue Waterfalls. These waterfalls have an 80 foot drop, and are known for the majestic rainbows that form in the mist surrounding them. Leashed dogs are welcome in this park, and can enjoy the trails that wander through the mango trees and tropical flowers. Right next to this park is the smaller Carvalho Park. This pretty little park features a playground, athletic fields, restrooms and picnic tables.
The Liliuokalani Park and Gardens is the park all the dogs are barking about. Located in the Mokaoku neighborhood of Hilo along the island’s coast, this 30 acre park transports you and your pooch to Japan for the day to enjoy the beautiful Japanese gardens, teahouse and koi ponds. Walkers and joggers can often be found enjoying this park with their dogs, so be prepared to make some furry friends! If you want to taste a fresh catch from one of the local fishermen, check out Suisan. This local market has a deli counter that serves up Hawaiian and Asian inspired dishes, and has dog friendly tables.
Locals of the Kilauea Ave / Ponahawai St neighborhood in Hilo love living in close proximity to the beautiful Wailoa River State Park. This small, riverfront park is great for a heart pumping jog with your pup or for some quiet meditation in nature. The park features huge grassy areas, Japanese bridges, trails and a boat ramp. Don’t forget to pack a lunch and dog biscuits, because this park has picnic tables and gazebos. Many people love coming to this park to feed the ducks and geese that frequent this park as well. Your canine companion is welcome to enjoy this park along with you, as long as he or she stays leashed and is picked up after.
The neighborhood of U of Hawaii at Hilo has a couple urban parks that you and Fido can pass through on your morning walk. For some wide open spaces and rolling hills, check out the University Heights Park. This completely fenced off park not only has grassy fields as far as the eyes can see, but it also has a covered pavillion, bathroom and ball park. The Lokahi Park is just a short trot away, and features a variety of athletic fields that your pup can sniff and run on while there are no other games in play. Leashed dogs are welcome in both of these parks as long as they are picked up after!
If you and your dog are itching to get some fresh air, in the massive area of town known as Wainaku, you can get deep into the tropical wilderness of Hawaii. It’s from this neighborhood that you can access the Hilo Forest Reserve. This reserve is comprised of approximately 64,000 acres of public land. From here you can enjoy some of the many hikes, including the very easy and scenic Kaumana Trail. In this reserve, you can even look straight up the eastern slope of the Mauna Kea volcano. Come prepared, because the park doesn’t have amenities, and the weather in this area is often unpredictable! Leashed dogs are welcome to enjoy this park with their two legged companions.