Climb Mauna Kea & Plant Sandalwood

by Hawaiian Reforestation Program

Disclaimer: This site is following COVID-19 protocols which are updated with the Hawaii State Department of Health and may restrict certain activities.

Located on the slopes of the world’s tallest mountain (when measured from the ocean floor), Mauna Kea, on the Big Island of Hawaii, was once covered by ‘Iliahi – native Sandalwood trees.  Tragically it was harvested to scarcity about two hundred years ago. At the same time the hoofed animals, sheep, cows, goats, and pigs have since devastated the once lush mountain montane habitat. This has left most of Mauna Kea’s landscape barren and harsh.

Since 2010, a 45-mile fence protecting the mountain’s higher elevations has been erected and is almost completed. Now is the time to replant the area. Join our team of environmentalists as we add to the diversity of the landscape. The plants we propagate are unique to the islands and in some cases native to the mountain itself. With your help, we will further our goal to reforest the high elevation’s critical habitat of keystone species, notably our beautiful ‘iliahi sandalwood. Your guide will be the famous Sandalwood Man who’s keen knowledge of revitalization has had the greatest impact on saving this eco-system which would otherwise remain in peril.

To schedule a trip please contact Hawaii Reforestation Program.

Phone: (808) 769-0683




  • Make a positive impact reforesting native Hawaiian Sandalwood plants
  • No wifi or cell phone signal reception, but a better connection to nature
  • Experience a secluded hiking trail on the Big Island’s tallest peak
  • Enjoy views above the clouds on Hawaii’s largest island yet one of the least populated
  • Learn from the famous Sandalwood Man

COVID-19 Update

  • Group size is limited to 10 volunteers

Know Before You Join

  • Must commit to the entire workday of 6 hours – absolutely no early returns or late joining
  • Must stay under the direction and supervision of park staff at all times, no leaving the group
  • Must be able to hike and stay on your feet over uneven terrain while performing gardening tasks while bending, kneeling, lifting, and stretching
  • Must be physically fit to work in high Altitude (above 3000 meters or 10, 000 feet) , in thin air and inclement weather
  • Mauna Kea measures 4207 meters (13,803′ feet), above sea level
  • No drop-ins, must sign-up in advance on this page using calendar link, where you will receive important conformations notes of where to meet and what to wear and bring
  • After booking using the calendar link on this page, follow instructions in the email conformation notes you receive to commit to the host directly that you intend to join
  • Must be 18 over in elite physical health and sign a release of all liability waiver onsite
  • Donation Suggested to support Hawaiian Reforestation Program
  • Note: Located on the Big Island of Hawaii (Not the same island where Honolulu is)

2 reviews

  1. leaves you breathless in a good way

    Even though its been almost a year since I last joined this activity, I still remember it like it was yesterday. In large part this is as a result of the positive impact I felt in knowing the decades of experience and charisma that our guide, Mark, a.k.a. – The Sandalwood Man, brought to high altitudes. His keen insights put into practice stand as tall and regal as the mightiest sandalwood trees that would not be there without him.

  2. Ayudemos a Hawai

    Me gustaría aportar mi mano de obra, para bien de la naturaleza y del turísmo de Hawai.

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