Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge Adventure in Kona, HI

Hawaii Forest & Trail73-5593 Olowalu StreetKailua-Kona, Big Island, HI 96740
View on Map

Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge Adventure is not currently available.

Check out our other great Hawaii Activities.

Overview

Offered by Hawaii Forest & Trail, the Bird Watching Tour: Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge Adventure lets guests enjoy Hawaii’s most beautiful birds and wildlife during an 11- to 12-hour experience. Each tour departs in the mornings and includes a continental breakfast as well as a deli-style lunch. Guests are provided with walking sticks, binoculars, backpacks, warm wear, and ponchos.

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Kailua-Kona, Big Island Travel Experts
  • Tour duration: approx. 11-12 hours.
  • Continental breakfast and a deli style lunch included in tour.
  • Walking sticks, binoculars, day packs, warm wear, and rain ponchos provided.
  • Approximately 2 to 4 miles of hiking completed throughout the tour.
  • Numerous photography opportunities during the tour.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and a light jacket.

Description

from Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge Adventure
Named by Hawaiians long ago, Hakalau means "many perches" and is still considered critical bird habitat today. Once part of a large cattle ranch, it was the first National Wildlife Refuge established in the United States for forest birds. It is home to some of the rarest plants and animal species on earth. Hakalau Forest is a fascinating example of conservation in action. The forest you'll access is recovering from a hundred years of grazing by cattle and damage from pigs. Our permit allows us to bird the Pua Akala meadow. Giant koa trees, ohia-lehua trees estimated to be a thousand years old, ferns, and rare lobeliads are just some of the native plants encountered.

This Tour is great for:
  • Birders

  • Bird Lovers

  • Nature Lovers

  • Hawaii Veterans

Like our Rainforest and Dryforest Birdwatching Adventure the forest here is filled with the sounds of Hawaii's rare birds. Often, we will encounter researchers or resource managers on our walks who are always willing to share up-to-date information. Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, because of the history of grazing, has a park like setting in the higher elevations, and is densely forested below. Our trail is a four-wheel drive road that bisects the meadow, and there is an elevation gain and loss of about 650 feet.

From Hawaii Forest & Trail headquarters, we will head up to Mamalahoa Highway heading north towards Waimea and the Saddle Road. Once on the Saddle Road, there will be an opportunity for some car-birding primarily for game birds and the Pueo or the Hawaiian Short-eared Owl. We stop in route on the Saddle Road for a restroom stop and a continental breakfast of fresh fruit, breads, and pound cake along with juice, Kona coffee, and an assortment of teas. After the breakfast stop, we follow the unpaved Keanakolu Road 11 miles to the Pua Akala tract of the Refuge.

Schedule: Morning trips departing daily. 11 - 12 hours round trip, departs Hawaii Forest & Trail Headquarters.

Rated: Moderate; ages 8 and over.

Included in the Tour: Continental breakfast including fresh local fruit, baked goods, 100% Kona coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Plus, deli style lunch, with assorted soft drinks, juices and bottled water.

Gear Provided: Walking sticks, binoculars, day packs, warm wear and rain ponchos.

Group Size: Tour limited to a maximum of 12 guests. Minimum tour group must be 4 total.

Restrictions: Guests should be able to hike on uneven or rocky terrain.

Reserve Hawaii Customer Reviews

Have you been to Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge Adventure? Share your knowledge and be the first to review this.
TripAdvisor Reviews
TripAdvisor user image
njscribner
"Kohala Waterfall Hike"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 19, 2018 NEW
Frank was an amazing tour guide!! The hike, the waterfalls and swim were well worth the money!! Highly recommend!!
Read More
TripAdvisor user image
Jeffrey L
"Great Time"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 19, 2018 NEW
Absolutely incredible. While you can tour the park on your own, I would highly recommend having a guide. Our guide, Mel, knew exactly where to go, brought us up close to the lava (I was an arm length away), and ensured we had all the proper safety gear. She made the trip fun and even picked us up and dropped us off at our hotel on the Kona side of the island.
Read More
TripAdvisor user image
TheFlyingDoxies
Yorba Linda, California
"Amazing!!!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 18, 2018 NEW
Our family participated in the Lava Walk with Jason and the Night Manta Experience. The wonderful Melonie went above and beyond to make sure we knew how to get the most out of our time on the Big Island. Jason was a fantastic guide who made sure we had a great time seeing the lava flow with the bonus of giving us a wealth of information on Hawaii. Could not recommend Hawaii Forest and Trail enough!
Read More
TripAdvisor user image
ksgehrs
"Twighlight Volcano Tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 18, 2018 NEW
Our trip was wonderful from start to finish. Taj was an amazing tour guide. He is funny, kind, and incredibly knowledgeable. We learned so much. We felt this was a very good value. Glad we chose this over a helicopter tour! We would definitely do an adventure with this company again!
Read More
TripAdvisor user image
976kris
Constantine Bay, United Kingdom
"Fantastice views, great day"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 17, 2018 NEW
Frank was very informative, and helpful. The water in the last waterfall was quite cold, but worth the dip after the hike!
Read More
Star Map Pin Icon
Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge Adventure is located at Hawaii Forest & Trail73-5593 Olowalu StreetKailua-Kona, Big Island, HI 96740
Attraction Map Pin IconAttractions Hotel Map Pin IconHotels & Lodging

Frequently Asked Questions about Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge Adventure

How much hiking do we do on the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge Adventure?
Expect to cover approximately 2 to 4 miles in 4 hours.

Is there elevation gain?
Over the course of the hike we gain approximately 650’.

What is the difference in the birds seen on Hakalau vs. Rainforest & Dryforest?
The Akepa and Hawaii Creeper are found in Hakalau Forest, while the Palila is found on the Rainforest & Dryforest Adventure.

Is it possible to use a spotting scope?
Due to the behavior of Hawaii’s endemic birds, the use of a spotting scope can be challenging. If you feel up to the test, we do encourage you to bring your own birdwatching gear. We do provide binoculars on the tour for guest use.

Is it possible to get photos of the birds?
Typically, there are many opportunities to photograph the birds along the way for the determined photographer.