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“Kohala Canopy Zipline- gotta do it!”

Hawaii Forest and Trail
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Hilo Tropical Waterfall Tour
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Level Contributor
30 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Kohala Canopy Zipline- gotta do it!”
Reviewed December 2, 2012 via mobile

Great experience. Our guides, Matthew and Mattie, were articulate, experienced and fun. Matthew offered great information on the people, traditions and culture of the island during the drive to and from the hotel. The focus on safety was obvious. The course includes ziplines, suspension bridges and rappelling and can be done by vertually everyone. The course, and Matthew are highly recommended!

1 Thank CTC1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Honolulu, Hawaii
1 review
“Spectacular Mauna Kea Summit & Stars Adventure”
Reviewed November 28, 2012

This was definitely the best way to fully appreciate the ecology & astronomy of the area. Greg, our guide, was incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and helpful in accommodating everyone's needs. He kept up a comfortable narrative during the 10-hour tour, ensured everyone's comfort with parkas and mittens for the Summit and is a terrific teacher of the island's history. Although cloud cover prevented us from fully star gazing as we hoped, Greg's astronomy lessons (along with hot chocolate and brownies) were engaging and memorable. Visibility of the moon's craters and Jupiter's moons were just a teaser for the next time we visit! We were quite surprised that HF&T refunded 1/2 of the fee because of the cloud cover, as we had learned so much. Definitely worth a repeat visit!

Visited November 2012
Thank 33Kate33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waikoloa, Hawaii
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“They are AWESOME!”
Reviewed November 25, 2012

Twilight Volcanoes Tour Review

Yesterday my partner and I took the Twilight Volcano Tour on Hawaii Forest & Trail on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was a blast!

Mike, the tour guide and driver of the very comfortable van in which I would be spending about 12 hours, greeted us at the Waikoloa Queen's Marketplace pickup point. He had us sign some release forms, then we climbed aboard the bus and were greeted by the other adventurers that had boarded at the main location in Kailua-Kona .

Everyone was in a great mood, which I think was caused in large part by having such a small group of participants: just 14 plus Mike. There was only room for 2 more people, but we didn't feel crowded at all because of the very high ceilings and enormous front and side windows.

Mike welcomed everyone warmly, and began describing the dry grasslands as we drove uphill towards Saddle Road on our way to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. He pointed out the flora and fauna we encountered there and throughout the trip, and talked at length about the local ecology and the origin of the Hawaiian Islands on our journey. Hawaii Forest & Trail describes their tour people as Interpretive Guides, and Mike certainly was! We learned how the Hawaii Islands grow from and later disappear into the ocean, and how the first life arrived at the islands. We were also told about how man had changed the life and landscape of the islands since their first arrival.

We drove through Saddle Valley, which is bordered by the volcanoes of Mauna Kea to the north and Mauna Loa to the south. We stopped at a park just past a training military base for a pit stop. We universally chose to eat our provided sandwich lunch and drinks on the bus rather than there, as we were all eager to get to the park. Mike continued his colorful descriptions of the landscape as it changed from dry grasslands to rain forests as we came downhill into the Hilo area, the wettest city in the USA.

Passing quickly through the outskirts of Hilo and climbing uphill again to the park, we finally arrived and immediately drove to the Visitor's Center, where stopped for a little while before continuing on. As we approached the north side of Kilauea, we could see steam rising from vents off both sides of the road, which we visited later in the trip. Mike pulled us off the road a little further on, and we had an easy walk to the rim of Kilauea. Along the way we spotted shining little pieces of what looked like spider silk, only to find out they were a form of lava called Pele’s Tears. They looked like brown spun glass.

Approaching the rim, everyone in the group was struck by the view. At about 2.5 miles by 2 miles and hundreds of feet deep, the Kilauea caldera was stunning. Steam could be seen exiting from multiple spots on the floor of the volcano, but then we saw the smaller crater within Kilauea, called Halema`uma`u crater (I confess I had to look that up online). Spewing with force from the much smaller crater was what looked like steam, but it was actually steam full of sulfur dioxide.

From there we had an easy walk up along rim of Kilauea to the Jagger Museum, where we enjoyed terrific views of Halema`uma`u crater, viewed the exhibits, and perused the gift shop. Everyone on the tour talked with each other, and Mike was always there to answer our questions masterfully.

Climbing back into the bus, we headed down Chain of Craters road. Mike pulled over to the side of the road and we went exploring across a desolate landscape dominated by what looked like gravel and strange forms sticking up from the mostly smooth lava. The forms turned out to be the remnants of trees that lasted just long enough to make an impression in cooling lava. We also stopped at a place called The Devil’s Throat. It was a huge hole, hundreds of feet deep, which had appeared when some lava stopped after almost making its way to the surface. The ground had collapsed above the receding lava. There was a great view of hundreds of layers of lava flows that had built up the surrounding land over the centuries, but Mike made sure we didn’t get too close to the edge.

As we continued down the road, we cleared the rain forest and our views widened to encompass a stunning view of differently colored lava flows stretching down cliffs to the sea. Mike continued to explain what we were seeing as we drove all the way to the sea and stopped. We walked over smooth lava to the ocean’s edge, viewing some of the newest land on Earth in the process. There were sharp cliffs at the edge; no beach here! It was beautiful to watch the ocean waves beat against the sides of the cliff, and look up behind us at the enormous cliffs from where we had come.

Mike drove us a little further to the end of the road and set up dinner on the wind-protected picnic tables there, tablecloths and all, while we explored the surrounding environs. We all ate together at two tables, talking about what we had seen, learned, and discovered, as well as where we were from and what life was like there. We enjoyed the food (everyone had the chicken!), and Mike dished out some delicious chocolate cake when we were done. We watched the sun set as Mike cleaned everything up, then we all climbed back into the bus to return to Halema`uma`u crater.

Reaching the crater again, we all walked hurriedly through the cool evening air to the back of the Jagger Museum which overlooks the caldera. There we stood in awe as we got our first look at the crater in the dark. An eerie red glow filled the cloud rising from the crater, where there was just white before. The clouds boiled up from the hot lava, billowing upwards in fits and starts. We took countless shots and movies of the sight. The movies on playback were even more ominous, as the wind noise made it seem like the crater was growling while belching its gas.

We climbed back onto the bus for the last time for our two hour trip home. It was mostly quiet on the way back, but I got the impression most people weren’t sleeping, they were thinking about what they had experienced during the tour. Mike answered questions when asked, but mostly left us to our thoughts. He did a great job.

So should you take this Hawaii Forest & Trail tour when you visit The Big Island of Hawaii? A definitive, wholehearted yes!

Visited November 2012
1 Thank WaikoloaFrank
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Great day out”
Reviewed November 24, 2012

Our guide Taj was extremely knowledgeble and had great enthusiasm for his work. Unfortunately for us the day had extremely bad visibility which is not a frequent occurrence, however even with that it was still a great tour and he made it a memorable day.

Visited November 2012
Thank amk11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Amazing and unforgettable experience”
Reviewed November 24, 2012

After doing a LOT of research on the different tour companies, we decided to go with Hawaii Forest & Trail to go up to the Mauna Kea Summit after reading all of the good reviews. We are SO glad that we chose them and we had an absolutely amazing time on the tour. Our tour guide was Gary and, after meeting him at their headquarters, we got into a smaller tour van with him and started the trek up to the summit. We picked up a few couples at other hotels and every step of the way, Gary told us interesting facts about the Big Island and Mauna Kea. He is incredibly knowledgeable about the island and there wasn't a question that he couldn't answer. We stopped on the way to take a look at some lava rock and get some pictures, and then stopped again for a picnic dinner. This was much better than expected, we had BBQ chicken and they give you a full water bottle to bring up to the top so you don't get dehydrated. They also give you warm jackets and gloves to use at the summit. After dinner, we passed by the visitors center (they bring you there once it's not as crowded with other tourists) and Gary had us stop at a satellite near the summit. Once at the top, we stayed there for about an hour to watch the sunset but Gary kept the bus open so anyone who was too cold could sit on the bus and still see the sunset. Word of warning, it is VERY cold at the top. We had someone on our tour bus who was wearing shorts and he was freezing. I highly recommend wearing as many layers as you can so you can stay outside for the entire experience. After the sunset, Gary drives everyone back down past the visitors center to a private area where he pours hot chocolate and provides brownies, and you stand outside for a star show. Gary knew every constellation and star in the sky, and even though we had a few clouds, the view was absolutely incredible. We had never seen so many stars in our life. Gary set up a telescope and we viewed different types of stars and also had a chance to see jupiter and its moons! Once the star show is over, Gary lets you go into the visitors center since most of the other tourists have left and its much quieter. Once everyone is done, you get back into the bus and head back to Kona. We slept most of the way back and it went by very quickly. My husband and I agreed that even before we got to the top, the information Gary gave us about the island and the stops we made already made this tour worth the money. We were SO glad we chose Hawaii Forest & Trail and definitely ask for Gary if you go!

Visited November 2012
1 Thank LKO26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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