Outdoor Program

Aloha and welcome to the Outdoor Program.

The HPA Outdoor Program's goals are to build community and connection to Hawai'i while teaching and fostering personal empowerment, risk management, resilience, and leadership skills.

As a reflection of these goals, we encourage students to be the main point of contact in joining and managing their participation on trips.

How to come on a trip:

  • Students should look at the calendar and decide which trips and programs appeal to you.
  • Sign ups will happen the first week back each semester via a google form sent to students. To sign up for trips after the first week, email outdoor@hpa.edu.
  • Rosters will be finalized and students will be sent a gCal invitation if they are on the trips or emailed if they are on the waitlist. Rosters are built to give the most students access to trips.
  • Students will confirm their commitment to come on the trip by RSVP-ing to the gCal invitation.
  • Students are sent a prospectus and packing list.
  • If students drop off a trip less that one week prior, they receive 3 demerits. Please take your commitment seriously as there are eager students on the waitlist and we want to make sure as many students as can go.
  • A week prior to a trip, the group comes together at a mandatory pre-trip meeting to connect, set goals, get excited and do gear issue. The program can lend students most gear they don't have.
  • Outdoor trips are a digital break - Students don't have their phones or computers on the trip. They can bring a camera to take photos if they'd like as long as it's not part of their phone. We often share photos via google photos after trips

FALL 2019 Outdoor Program Trips


Pololu Day Hike: Spend the day rope swinging in Pololu Valley and hiking under rainbows into Honokane Nui where we use ropes to get to the valley floor, explore a bamboo jungle, and swim in the river. 

Scuba Shore Dives: SCUBA certified students can sign up for these magnificent shore dive opportunities where we sometimes spot rays, octopus, and enjoy the wonders of the sea. We offer two shore dives trips this semester.

Waimanu Backpacking Overnights:  Twice a semester we take this amazing backpacking journey into Waimanu Valley. We'll leave after school , camp the night in Waipi'o Valley then start our 10 mile hike to Waimanu before dawn Saturday morning. We'll spend two nights in Waimanu; swimming in glorious waterfalls, hike back to Waipi'o Valley and be on campus before dinner on Sunday. 

Stand Up Paddleboard the Kohala Coast: Explore the rugged and beautiful Kohala Coast by sea on this Stand Up Paddle Board day trip.

Fishing Boats: Rise early and take to the sea.  Fish by boat and if you're lucky you can bring your catch home to grill on one of our dorm-front grills and share with your friends! We offer two fishing trips this semester.

Manta Night Dive and Snorkel: Slip into the ocean at night to swim with these gentle giants.  The Manta Rays are attracted to the plankton that is attracted to lights.  Some of these rays have 16 foot wingspans! We offer two manta trips this semester.

Kīholo Backpacking & Service Overnight:  We will backpack 8 stunning miles from 'Anaeho'omalu to Kiholo over lava fields, sacred places, turquoise waters, toe nibbling spa fishies, and ice cold ponds.  The rest of the weekend will be a beautiful weekend camping at Kīholo Bay and working with the Nature Conservancy and Mālama Aloha Kīholo to help restore ancient fish ponds.  There will be lots of time to relax and enjoy the tide pools water and black sand beach. We will leave on a Friday afternoon and return home Sunday afternoon. 

Night Tide Pool Adventure: Team up with our Marine Biology Class to explore the other world of tide pools at night.  You might see sleeping turtles, octopus, baby fish, and more! We offer two tide pool trips this semester.


  • Place based student leadership curriculum
  • Students are the point person for pre-trip communications with their families
  • The Outdoor Program can lend students any gear they need
  • Students attend a pre-trip meeting before the trip to go over the itinerary, gear, and establish group goals.
  • Digital break - Students don't have their phones or computers on the trip.


Outdoor Program trips are open to all students. The Outdoor Program offers a variety of trips to cater to different student interests, abilities, and expertise. The Program provides gear as needed. Rosters are built around a balance of providing student leadership opportunities as well as making sure interested students are given the opportunity to get outside as much as possible.


Other 2018 Outdoor Program Opportunities:

Friday Pau Hana Hill Hikes

There's no better way to end a week than to head up into the hills, sink your legs into the tall grass, feel the wind on your face, and fill your eyes with the breathtaking beauty of Kohala.  Students and HPA employees are invited to join the HPA Outdoor Program Fridays after school to hike and enjoy the hills behind HPA with special permissions from HPA and Parker Ranch.  We meet at the softball field behind GPAC at 3:30pm.

The rules are: Respect the land, one another, and this opportunity. No phones. See you there.

Wilderness First Responder Training

HPA offers wilderness medicine training in partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). We offer Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, and Wilderness Advanced First Aid courses here at HPA throughout the year. Email outdoors@hpa.edu to get on the mailing list for upcoming trainings.

If you work or recreate in the outdoors or in other remote environments where access to medical care is delayed or communication is unreliable, this 9-10 day Wilderness First Responder course is for you. It is the industry standard for professional guides, trip leaders, search and rescue team members, outdoor recreationists, and international travelers.

Upon completion, you will be able to conduct a thorough physical exam, obtain a patient history, assess vital signs, provide emergency care in the wilderness, and make crucial evacuation decisions.

Learn more about this year's wilderness medical training

  MORE outdoor program opportunities

Huaka'i: The HPA Outdoor Program partners regularly with classroom teachers to coordinate experiential place based field trips for our students.  

Skills Workshops: Throughout the year students can take workshops in knots, map reading, gear repair and more.

Service: Service is a component of all our trips, whether through collaboration with local organizations or cleaning and serving the land as we go.  The Outdoor Program also collaborates with our Community Service Program to expand outdoor service offerings for HPA students.