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Plan Your Visit

Elepaio on branch with leavesRelatively 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.

People interested in visiting Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) have a few options for accessing the Refuge.  One option is to visit the Refuge on your own.  Another option is to visit the Refuge with a commercial guide.  The last option is to visit the Refuge during the annual Open House which typically occurs in the middle of April and October each year. 

Visit the Refuge on Your Own:

The Upper Maulua Unit of Hakalau Forest (NWR) is currently closed.  Frequent, heavy rains have made the road into the Maulua Unit impassable and unsafe.  Additionally, there is a concern about a newly identified disease called Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, which has killed thousands of acres of mature ʻōhiʻa trees in forests and residental areas in Puna and Hilo Districts of Hawaiʻi Island.  The disease can be transported on contaminated soil found on vehicles, tools, shoes and clothing. Protocols are being developed to ensure that visitors to the Refuge will not spread the disease.  For more information and updates on Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death research please visit: 


Visit the Refuge with a Commercial Guide:

Hakalau Forest NWR currently has several commercial natural history and bird tour guide operators under Special Use Permit (SUP).  Commercial tours have access to the Pua Akala Unit, an area of the Refuge that isn't open to the general public except during our annual Open House in October.  In this area of the Refuge visitors have a good chance of seeing some of Hakalau's most endangered birds.  If you are interested in this type of experience please contact the companies below to see what type of tour options exist.  Make your reservations accordingly.

                                  Hawai`i Birds LLC
  Hawai`i Forest and Trail
800-464-1993, 808-331-8505
  Hawai`i Nature Explorers
  Terran Tours 
  Victor Emanuel Nature Tours 
(multi-day, multi-destination trips)

Visit the Refuge during an Open House

Hakalau Forest NWR hosts an Open House around Earth Day in the Spring and during National Wildlife Refuge Week annually. Guided rainforest hikes will be offered between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to observe rare and colorful native birds and plants; and to learn about Refuge Management Practices. There is also the option of touring the 130-year-old koa cabin and the Refuge greenhouse. Other information about conservation in Hawai`i will be available.  Visitors must provide their own four-wheel-drive transportation to the Refuge, which is a two-hour drive from Hilo, Waimea, or Kona.  Reservations are required and may be obtained by calling the Refuge Office in Hilo at 808-443-2300.  A map, directions, and additional information will be emailed/mailed to participants. To obtain information about dates, please check our calendar, events page, and/or home page.  Dates will be posted as soon as they are determined.


Page Photo Credits — © Dan Clark
Last Updated: Oct 09, 2015
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