Hawaiian Legacy Tours
Hawaiian Legacy Tours
5
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
The experience of planting a Koa legacy tree is a must for any visitor to the Island of Hawaii. Experience the birth of a Hawaiian forest and plant your very own Koa Legacy Tree. Located on the slopes of Mauna Kea, this historic site was once the personal koa forest of King Kamehameha the Great- 1st King of Hawaii. Sadly, this land was cleared nearly a century ago to make room for farming and ranching. Fortunately, some of the old growth koa trees still reside on the property. These rare trees grow nowhere else on Earth and are being utilized as a seed source for all Legacy Trees to bring the forest back to its former glory. Be a part of Hawaii’s history and create the memory of a lifetime.Tree plantings can take place as dedications, memorials, or just as a way to have a deeply authentic and meaningful experience with the native plants and animals of Hawaii. Once planted you will receive a certificate detailing your tree's unique RFID number and GPS coordinates, allowing you to revisit your tree at any time via Google Earth.
Hilo, Hawaii

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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

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5.0
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johnsok5
Chicago22 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Our tour (myself, husband & 23 yr old daughter) was pretty focused on walking to the planting area, planting and then walking back. The area was beautiful and the purpose of Hawaiian Legacy Tours is important and worthwhile. Unfortunately, we didn't have the more informative or learning experience that others have had in the reviews. Our guide was enthusiastic, but this was the first tour she had done after joining the HLH team four months previously.
Written February 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

vstack002
Sydney, Australia6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Family
This was the highlight of our trip! My daughter had been gifted a tree for her 21st birthday so we decided to visit it and also plant a family tree. The tour guides were amazing and so knowledgeable. We were able to pick out our tree that we then went and planted. The whole family participated in the planting from digging the hole to finally watering it in. The experience was like a Hawaiian ceremony, something we will always remember. We had the gps co ordinates for my daughters tree and we boarded the atv and found it with no trouble. We headed to the lookout and overlooked the forest and out to the sea. I have never felt more at peace and one with nature.
Written March 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Greg V
Sacramento, CA6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2016 • Friends
Koa is known around here as the warrior tree for its strength, toughness and resilience. It is also one of world's most beautiful and treasured woods. Hawaiian Legacy Tours is the eco-tourism branch of the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation and Hardwood Initiatives. This is eco-tourism at its most ambitious and enlightened. We went for a half-day to plant six koa trees as a small family memorial grove, but came away with much more - a deep appreciation for uniquely Hawaiian ecosystems and a true celebration of Aloha spirit. This is an authentic working ranch with 5-star guest services. Well worth the time and energy. Next visit we plan to try the B&B. Well done HLT Staff!!!
Written January 28, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for taking the time to submit this glowing review! I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed your time off-roading and planting trees with us! We truly look forward to having you come back to visit your trees! Every experience on the mountain is different from the last! Thank you for spending that magical time with us in the forest!! We love it when others can appreciate the forest just as much as we do! Mahalo nui loa!
Written June 2, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

808Momx2
Honolulu, HI217 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2015 • Family
MALAMA KA 'AINA = "to care for the land"
How do you care for the land? Plant a tree! After I read Brandon's review, I knew I had to bring my kids to see this place. We've planted trees at our house, but we've never planted a Koa tree on the slopes of Mauna Kea, Hawaii's tallest volcano. The tour was scenic, taking us up to high altitudes on a 4x4 vehicle so we could see the entire forest in various stages of growth. Our guides were fantastic and really knew the land, pointing out various trees and special wildlife. My kids got to see an 'Io, a Hawaiian hawk, which is protected as an endangered species and only found on the Big Island. I had never seen one before so that was pretty cool to see it out in the wild.

GRAND TOUR (3.5hr):
This is a unique experience you will find nowhere else in Hawaii. I am going to tell you about our experience (2 adults, 2 kids) we had during the Grand Tour which also included a Koa legacy tree which we planted on the slopes of Mauna Kea. We have been to the Big Island many many times before, but this is definitely one of my favorite things we've ever done.

LOCATION:

This is on the BIG ISLAND, HAWAII on the slopes of Mauna Kea. You can't really put this one in your GPS. We came from Kona side (took about 90 min from Waikoloa), but you can come from either Hilo or Kona. If you go to their website to get directions, the directions will say "turn right after at Donna's cookies at the Kukaiau Ranch sign...drive 3.3mi through a winding road in the Eucalyptus forest...through the guard shack, pass the Kukauia Estates sign, watch for cows and horses, up 1.2mi to Umikoa Village, keep going until you see 3 houses". The scenery as we drove up the volcano looked like something straight out of a movie.

GRAND TOUR PRICE (3.5hrs):
$180 per adult (includes one Koa tree for planting)
$90 per child (ages 5-18, does not include a tree)

PLANTERS TOUR PRICE (2hrs):
**you get to plant your tree but don't get to see all of the forest**
$110 per adult (includestree for planting)
$55 per child (ages 5-18, no tree)

VEHICLE USED:
We rode on the Kawasaki T-Rex, which was a yellow off road vehicle. If you are the type to get car sick, you will get car sick on this. There is a roof but no windows. The weather up on the volcano can be unpredictable and totally different from sea level. It started to rain on us so we did get wet but we all had jackets, so be prepared.

THE FOREST
Because of the unique climate on Mauna Kea, the type of Koa tree that grows here is not grown anywhere else in the world. We have lots of Koa trees on Oahu, but they aren't valued like the ones grown on the Big Island. They started to clear the forest over a century ago to make room for farming and ranching, which wiped out almost all the Koa trees. Now they are trying to save the forest, so they have put up fences and gates to keep out the pigs, cattle, and hunters to allow the trees to grow once again.

PLANTING THE KOA TREE
We found our spot up in the middle of a field and my kids got to plant their baby trees. We got the certificate which has the GPS coordinates of each tree so we can go back and visit the tree later when it's part of a large forest once again.

THE TOUR
Besides planting the tree, which was pretty neat, the tour took us up and down the entire forest. It was bumpy, rainy, fresh, and definitely educational. We saw the lone koa tree, which was left behind from over a hundred years ago, and saw different forests at various stages of growth. We learned about different flora/fauna and wildlife only seen on the slopes of Mauna Kea. I don't remember any toilets during our 3.5hr tour, but I think they were going to put one up at the top of the vista soon.

So while it seemed like $540 was a ridiculous amount of money to plant 2 trees, I hope someday my kids will see their GPS certificate for their koa tree and take their kids back to the big island to show them the koa forest and teach them about MALAMA KA 'AINA.
Written January 9, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your kind words. We appreciate this feedback so others may also informed from the guests' perspective. We look forward to seeing you back up on the mountain with your ohana to visit your trees and see how much they've grown! Mahalo nui loa!
Written June 2, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

mtntopaloha
Honolulu, HI1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2016 • Family
In 2010, my dog Skamper died tragically. I was devastated. Mike Wilson of Legacy Trees suggested to a group that we both belonged to at the time, that a legacy tree be planted in Skamper's name. I was touched when I received the document with Skamper's tree coordinates. It has hung in my office for the past 5 1/2 years. When my sons and I were going to the Big Island for spring break, I told them that one activity we had to have on our itinerary was visit Skamper's tree. I didn't know what to expect.
It was a WONDERFUL experience. The crew who greeted me were so warm and embracing when we drove up. They told me that they'd gone personally the day prior to check Skamper's tree to know exactly where it was so they could take us to it. Such service! They welcomed us into their home. We all felt so welcome when we came in.
We'd signed up for the 2-hour tour. Jackie was our tour guide as we drove up that rough & muddy road, she explained things in an enthusiastic way as we got closer and closer to Skamp's tree. I choked up as we approached the tree. Jackie gave me the space I needed to be alone. We'd brought along another tree to plant which my son Julien had the honor of doing. Jackie was patient and kind with him as he dug into the earth. We spotted a wild turkey nesting in the grass and several more running on the road. Jackie was a great driver over that terrain and got out without complaint to open & close the multitude of gates.
Bring your phone to take photos, and if it's raining bring long pants, a jacket and even gloves. I'd highly recommend this experience to anyone who wants to experience not only a fun time, but to feel that you're doing something for the land, to give back to the islands that have given so much.
Written March 25, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mahalo for sharing your tour experience and visiting Skamper's memorial tree in person. What a great way to memorialize and remember your beloved dog. Your trees will be lasting legacies for you and your family for many generations. Thank you for allowing us to become a special part of your ohana and for your support in our reforestation program!
Written June 26, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Valdyfox
Lincoln, NE6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2016 • Couples
Legacy Tours' excellent website and Facebook page can tell you most of the tour basics and provide some stunning photos. For tour specifics, count on SUPERB customer service from their guides and concierge (in our case, Betsy :), so start there and read up. On to my own experience: I was born on the Big Island and wanted to so something special to reconnect and give back while on honeymoon. This was it! We booked a private tour and were taken by the kind and highly knowledgeable Bobby and Jackie on a fun ATV ramble through some of Hawaii County's beautiful rugged uplands, where we saw--and planted--gorgeous native koa trees. Turning a large Hawaiian ranch back into native koa-sandalwood forest is no small task, but the tour impresses on you how important (and fun) the work can be, how many others have been inspired to help and how lucky we are to have an opportunity to give back. The drive up from Hamakua was gorgeous (even spooky--Umikoa is WAY up the mountainside). Despite the lack of roads at the site, the ATV tour was surprisingly comfortable. And you'll wish the HLH house was your own, showcasing awesome artwork, woodwork, feather work and fresh, hot coffee and scones. Best of all, you plant a koa or sandalwood seedling of your own with the guides, water it in, and feel a piece of your visit become part of a venerable whole. You will see trees ranging from freshly planted to hundreds of years, with a chance to take good photos all along the way. Our morning was sunny, with several Hawaiian hawk (i'o) close enough to photograph. We made a wonderful (re)connection to this place and would go back in an instant.
Written March 17, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for spending part of your honeymoon with us and planting trees to give back to our islands. It is so exciting to hear that you had the opportunity to see the i‘o on your tour! We look forward to your next visit!
Written June 26, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jon F
Mililani, HI26 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2017 • Friends
Celebrating the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival is never complete without our venturing back to the Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods forest to plant a few more koa trees. Amongst the hustle and bustle of the very quaint and quiet town of Hilo, once a year, everyone and their Tutu descend upon this bay front town that sits on the slopes of Mauna Kea.

This year was no exception.

The Edith Kanaka’ole Stadium was packed to the brim with halau members, family, friends and others who came to experience the breathtaking dancing of the ancient style, Kahiko, and modern style, Auana, along with the anticipation of who will be the next Miss Aloha Hula.

During the day, many partake in the daily festivities of shopping at the vast amount of craft fair locations all over Hilo town. At the Civic Center, where the Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods booth was located with their koa and sandalwood tree display stands, Betsy and Jan with open arms greeting you with their signature KOA HONEY that's only sold at the koa farm, or once a year, during the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival.

Wednesday was the perfect day to plant koa trees. For the last few days, Hilo, like always, was absolutely pouring until we arrived with sunshine and blue skies all around.

As we make our way up the winding road from the bottom of the hill located just about 34 miles outside of Hilo town in Paauilo while driving through lush green meadows and a eucalyptus-lined road only to be met by stunning red ohia blossoms that completely covered the ohia trees. It was truly amazing.

Then, once you hit the fork in the road while bearing left, you could feel the anticipation of reaching heaven. And on the horizon, there it stands. Two rock walls followed by a vast amount of open space and several country style cottages with all the fixings including a horse stable and wooden tables located under a sleepy tree. Even the door squeaks as you open it and you are greeted with the sense that you’re at a very special place.

The smell of burnt wood and scones baking in the oven with crisp mountain air brushing against our cheeks and the rolling mist gently depositing dew upon our hair.

Is this really Hawaii or just a dream?

Suddenly, you hear, WELCOME! It’s Dayna, greeting you back, once again. And it hits you - you're home.

If this sounds incredible, wait there’s more - but you’ll have to experience it for yourself.

The breathtaking scenic views from the top of Mauna Kea to the Pacific Ocean, Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods has it all. Eucalyptus scent fills the air as you ride through forest and lush green grass floating amongst the rolling hills. Earthy scents envelop you everywhere!

Birds loudly chirping around you and the sighting of the elusive pue‘o gliding above you. With the reappearance of the endemic koa beetle and native plants such as the ohelo berry and the mamake plants, your trip to plant your very own koa tree marks a significant point in your life. Or, just simply planting a koa tree to help replenish the natural spring water feeding our lo’i will never disappoint and will make you yearn in anticipation of your next visit to HLH.

This was my 8th visit within 5 years to Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods and I just can’t wait until June when I will have the pleasure of bringing 27 of my closest friends to experience all the beauty while planting over 175 koa and sandalwood trees.

Malama pono, ‘A hui hou,
Jon
Written May 9, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
It brings me so much joy to hear that you enjoyed your time with us at HLT! Thank you for spending those magical timse with us in the forest! We love to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who share our passion for reforestation! We also love when others can appreciate the forest, bursting with life, just as much as we do! Thank you for this positive review! We look forward to seeing you again when you come back to visit your tree!
Written June 2, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

AustinWHaualalai
Kailua-Kona, HI36 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Family
My family and I had this experience the day before King Kamehameha Day, which is fitting as the area was once his personal forest. We loved the overall experience and the passion the employees had for their project. We dedicated trees to family and have loved seeing them on Google Earth..can't wait to see them grow! PS - The best kept secret is Diana's scones and home made lunch...she is a genius in the kitchen! Dress in layers and be prepared to be among the elements!
Written June 21, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for spending time with us in the forest at Hawaiian Legacy Tours!! We love it when others can appreciate the area just as much as we do! Thank you for taking the time to submit this positive review! We look forward to seeing you again! Mahalo nui loa. Aloha!
Written June 2, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

RussellRuderman
Keaau, HI2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2013 • Friends
I have taken HLH's tour twice now - I was so inspired and excited after the first tour, I returned with a few friends. This project is restoring Koa forests to thousands of acres that used to be Koa forests before logging and ranching destroyed them. As an environmentalist, restoring native Hawaiian ecosystems is one of the highest goals I can imagine. These folks are doing it right - innovative funding mechanisms, ground-breaking horticultural techniques that are yielding unprecedented success, and a pono attitude toward all they do. To see new Koa forests rebounding is simply one of the best efforts I have ever seen to help our planet - native birds and plants, carbon storage, responsibly harvested hardwoods, and more. As a state senator, I've had the honor of visiting many exciting and innovative projects statewide, and seen many examples of great work being done. None of my experiences surpasses this project.
I personally chose to invest in the project, and have advised several friends to do so, because I have never seen an investment opportunity as in line with my core values as Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods. But even if you have no interest in investing, this is an inspiring tour that will give you renewed hope for our planet and Hawaii's environment, and educate you on many issues facing Hawaii. Just knowing these talented, friendly, smart folks have dedicated their energies to such a project gives me great hope. Thank you to all at HLH, and keep up the great work!
Written November 6, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mahalo for your support in our reforestation project! We love sharing about our sustainable forestry practices and giving back to our islands.
Written June 27, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

The Purple Bee
Sherwood, OR140 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2017 • Business
It was raining when we did the tour and it was still absolutely wonderful. This project is reforesting an area that had been deforested for cattle ranching and wood production over 100-150 years ago.

You explore the site in an all-terrain vehicle - since there were just two of us we had a Kawasaki four-seater - it was surprisingly comfortable given the rough terrain and the rain! Apparently it doesn't often rain for the tours but we bought the rain from Oregon! Bobby thoughtfully provided towels for us to wipe the seats, damp towels with lavender essential oil to clean up our hands after the actual planting and a lovely hot towel at the end - I really appreciated the “spa” touches on an eco-tour.

Bobby was happy to stop so we could take photos anywhere along the trail - he was a truly marvelous guide.

Planting the tree is easy and Bobby even offered to dig the holes for us - although we love to dig in the dirt so we were happy to dig our own :) So you get a lesson in tree planting as well!

Your tree has an RFID tag, so you will always know which is your tree, which is pretty cool! You get a certificate with your tree coordinates and RFID number and you can come visit your tree on future tours.

Bobby was a wealth of information - this was the most interesting ecotour (or botany class!) I’ve ever taken! We learned all about Koa (Acacia koa) and Hawaiian Sandalwood ( Santalum paniculatum) trees, their growth habits, the wildlife they support, and history.

We also learned more about the invasive eucalyptus species and the primary reforestation, birds and insects that depend on these forests for their survival. The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative are doing important work but they make it fun and meaningful, not preachy.

This was a LOT more fun than I thought it would be. In fact, even though I live on a farm and regularly plant trees, it was my favorite thing we did this trip. I can’t wait bring my family back including the kids to plant their own trees so they can track them as they grow! I love the combo of low tech (dirt under your nails) and high tech (RFID tags) and then the ritual aspect with the watering of the tree. It was all very special.
Written July 20, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for taking the time to provide this amazing feedback! It is so GREATl to hear that you enjoyed your time with us at HLT! We love to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who share our passion for reforestation! Thank you so much for spending time with us in the forest!! We love it when others can appreciate the forest just as much as we do! Thank you for this positive review! We look forward to seeing you again when you come back to visit your tree!
Written June 2, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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