Huleia National Wildlife Refuge Tours
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Visible by kayak from the Huleia River, or from a roadside overlook, the otherwise closed-to-the-public Huleia National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Kauai is a popular bird watching spot. The site is one of just two sanctuaries on the planet (both National Wildlife Refuges on Kauai) home to wild populations of five species of endangered Hawaiian waterbirds—the Hawaiian coot, stilt, duck, goose (the state bird) and the elusive moorhen. Twenty-six other species of bird also call the federally-managed wetlands home. The lush landscape of riverine pools and waterfalls that surround the refuge have served as a jungle backdrop in several movies including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park and Lost World.
The refuge’s flat valley, formerly comprised of wetland taro and rice paddies, is shielded from the sea to the west by a long ridge of peaks. It abuts Alekoko, the Menehune Fishpond, a historic aquaculture system thought to be built 1,000 years ago by an early and mythical race of Hawaiian of people called the Menehune.
The refuge is four miles southwest of Lihue via Highway 50W. The best way to view the refuge is on a guided kayak tour, but if you’re short on time, it’s also visible from the Alekoko Scenic Overlook off Hulemalu Road, just under a mile from the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor.
Address: Lihue, Kauai, USA
3 Tours and Activities to Experience Huleia National Wildlife Refuge
Kayak, hike and canoe through the heart of Kauai’s lush jungles on a 4.5-hour adventure to Hidden Valley Falls. Paddle past trailing vines and enjoy sweeping views of the Haupu Mountains as you explore the Hule’ia River by kayak, then follow a shady .75-mile (1.2-km) forest trail to a backcountry waterfall. Cool off in a swimming hole beneath the falls, listen to the jungle chorus of tropical birds, then board a motorized, twin-hulled Hawaiian canoe to retrace your path down the tranquil Hule’ia.
Buckle up for an exciting off-road adventure through the unspoiled, historic landscape of Kipu Ranch. Ride in a rugged 4WD vehicle across tropical pastures and valleys featured in many blockbusters including ‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and ‘The Descendants.’ Soak up the verdant paradise of Huleia Valley and admire stellar views of secluded Kipu Kai beach on this family-friendly eco tour.
Star in your own Kauai action adventure with this off-road waterfall tour at Kipu Ranch. Rumble through the filming locations of classics like ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ on rugged 4x4 trails, and hike to the banks of the Huleia River for a refreshing swim. Splash into waterfall pools via a giant rope swing, and replenish your energy with a waterside sandwich buffet.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Huleia National Wildlife Refuge?
The best ways to experience Huleia National Wildlife Refuge are:
- Hidden Valley Falls Kayak and Kauai Hike Adventure
- Kauai Ultimate Off-Road Ranch Tour
- Kauai Waterfall Picnic Tour and Off-Road Adventure