Hakalau Forest Reserve Bird Watching Adventure from Kailua Kona, HI

Hawaii Forest & Trail73-5593 Olowalu StreetKailua Kona, HI 96740
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Hit the backroads on this Hawaii Forest and Trail exclusive bird watching tour! Explore restricted lands at the Hakalau National Forest Reserve with a naturalist guide. Spend the day exploring the Hakalau Forest sighting endangered birds like the Akepa and Elepaio, native plants and rare animal species including carnivorous caterpillars and happy-faced spiders.

up to 12 hrs 1 to 10 people

Good To Know

  • This Hakalau Exclusive runs in an air-conditioned 4WD Mercedes Sprinter.
  • Covers 2-4 miles of hiking along the Hawaii Forest and Trail.
  • Recommended for birders and wilderness explorers.
  • Tour duration is approx. 11-12 hours. Arrive 20 minutes before departure time.
  • Includes entry to a restricted-access National Wildlife Refuge, snacks, deli lunch and assorted drinks.
  • Moderate physical fitness is required.
  • Walking sticks, binoculars, day packs, warm wear and rain ponchos are provided.
  • Small-group size with a max capacity of 10 guests per tour.
  • Led by interpretive guides who are expert bird trackers.


from Hakalau Forest Reserve Bird Watching Adventure
Enjoy an unforgettable day exploring the birds, wildlife and a native forest in this Hakalau Forest Reserve Bird Watching Adventure with an expert birding guide.

Hakalau means "many perches" and the Hakalau Forest in Hawaii is still considered a critical rainforest bird habitat today. Nestled high above the island’s shoreline, the dense rainforest of Hakalau is home to some of the world’s rarest plants and animals.

You will hit the backroads of the Hakalau National Forest Reserve in a 4WD Mercedes Sprinter. These vehicles are ideal for birdwatching tours because they are designed for smaller groups and have a rugged construction that allows access to off-the-beaten-path locations.

During this Hawaii birding tour, you will experience the island’s natural beauty and discover rare and native plants. With the help of interpretive field guides, you will search for rare and endangered birds like the Amakihi, Elepaio, Akepa, Akiapolaau and Iiwi, as well as rare animals including carnivorous caterpillars and happy-faced spiders. Learn why these vulnerable habitats have been threatened to the brink of extinction.
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Hakalau Forest Reserve Bird Watching Adventure is located at Hawaii Forest & Trail73-5593 Olowalu StreetKailua Kona, HI 96740
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Frequently Asked Questions about Hakalau Forest Reserve Bird Watching Adventure

Where do we meet for this Hakalau National Forest Reserve Adventure?

This tour departs from four different meeting locations: (1) 6:30 AM - Hawaii Forest & Trail Kona Headquarters (73-5593 A, 73-5593 Olowalu St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740) (2) 6:50 AM - Four Seasons Resort Hualalai - front entrance (72-100 Ka'upulehu Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740) (3) 7:15 AM - Queens Market Place - by Charlie's Thai Restaurant (69-201 Waikōloa Beach Dr, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738) (4) 7:25 AM - Lava Java Waikoloa - Waikoloa Highlands Center (68-1845 Waikoloa Rd, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738) Please arrive 20 minutes prior to your tour's departure time.

How long is the tour?

Tour duration is approximately 12 hours.

How much hiking do we do on the trip? What is the elevation gain?

Expect to hike for approximately 2 to 4 miles in 4 hours. Over the course of the hike, the elevation change is approximately 650 feet.

Is this Hakalau Forest tour suitable for children?

This tour is recommended for ages 8 years old and older. Moderate difficulty during the hike may be experienced and travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level.

Is this tour accessible?

You should be able to hike on uneven or rocky terrain and are ready to encounter cool, wet or muddy conditions. Moderate physical fitness level is advised as you will do short hikes of 11.4 to 4 miles. Please note that the Refuge access road can be rough and bumpy, and requires four-wheel drive (4WD). This tour may not be suitable for persons who are physically challenged, have neck or back issues, or those who are prone to motion sickness, have heart problems or other serious medical conditions.

What do I wear? What do I bring?

Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots, long pants, and a light rain jacket. Dress casually and comfortably and bring a reusable water bottle.

What's included on this bird watching tour?

This tour includes a naturalist guide, transportation on a 4WD Mercedes Sprinters vehicle, snacks, a deli styled lunch, and assorted beverages. You will also be provided with a walking stick, binoculars, day pack, warm wear and rain poncho in case of sudden rainfall.

How is the drive to the Hakalau National Forest Reserve?

The first part of the drive is on paved roadways. However, the second half of the drive on the Wildlife access road takes place on a dirt road that is rough, muddy, and can be very bumpy.

Is it possible to use a spotting scope?

Due to the behavior of Hawaii’s endemic birds, the use of a spotting scope can be challenging. If you feel up to the test, you are encouraged to bring your own birdwatching gear. They do provide binoculars for use on this tour.

Is it possible to get photos of the birds?

Typically, there are many opportunities for a determined photographer to photograph birds along the way.

How big would our tour group be?

This is a small-group tour with a maximum of 10 guests per tour.

What happens if it rains?

Tours leave rain or shine. The tour guides will always bring rain gear for everyone as birding in Hawaii entails the occasional rainfall. You will be notified when the weather makes transportation or walking hazardous.