By Colleen Donahue Dagenhard
Rising 3000 feet above sea level on the island of Hawaii, Kona Cloud Forest is a wonderful experience for young and old. The professionally-guided walking tour covers 1.2 miles (1.6 km) and takes roughly 2 1/2 hours. In that time you’ll not only bear witness to the only remaining cloud forest in Hawaii, but one of 25 in the entire world. Truly the tour of a lifetime.
By definition, a cloud forest is a tropical, or subtropical forest characterized by persistent low-level clouds. As one would imagine, the vegetation inside the confines of this ethereal environment is dense and the trees are somewhat dwarfed by the limited access to sunshine, creating an enchanted and unique experience.
Though it’s not necessary to be a seasoned hiker, one should be aware the trails are of medium intensity. There are some fairly steep inclines, and downward sloping parts of the trails, as well as dense tree roots which must be navigated. That being stated, we have had hikers enjoy the tour who are significantly older. One participant was 92 years old and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. In other words, if you’re ambulatory you should do just fine on the Kona Cloud Forest Walking Tour.
Some other points to consider prior to scheduling your place on this once-in-a-lifetime tour:
- Footwear: Closed toed shoes, tennis shoes, or walking boots. For your own safety, no flip-flops or sandals are allowed.
- Climate: While it may be beach weather down below, at 3000 feet elevation the temperatures can be twenty to thirty degrees cooler in the cloud first. Plan accordingly.
- Clothing: Long sleeved shirts, light sweaters, long pants are suggested. The moist environment can produce “fog-showers” so if you refer not to get wet bring your umbrella. Because of frequent rains from early spring through November it may be a good idea to bring along a change of clothes and a towel.
- Strollers: Because of the difficulty in navigating the cloud forest we do not allow strollers or other wheel-based transportation.
- Water and Snacks: Should you think you may require a snack or some water while hiking please feel free to bring them along. Neither is provided, but you’re welcome to provide your own.
- Restrooms: There are no restrooms along the trail. You will have an opportunity to use the restroom before the tour.
- Handicapped: At this time we do not offer services for handicapped individuals, nor do we have facilities available for handicapped.
- Bamboo Walking Stick: You will be provided a bamboo walking stick to help you navigate difficult areas of the trail. These traditional walking sticks will help you maintain your balance.
Make sure your cell phone batteries and cameras are fully charged as there will be ample opportunity to take pictures along this amazing tour.
Adults: 25.00, children under 12 are free with an accompanying adult.
Payment: We accept cash and major credit cards.
Tour Address: 73-1865 Hao Street Kailua-Kona Hawaii, 96740
Parking: Parking is available along Hao Street, just beyond our sign. You will be greeted on Hao Street to begin the tour.