Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is located on the northern-most point of the main Hawaiian islands on a portion of the former Kīlauea volcanic vent and includes spectacular views from atop a 180-foot ocean bluff.
The Refuge is the best places in the state to view seabirds rarely seen from land, like the red-footed booby (ʻā in Hawaiian), great frigate bird ('iwa), and Laysan albatross (mōlī). The world's rarest goose and Hawai‘i's state bird, the Hawaiian goose (nēnē) is a frequent sight as well. Visitors also have a chance to view spinner dolphins (nai‘a), Hawaiian monk seals (‘Ilio holo i ka uaua), green sea turtles (honu), and humpback whales (koholā, October - April) in the water below. Native Hawaiian coastal plants are also abundant.
The Refuge is also home to the Daniel K. Inouye Kīlauea Point Lighthouse, whose 2nd order bivalve Fresnel lens lit the way for seafarers. The lighthouse is part of the Kīlauea Point Light Station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lighthouse played a key role in the first trans-Pacific flight from the West Coast to Hawai‘i and has been part of Kaua‘i’s history since its completion in 1913.
Location and Contact Information
Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is made up of the Kīlauea Point peninsula, Mōkōlea Point peninsula, and Crater Hill. The original 31 acres, on which the lighthouse stands, were transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard when the Refuge was originally established in 1984. In 1988, the Refuge was expanded to include Mōkōlea Point and the Crater Hill parcel, the latter was primarily donated by the Pali Moana Corporation.
The Refuge is located on the northern-most point of Kaua‘i and the main Hawaiian islands. The Refuge also contains a portion of the former Kīlauea volcanic vent and a spectacular 568-foot ocean bluff. Kīlauea Point is home to thousands of migratory and resident seabirds. The Refuge is used by Laysan albatross (mōlī), red-footed boobies (ʻā), red- and white-tailed tropicbirds (koaʻe), great frigatebirds (ʻiwa), wedge-tailed shearwaters (‘ua‘u kani), Pacific golden plover (kolea), threatened Hawaiian goose (nēnē), threatened Newell's shearwater (‘a‘o), and Hawaiian short-eared owl (pueo).
What We Do
The 199-acre Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1985 and is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to:
- Protect and enhance migratory seabirds and threatened and endangered species, including the nēnē (Hawaiian goose) and ‘a‘o (Newell’s shearwater) populations and their habitats
- Preserve and maintain the historical integrity of the area, including the 1913 Kīlauea Lighthouse and lighthouse keepers’ homes, which were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979
- Conduct interpretation and environmental education activities on Hawaiian wildlife, site history, and the National Wildlife Refuge System
- Promote fish and wildlife-oriented recreational opportunities and the overall protection of natural resources
- Conserve native coastal strand,
, and aquatic biological diversity
We are home to a variety of seabirds, songbirds, native plants, and the nēnē, or Hawaiian goose (Branta sandvicensis).
Worldwide, human expansion and development has caused dramatic declines in native plants, animals, and habitats. The National Wildlife Refuge system was established in 1903 to protect, restore, and conserve wildlife populations and their habitats. Currently, National Wildlife Refuges encompass the largest acreage of public lands and waters set aside for fish, wildlife, and plants in the world – with more than 150 million acres and at least one National Wildlife Refuge in every state.
Our volunteers, friends, and partners are integral to Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge management. Volunteers support various Refuge programs including wildlife surveys, native plant restoration, visitor services, and facilities maintenance.
Projects and Research