Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge Viewpoint Set to Open April 30th

The new Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Viewpoint is slated to open to the public on April 30th, 2024, reports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The opening has been long-awaited and anticipated. Though the viewpoint was basically completed in 2022, what can best be described as paperwork issues have delayed the opening for a couple of years.

Located in Princeville, Kauai, the viewpoint will be the primary location for the public to view one of Hawaii’s most important wetland habitat sites for the recovery of several endangered birds, including the nēnē (Hawaiian goose).

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge Viewpoint

The new viewpoint will formalize public access to Hanalei NWR, providing views to the sensitive landscapes of the Hanalei Valley below that currently have limited public access. The viewpoint is intended to welcome and orient visitors to Hanalei NWR and Hanalei Valley while also providing educational and interpretive opportunities and an excellent location for photographing and enjoying views of the area, according to an environmental assessment of the project.

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge Viewpoint

The viewpoint is situated on a 5.4-acre parcel on Kuhio Highway near the main entrance to Princeville. The location features two lookouts with views of the greater Hanalei Valley area and the Halele’a Forest Reserve. The site includes parking for 25 vehicles, short-term parking for three small buses, primitive (vault) toilets and interpretive displays with information about the natural and cultural history of the area.

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge ViewpointThe existing viewpoint near the Princeville Center is expected to remain open.

Another viewpoint, located just past the Princeville Center, has been the primary lookout of the valley area for many years. The new viewpoint was deemed necessary due to the inadequacies of this existing overlook, which includes limited parking, uncontrolled vehicle access and the viewing area too close to the highway. However, under the separate jurisdiction of HDOT, no changes are expected for this viewpoint.

Once the new viewpoint opens on April 30th, the site will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays (closed Sundays and Mondays and on Federal holidays). Unfortunately, the restricted hours will still have many tourists visiting the old viewpoint, while photographers will be appreciating the old viewpoint for its golden hour photo opportunities near sunrise and sunset.

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge Viewpoint