Visit the Refuge on Your Own:
Hakalau Forest (NWR) is closed to self-guided activities due to concerns about a disease called Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, which has killed thousands of acres of mature ʻōhiʻa trees in forests and residential areas on Hawaiʻi Island. The disease can be transported on contaminated soil found on vehicles, tools, shoes and clothing. Protocols have been developed and with the help of trained guides operating under Special Use Permit (SUP) we are reducing the risk of visitors spreading the disease. For more information and updates on Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death research please visit: https://cms.ctahr.hawaii.edu/rod.
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). These commercial tour operators have access to the Pua Akala Unit. 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 and make your reservations accordingly. If you are a commercial guide or tour company interested in obtaining an SUP, please contact us.
|Hawai`i Bird Guide LLC
|Hawai`i Birds LLC
|Hawai`i Forest and Trail
|Hawaii Bird Tours
|Hawaii Nature Explorers
With regret, access to the upper Maulua Unit of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife will remain closed to the public which includes self-guided activities in the unit. All other units of the refuge also remain closed. Please check the website for updates at a later time.
Other Facilities in the Complex
Hakalau Forest is managed as part of the Big Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The Big Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex consists of the Hakalau Forest Unit on the windward slope of Mauna Kea and the Kona Forest Unit on the western slope of Mauna Loa. Both units protect and support a diversity of native birds and plants.
A National Wildlife Refuge Complex is an administrative grouping of two or more refuges, wildlife management areas or other refuge conservation areas that are primarily managed from a central office location. Refuges are grouped into a complex because they occur in a similar ecological region, such as a watershed or specific habitat type, and have a related purpose and management needs.
The Refuge Complex headquarters is located at:
60 Nowelo Street, Suite 100
Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720
Rules and Policies
There are lots of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the refuge. Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife related and doesn’t help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity. Please check with the refuge management before participating in an activity that could harm the environment or yourself. There are plenty of activities for you to enjoy. Be safe and have fun!
- Use or possession of any firearms or weapons
- Use or possession of domestic animals (dogs, cats, horses, etc.)
- Use or possession of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs
- Operation of All Terrain Vehicles (ATV), dirt bikes, mountain bikes, etc.
- Removal or damage to any plant or plant material
- Harassment of forest birds or other wildlife
- Littering or dumping trash
- Removal or damage to numbered tags, colored flagging tape, mist nets and other equipment or materials used for biological research
- Disposal of lighted smoking materials
- Open fires
- Overnight parking and camping
- Damage to fences, signs, or other structures