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Nounou Forest Reserve



Nounou and Kālepa Forest Reserves (FR) together comprise approximately 1,393 acres of public land, and are located on the eastern side of Kaua‘i. Nounou FR lies to the north of Kālepa FR, separated by the Wailua River which is part of the Wailua River State Park.

Nounou FR was established in 1918 to protect the remaining forests, a small stream, and several springs on the leeward side of the ridge. At the time of its designation as a forest reserve, the intent was to reforest the entire ridge, to capture water from the “moisture laden wind coming off of the ocean” (Judd 1918). Nounou FR is generally characterized by steep, lower-mesic forested slopes. Vegetation is primarily non-native species, although there is some native vegetation in the upper areas.

Nā Ala Hele, the State of Hawai‘i trail and access system, has three interconnecting trails that provide public access to the Nounou FR; Nounou Trail East, Nounou Trail West and the Kuamo‘o-Nounou Trail. The three trails range from easy to difficult and all are approved for pedestrian activity. Only Kuamo‘o-Nounou trail allows bicycle and equestrian activity. 

Allowed Activities
Horseback Riding
Mountain Biking

Additional Information

Public Activity

  1. Hunting: DOFAW manages public hunting on all forest reserve lands on Kaua‘i by the regulation of hunting seasons, bag limits, and hunting methods. These two forest reserves are not part of any hunting unit, and hunting is not allowed in these two areas. General hunting regulations can be found in Chapter 121, HAR. Rule regulating game bird hunting can be found in Chapter 122, HAR, and rule regulating game mammal hunting can be found in Chapter 123, HAR. The Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) enforces hunting regulations. 
  2. Camping: Camping is not allowed in either Nounou or Kālepa Forest Reserve.
  3. Fishing: No fishing opportunities are available in these two forest reserves.
  4. Hiking: There are three Nā Ala Hele hiking trails in Nounou FR but none in the Kālepa FR. See section G: Access for more details.
  5. Horseback Riding: Horseback riding is allowed on the Nā Ala Hele Kuamo‘o-Nounou trail in the Nounou FR. See section G: Access for more details.
  6. Dirt Bikes, All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and Mountain Bikes: Dirt bikes and ATVs are not allowed in either Nounou or Kālepa FRs. Non-motorized mountain bikes may be used on Kuamo‘o-Nounou Trail.