Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge
Directions: The refuge is located between the 2,500- and 6,600-foot elevations on the windward slope of Mauna Kea approximately 12 miles NW of Hilo. Go west from Hilo via State Hwy 200—the Saddle Road. Turn right (N) on the paved road leading to the Mauna Kea observatory for 2 miles. Turn right again on the Keanakolu Road, and continue for 6 miles. Keanakolu Road is adjacent to the refuge's upper, or Mauka, boundary. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required.
Primary Wildlife: The refuge was established specifically for the protection of habitat for populations of the endangered Akiapolaau, the Hawaii Akepa, Hawaii Creeper, Hawaiian Hawk, Ou, and the Hawaiian Hoary Bat.
Three endemic subspecies, the common Amakihi, Hawaiian Thrush, and Elepaio; a large number of other native birds including the liwi and the Apapane and a variety of introduced bird species are on the refuge.
Habitat: Over 15,000 acres of mid-elevation Mesic and wet Koa-Ohia and Ohia forest habitat have been acquired. An additional 17,000 acres of similar habitat have been approved for acquisition. When completed the refuge will be instrumental in sustaining the naturally evolving mid-elevation rain forest and allow for long-term maintenance of the assemblage of native plants, birds, and animals.
Recreation and Education: The refuge is closed to all activity unless specifically authorized by the refuge manager. Activities determined to be compatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established will receive consideration for issuance of special use permits. The Upper Maulua Unit is open to the public by appointment on weekends and holidays by calling (808) 443-2300.
Special Note: Entry to refuge is authorized only by special use permit obtained from the refuge manager.
60 Nowele St. Suite 100
Hilo, Hawaii, HI 96720
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge Travel Q&A
What's your favorite hike? Where's the best campsite? Join the conversation! Ask Your Question