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:
- 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, walking sticks, binoculars, day packs, warm wear, and rain ponchos.Menu: Savory breakfast:
Egg burrito, potatoes, fresh fruit, Island banana bread, croissants, oatmeal, 100% pure Kona coffee, teas, hot chocolate, and juices. Lunch:
Deli-style sandwich (turkey, ham, tuna or veggie), chips, cookie, sodas and juice drinks. Gluten free options available.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.What to bring & wear:
Closed-toe shoes are required; long pants and a light jacket are recommended