February 24, 2018

Koai’a Tree Sanctuary/Kohala Forest-November 18, 2017 -RSVP needed!

The Kona Hiking Club will visit Koai’a Tree Sanctuary in Kohala on Saturday, November 18. The hike will be about 3 miles round trip, over hilly and uneven terrain. Part of the hike will be  a 3/4 mile nature trail and the rest a steep uphill/downhill walk in/along the stream bed. There will be an optional hike into the Kohala Forest.

150 years ago, instead of unending grassy pastures, a mesic (moist) forest blanketed the middle-elevation leeward slopes of Kohala Mountain. This unique koaiʻa-mamane-naio-ʻiliahi forest once covered more than 40,000 acres, and was home to one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in Hawaiʻi. What do we have left of this massive forest? A few scattered native trees, and a little 13-acre plot of forest. Yup, that is it. The direct result of the impacts of humans and their domestic animals.

Since about 1960, that 13 acres has been fenced and protected as the Koaiʻa Tree Sanctuary, under the care of the State DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife. Itʻs all that we have left, and Kohala Watershed Project is doing their best to care for it, to mālama both the ancient trees and the new growth.

It’s important to clean your shoes prior to the hike to avoid bringing in invasive seeds/weeds.  A boot brush will be available before the hike.

There is very limited parking area near the trail area, carpooling is recommended. Carpoolers can meet at Lanihau Shopping Center near Daylight Mind. Please park away from the businesses. While there is no charge for carpooling, anyone doing so is encouraged to chip in for gasoline. A hike leader will not be at this location.  Arrive by 7:15 and prepare to leave by 7:30 am.  This should get us to the trailhead near 5mm on Kohala Mtn Rd around 9:00 am.

The weather on the mountain is somewhat unpredictable, so be prepared for rain, although sunny weather is possible as well. Hikers should wear closed toed shoes, carry hiking sticks and bring at least two liters of water, snacks, and sunscreen.

For additional information, contact Kathleen Johnson at 557-9246.

PLEASE NOTE: All members are welcome to bring guests or pass on information about our hikes to other hikers. However, if you do so, PLEASE make sure that you direct them to the Kona Hiking Club website to review the hike announcement and description. We want to make sure that everyone is prepared for the specific hike we are doing that day, whether we’re facing mud, heat, cold, steep trails, rocky trails, high altitude, exceptionally long distances, etc. Mahalo for helping us keep everyone safe!


  1. Tom Delaney says:

    I would like to reserve for the Koai’a hike. I will be leaving from Waikoloa Beach and could pick up anyone in the vicinity.

  2. Jennifer DuFord says:

    i would like to join you. I’m visiting the Big Island for a month, coming from Alaska, where I’m on the Mountaineering Club of Alaska Board of Directors. Looking for people with whom to adventure. I will not have a vehicle.

  3. Nanette and Eric says:

    We would like to register for Koai’a hike on November 18th.

  4. L Labourdett says:

    RSVP x4 – we will drive together.

  5. L Labourdett says:

    Where are we meeting if we’re driving? Location of Trailhead


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