Wildlife Refuges & Conservation on Kauai

It’s no secret that Kauai is a natural beauty.

Our island is 25 miles long and 33 miles wide and receives more than 400 inches of rain every year – one of the world’s wettest places. This means that it’s also one of the greenest places in the world, covered in lush tropical forests and more than 80 species of birds.

Kauai boasts about 50 miles of sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, freshwater rivers, streams, and waterfalls, and, of course, rich rainforest. More than 97 percent of Kauai is undeveloped land, either protected or used for agriculture.

While ecotourism is a relatively new, 21st-century concept, there are plenty of ways visitors to this paradise can participate in sustainable island tourism and appreciate wildlife on Kauai.

Take a break from the beach and our luxurious Waipouli Beach Resort and Spa and visit the island’s protected lands or hit a few Kauai hiking trails.

There are stunning views waiting for you all over Kauai. This is why it is known as the Garden Island of Hawaii.

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge

Located in the Hanalei River Valley, this wildlife refuge is a north shore gem. The refuge was established in the 1970s to conserve endangered flora and fauna of the island. It serves to protect native species such as the Hawaiian stilt, a long-legged shorebird with a black and white body, and the Hawaiian duck.

Some areas of the refuge are open to the public and can be accessed along a county road. Interpretive information can be found at the Hanalei Valley overlook near the Princeville Shopping Center. The refuge’s wetland area is restricted in order to protect species that inhabit it.

The Red-Footed Booby is a commonly sighted sea bird that makes it’s home on Kauai.

Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge

Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is a bit more accessible. Located on the northwest side of the island, this refuge spans part of the coast’s dramatic shoreline and provides a habitat for some of the largest populations of nesting seabirds in the Hawaiian Islands.

This refuge is an excellent place to observe and photograph a huge variety of native animals on Kauai. It is home to spinner dolphins, monk seals, and the endangered Hawaiian goose. The park features dramatic views of the Pacific on steep cliffs, with the opportunity to peaceful observe native seabirds.

The Kīlauea Lighthouse is also a must-see attraction on your trip to Kīlauea Point. This landmark was built in 1913 and is a unique and impressive 53-foot tall white cylindrical structure with a red roof and vent ball, which have been restored to their original condition.

Tours are offered Wednesday and Saturdays in the morning and early afternoon and take you up a winding, narrow staircase to the lighthouse’s Watch Room. Programs are available at the Contact Station and Visitor Center, which also houses displays, models, books, and information about the park.

The walk from the entrance to Kīlauea Point is manageable for any age group at just 0.2 miles with interpretive signs along the way. It’s well worth the trip for the photos and incredible views you’ll get to witness.

Hiking on Kauai, HI is great for families. There are plenty of trails for all skill levels.

Kauai Hiking Trails

While you can’t hike in some preserved areas, there are plenty of trails around the island for visitors to enjoy.

For a challenging trail and views of the dramatic Na Pali Coast, hike the six-hour Awaawapuhi trail in Kōkeʻe State Park on the west side of the island.

For a jungle trail, hike to Hanakapiai Falls in the Hono’Onapali Natural Reserve Area to swim in the cool, clear waters of a cascading waterfall.

Of course, these are just a few of the many hikes among the acres and acres of gorgeous, green, tropical lush protected land on the island of Kauai.

After a long day exploring wildlife on Kauai, rest your head at one of our Pili Mai rentals, including some of Poipu’s newest luxury vacation units. When you stay at our Waipouli Beach Resort and Spa, you’ll have access to all the amenities you need to make your vacation complete.

Our townhome- and condominium-style rentals are designed to make you feel like you never left home – until, of course, you step outside.

Located just steps from the beach and a short drive from Kauai hiking trails, national parks, and wildlife refuges, these luxurious rentals are perfect for your outdoor adventures on this one-of-a-kind Hawaiian Island.

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