Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Round Trip Mileage: See Below
Elevation Gain: See Below
This 116,000 acre section of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park was added in 2003 by purchasing the land from a large ranch estate. Nearly doubling the size of the Park, Kahuku extends from Hwy. 11 west of Na'alehu up to the Mauna Loa summit caldera. This section of the Park is still in the development stage, but there are already several trails open. Kahuku is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed on federal holidays. There is no charge to enter. There are portable toilets at some trailheads, but there is no water available.
Trailhead: Kahuku is located between mile markers 70 and 71 on Hwy 11 southwest of the park in the Kaʻū District, about 45 minutes from the Park entrance. Drive through the gates and find a Ranger stationed a bit up the road at a main parking area with old ranch buildings.
Gear: The trails in Kahuku are set two to three thousand feet above sea level, so it's a bit cooler. Boots might be a nice idea because footing can be uncertain on the overgrown trails at times.
Hikes: Download a Trail Map
Pu'u o Lokuana Cinder Cone Trail: This 0.4 mile trail climbs 130 feet to the top of this old cinder cone, once used as a quarry. Use the road to the left of the cinder cone at first and then find the route to the top. Once on top, follow the trail through the quarry and around back to the road.
Pu'u o Lokuana Trail: This two mile trail follows old ranching roads through pastures and eventually crosses lava fields from the 1800s featuring lava trees, spatter effects, and other interesting lava features. You can walk the old airstrip back to the road for a loop.
Kamakapa‘a Trail: This half mile trail ends at the top of a small cinder cone.
Palm Trail: This 2.6 mile trail climbs 375 feet from the Lower to the Upper Palm Trailhead. The trail crosses old ranchland and travels over 1868 lava flows from Mauna Loa. It is possible to walk down the road to make a loop.
Pali o Ka‘eo Trail: This loop is 2.1 miles long and requires you to walk part of the road. Park at either the upper or lower trailhead and follow the grassy trail through woodland meadows. This hike has 410' of elevation gain. This hike offers big views toward the ocean.
Pit Crater Trail: This difficult hike climbs steeply for 1165’ over a 4.8 mile round trip to view a pristine Hawaiian rainforest preserved inside a collapsed pit crater. Hikers must decontaminate their boots due to Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD).