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Endangered Native Habitats

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Kailua-Kona, United States

COVID-19: Check local travel restrictions and learn what we're doing to help keep you safe and your plans flexible. Learn more.

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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon12 hours  (Approx.)
Hotel pickup offered
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

Keeping you safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during your visit
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
Social distancing enforced throughout experience
Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
Gear/equipment sanitized between use
Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
Guides required to regularly wash hands
More questions?
(888) 651-9785

Overview

Discover Hawaii’s remarkable wildlife on a full-day, small-group birdwatching tour into the Big Island’s Mauna Kea Forest Reserve. Travel on foot and by four-wheel drive as you explore dry forest and rainforest habitats that shelter the endangered palila honeycreeper, the Hawaii amakihi and the Hawaii ‘elepaio. Listen for the calls of endemic songbirds as you traverse an otherworldly lava trail, then follow a local, bird-loving guide along forest paths into the distinctive, high-elevation mamane-naio ecosystem.
  • 12-our birdwatching tour in Hawaii
  • Small group adventure in the Mauna Kea Forest Preserve
  • Different forest habitats with unique indigenous bird species
  • Expert local guides and bird enthusiasts

Why Travelers Choose This Tour

See indigenous birds in their native habitat with a knowledgeable bird-watcher guide.
Saved to wishlist!
Interpretative Naturalist Guide
Binoculars
Filtered water
Raingear, day packs and walking sticks
Continental breakfast, lunch and beverages
Local taxes
Gratuities
Hotel pickup and drop off

Departure Point

Hawaii Forest & Trail Kona Headquarters, 73-5593 A, Olowalu St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA

Traveler pickup is offered
We also pick up from the following:

Queens' Market Place, 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738

Lava Java, 68-1845 Waikoloa Rd, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738

Kilohana Hunters Station (Old Saddle Road, MM 43.5)

Departure Time

6:30 AM

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
Meet your guide and group at a prearranged spot to embark on your full-day bird watching adventure. 

Travel together in a comfortable vehicle to the start of the Puu Oo Trail. This historic cattle drive route is located at the 6,000 foot (1800 meters) level of Saddle Road on Mauna Loa's northeastern side.

Cross the 3 to 4 miles (5 to 6 km) of trail, surrounded by the misty clouds that are common on the windward side of the island. Listen for the calls of the birds as you enter the Kaohe Game Management Area, then travel up the western side of Mauna Kea to an elevation of nearly nearly 7,000 feet (2,100 meters). 

Keep an eye out for species like elepaio, omao, amakihi, apapane and iiwi. Use the provided binoculars to look for the elusive akiapolaau, easy to identify by its multipurpose beak. At the gate to the Mauna Kea Forest Preserve, climb down from your vehicle and take in some scenic vistas before proceeding on foot. 

Following your expert birder guide's lead, focus on spotting specimens of the critically threatened palila. 

After a full day of searching for Hawaii's indigenous bird life, return to your meeting point for drop-off.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Hawaii Forest and Trail
Travelers can shop in our retail space at our Kona headquarters as well use our bathroom facilities and enjoy complimentary coffee and water.
Duration: 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Mauna Kea
Explore the sub-alpine dry forest of Puu La'au. One of two places on the tour that represent Hawaii before human contact. A place where plants and birds found nowhere else on earth showcase the evolutionary epic of the islands
Duration: 3 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Kipuka Puaulu (Bird Park) Trail
Explore the cloud mist rain forest of Kipuka. One of two places on the tour that represent Hawaii before human contact. A place where plants and birds found nowhere else on earth showcase the evolutionary epic of the islands
Duration: 3 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Saddle Road
Enjoy your scenic ride on the way to the two rare habitats alone Saddle Road. Your tour guide will have an immense amount of knowledge about Hawaiian culture and will educate you of things you see as well as answers any questions that may arise.
Duration: 3 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking, unless booked within 5 days of travel. In this case confirmation will be received within 48 hours, subject to availability
  • Guests should wear sturdy closed-toe walking shoes, long pants, and bring a light jacket
  • This tour has a maximum of 9 passengers per van
  • This tour requires a minimum number of passengers to operate. There is a possibility that the tour may be canceled after confirmation if there is not enough passengers to meet requirements. In the event of this occurring, you will be provided the option to take the tour on an alternative date or be refunded in full. It will be necessary for you to call 48 hours prior to your departure date to reconfirm (contact details provided on your confirmation voucher).
  • Not recommended for child aged 7 and under
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 9 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Hawaii Forest and Trail

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Endangered Native Habitats?
A:
The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
See all safety measures taken by Endangered Native Habitats.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Endangered Native Habitats?
A:
The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Endangered Native Habitats.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during Endangered Native Habitats?
A:
The policy on social distancing is:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
See all safety measures taken by Endangered Native Habitats.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Endangered Native Habitats?
A:
The policy on staff health & safety is:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
See all safety measures taken by Endangered Native Habitats.
Q:
What is the maximum group size during Endangered Native Habitats?
A:
This activity will have a maximum of 9 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Endangered Native Habitats.

Traveler Photos

Traveler Tips


  • "Extremely interesting look at specifics of Hawai’i and its geology and wildlife with a focus on birding." See review

Reviews

5.0
star-5
21 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-4 of 21 reviews
star-5
Birding adventure
Sue_O
, Feb 2020
Extremely interesting look at specifics of Hawai’i and its geology and wildlife with a focus on birding. The hike through the forest was especially fascinating and challenging.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
My son and I enjoyed this tour very...
Nancy Y
, Apr 2017
My son and I enjoyed this tour very much. We saw almost all of the native forest birds and a lot of the non-native ones too - 24 species. It was a slow birding day, but the guide worked really hard to get us sightings. The hiking about five miles and scenery were very nice as well. Breakfast and lunch were provided and really enhanced the day.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Knowledgeable trip leader, who was...
Elizabeth H
, Oct 2015
Knowledgeable trip leader, who was engaging and helpful when group members were slow. The areas were somewhat rugged, but the birds were inspiring and present. Our leader was also patient and helpful when group members had some initial difficulty sighting the birds. This experience is highly recommended.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Intended for serious birders but not...
John H
, Aug 2014
Intended for serious birders but not necessarilly "twitchers". Everything is provided - meals, snacks, drinks, walking sticks, raingear (which we definitely needed in the rainforest !) and even binoculars if you don't have your own. Guide was very knowledgeable and knew where to find specific birds. Fair amount of hiking including quite a trek over a lava trail to the rainforest. Organised locally by Hawaii Forest and Trail.
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Product code: 2804RDBA

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