Hawaii is known for its beautiful, pristine beaches, but what you don’t necessarily picture about the Aloha State are our amazing nature preserves, state parks and forest reserves. We may not have state forests in Hawaii, but we sure do have some amazing forest reserves, including these 12 stunning beauties.
1) Kealia Forest Reserve, Kauai
The Kealia Forest Reserve was created in 1906 in an attempt to protect the forest on the mountain slopes and in the upper valleys of the watershed.
2) Kohala Forest Reserve, Big Island
The Kohala Forest Reserve is home to one of the Big Island’s most famous lookout spots – Polulu Valley.
3) Koolau Forest Reserve, Maui
Located near the Road to Hana is the Koolau Forest Reserve, a magical place full of gorgeous forest scenery and a stellar waterfall.
4) Hau’ula Forest Reserve, Oahu
Located near Laie is this small forest reserve, which includes a 2.5-mile loop trail that features a hidden waterfall and is suitable for all skill levels.
5) Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve, Kauai
There are no major roads leading into the Na Pali-Kona Reserve, and the only access to the area is from minor roads off Waimea Canyon Drive. I would definitely do a little – or a lot – of off-roading for that view, wouldn’t you?
6) Hilo Forest Reserve, Big Island
Located above the town of Hilo is a natural preserve area with sweeping views of the Wailuku River, and contains a portion of Saddle Road, one of the few roads that cuts across the island.
7) Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve, Kauai
This forest reserve seems to continue forever – covering a land area of more than 12,500 acres of public land in two distinct areas: Wailua and Kalaheo.
8) Molokai Forest Reserve, Molokai
Unlike most forest reserves throughout Hawaii, the Molokai forest reserve comprises multiple different non-contiguous geographic areas, totaling more than 11,000 acres of public land on this small Hawaiian Island.
9) Waihou Springs Forest Reserve, Maui
The reserve was created in an attempt to protect the source of the Waihou Spring, one of the few perennial springs on the western slopes of Haleakala. The actual land area is quite small – measuring just 186 acres – but it is a popular area for short hiking trips.
10) Nanawale Forest Reserve, Big Island
One of the biggest draws to Nanawale forest reserve is the Lava Trees State Monument, which showcases the beauty that can come with tragedy and disaster – in this case magnificent trees frozen in time – and lava from a once terrible eruption.
11) Mokuleia Forest Reserve, Oahu
Located on the northwestern tip of Oahu is this thick, wooded area home to numerous hiking trails that are sure to make you feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu.
12) West Maui Forest Reserve, Maui
Near the West Maui Mountains is this forest reserve teeming to the brim with amazing hiking – and even better views.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all forest reserves in Hawaii – the list would go on and on if that were the case! Did we miss your favorite Hawaii forest reserve? Or is your favorite on this list?