Visiting Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge
The Upper Maulua Unit of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife (NWR) is currently open to the public for wildlife-dependent activities such as hiking, bird watching and photography. All other units of the refuge are closed. Access to Upper Maulua is permitted on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays between sunrise and sunset. Access to Upper Maulua is via Maulua Road which intersects with Keanakolu Road at Maulua Gate at the upper end of the unit. The main gate must be closed and locked after entry or exit. Vehicles must be four-wheel-drive and must remain on Maulua Road or parked on the shoulder.
Every visitor to Upper Maulua is required to have a reservation. Reservations can be made by calling the Hakalau Forest NWR office at (808) 443-2300, between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday at least one week prior to entry. Visitors will be asked to provide (1) their telephone number; (2) the number of people in their group; (3) license plate numbers(s) of vehicle(s) to be used; and (4) description of vehicle(s) to be used. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required for the 50-mile trip, which takes almost two hours each way from Hilo or Kona.
To get to the refuge via the Saddle Road (Highway 200), at the 28 mile marker take the Mauna Kea Summit Road. About 2 miles up the Summit Road, turn right onto a four-wheel drive road. This is Keanakolu Road. There are no signs indicating Keanakolu Road or the refuge at this point. Drive 16.6 miles along Keanakolu Road. Pass the Refuge Administration site turn off and continue a few miles further along Keanakolu Road. You will see a sign on the right that reads “Hakalau Forest NWR-Maulua Tract”. Enter here. The gate is locked. You will get lock combination when making reservations to visit the Maulua Tract.
Relatively few nonnative plant species occur on the refuge. Please help to prevent the introduction of weed species such as firetree, Himalayan raspberry, and gorse by cleaning mud and seeds from boots, gear, and vehicles before entering the Upper Maulua Unit.
No Access to Pīhā or Laupāhoehoe
The adjacent tracts of Pīhā and Laupāhoehoe are managed for public hunting by the State of Hawai‘i. No person may access Pīhā or Laupāhoehoe from the Upper Maulua Unit.