Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
300.00 ft (91.44 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Kīpuka Pu‘u Huluhulu Native Tree Sanctuary and Nature Trail is a 38-acre protected reserve located directly across from the Mauna Kea Access road off of Saddle Road. A short hike to the top of the pu’u offers lovely views of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and is an excellent stopping point for checking out what a pristine native Hawaiian forest looks like. There is a network of trails maintained by Nā Ala Hele Trail and Access  and created by the Youth Conservation Corps that traverses the small reserve, showcasing a surprising diversity of foliage, birds, and interesting geological features. The trails are well maintained and easy to navigate, and the short loops make this an especially good spot to hike with small children. The pu’u sits at 6,560 feet, so you can expect cooler temperatures.

Kīpuka is the Hawaiian term for an elevated area or hill that gets surrounded by newer lava flows but, because of its elevation, is spared from the passing lava. The visual effect of Pu’u Huluhulu is akin to looking at a green island in a sea of black lava rock. It is impossible to miss as you drive the Saddle Road and travel over the lava flows of 1843 and 1935. Pu’u means “hill” and huluhulu means “hairy”; you will quickly find the name fitting for this small cinder cone, as it really does have a “hairy appearance.” Unlike the surrounding barren landscape of lava, the reserve boasts a lush and well-protected koa forest draped in lichen, and numerous native trees can be found here. At the base you can check out the two different basalt lava types, pahoehoe and a’a.

**Be careful not to confuse this hike with the cinder cone that goes by the same name, Pu'u Huluhulu, located in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Views of Mauna Kea. Native forest. Excellent birding. Kid friendly.

Cons

Small.

Trailhead Elevation

6,608.00 ft (2,014.12 m)

Highest point

6,758.00 ft (2,059.84 m)

Net Elevation Gain

150.00 ft (45.72 m)

Features

Family friendly
Geologically significant
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.