Hawaii Forest & Trail - Hakalau Wildlife Refuge Birdwatching Adventure
Hakalau means "many perches." Named by Hawaiians long ago, it is still considered critical bird habitat today. Once part of a large cattle ranch, it was the first National Wildlife Refuge in the United States established for forest birds. It is home to some of the rarest plants and animals on earth. Hakalau is not open to the public. We access the Pua Akala tract by special permit. Enjoy the views of giant koa trees, rare lobeliads and ohia lehua trees that are estimated to be a thousand years old.
From the Hawaii Forest & Trail headquarters, we will head up to Mamalahoa Highway and then continue north towards Waimea and the Saddle Road. Once on Saddle Road we’ll do some car-birding primarily for game birds and the pueo, or the Hawaiian short-eared owl.
After our delicious continental breakfast we follow the unpaved Keanakolu Road 11 miles to the Pua Akala tract of the refuge. Plan on two and a half hours of driving each way. Don't worry about the drive time; you'll be amazed at the constantly changing scenery and fascinated by your guide’s interpretation of Hawaii’s remarkable natural, cultural and geologic history.
This birdwatching tour involves hiking of about 2 to 4 miles in 4 hours. While the distance we walk is small, there is some elevation gain and loss of about 650 feet.
- Entry into a restricted-access National Wildlife Refuge
- Birdwatching in the Hakalau forest – a critical bird habitat that is home to some of the rarest plant and animal species on earth
- Special permit to access the Pua Akala tract is included
- Our interpretive guides are expert bird trackers
- Breakfast snack
- Deli-style lunch (choice of turkey, ham, pastrami or veggie sandwich)
- Assorted beverages
- Walking sticks, binoculars, day packs and rain ponchos are provided