HVNP: ‘Discover Your Park’ Stars During National Park Week

National Park Week runs from April 21 to 29, and this year’s theme, “Park Stars,” offers a galaxy of opportunities to get to know Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park better.

The public is invited to Join HVNP rangers, volunteers and partners and launch into new adventures. All programs are free, but entrance fees may apply. Registration is not required. Visit the park’s online calendar for National Park Week events and flyers.

Fee-Free Day on Saturday, April 21Kick off National Park Week  with a fee-free day.
WhenSat., April 21
Where: All fee-charging national parks in the U.S. are free, including Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, and Haleakalā National Park.

Guided Hike to the Ka‘ū Desert Footprints. Venture into the Ka‘ū Desert with Park Ranger Jay Robinson, and see footprints left by Hawaiian families who were caught in volcanic ash fallout during the 1700s. Learn how the latest research has changed our understanding about the footprints, and hear about the epic battles that raged between Hawaiian kingdoms on the flanks of Mauna Loa. Check out the new interpretive exhibit at the Footprints Shelter. This easy, three-mile (4.8 km) round-trip hike takes about two-and-a-half hours. Bring two quarts (two liters) of water, sun protection, snacks and raingear. Free.

WhenSat., April 21 at 11 a.m. (National Park Week fee-free day)
Where: Meet at the Ka‘ū Desert Trailhead on Hwy. 11, about nine miles south of the park entrance.

Be a Superstar on Volunteer Day. Join a superstar corps of National Park Service volunteers and help native plants survive by removing invasive, non-native plant species in the park. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. Want to learn more about volunteering for public lands? Visit www.volunteer.gov. Free.
WhenSat., April 21 (fee-free day & National Volunteer Day), at 8:45 a.m. to noon
Where: Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center

Guided Hike in Kahuku: Realms & Divisions. Experience the intersection of nature and culture on this moderately difficult two-mile, two-hour guided hike on Pu‘u Kahuku Trail. Explore the realms and divisions of the traditional Hawaiian classification system at Kahuku. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and a snack are recommended. Free.
When: Sat., Apr. 21 at 9:30 a.m. 
Enter the Kahuku Unit on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. The Kahuku Unit is located in Ka‘ū, and is about a 50-minute drive south of the park’s main entrance.

Dark Night Skies at Kīlauea. Find your park after dark, and join Dark Skies Ranger Pascal Nelson for an evening of stargazing. Learn about the Hawaiian cultural connection to an endangered resource protected by the park: dark night skies. Journey through time and explore nearby planets and deep space celestial wonders above the glowing lava within Halema‘uma‘u Crater. Pascal will answer questions and guide visitors through the night sky with and without a telescope. Free.  Subject to weather conditions.
WhenSat., April 21 (fee-free and the last day of International Dark Night Sky Week), 7:30 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Overlook

Celebrate Earth Day with Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Every day is Earth Day for the park’s non-profit partner, the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, who use recycled or recyclable packaging whenever possible in park stores. Planning to hit the trail? Pick up a reusable water bottle, available in a range of materials, styles and prices, and refill it at the Kīlauea Visitor Center or Jaggar Museum water stations. Consider a recycled water bottle sling, or a new book about Hawaiian geology. All purchases support park programs, including endangered honu‘ea (hawksbill turtle) and nēnē (Hawaiian goose) conservation efforts.
WhenSun. Apr. 22 (Earth Day), and all year long
Where: HPPA stores at Jaggar Museum, Kīlauea Visitor Center and online

Guided Hike in Kahuku: ‘Ōhia Lehua. On Earth Day, get grounded in the Hawaiian forest and learn about its most important tree, the ‘ōhi‘a, on an easy, one-mile walk in Kahuku. ‘Ōhi‘a are blooming now, but they are threatened by the new fungal disease, Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and a snack are recommended. Free.
When: Sun., April 22 (Earth Day) from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Enter the Kahuku Unit on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. The Kahuku Unit is located in Ka‘ū, and is about a 50-minute drive south of the park’s main entrance.

Guided Walking Tour: Kīlauea Military Camp Remembered. During World War II, Kīlauea Military Camp (KMC) was transformed overnight from a military recreation area to a detainment camp for Japanese-Americans. Follow in their footsteps with Park Ranger Keoni Kaholo‘a‘ā, a military veteran, on this easy, half-mile guided tour through KMC. Hear how detainees describe their experiences, and gain perspectives of those detained just hours after the war began. Free (park entrance fees apply).
When: Tues., April 24 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. 
Meet Ranger Keoni at the KMC Flagpole

Getting a Handle on Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. Rapid ‘Ōhia Death (ROD) is a threat to ‘ōhi‘a forests island wide, including many heavily visited areas in the park. Scientists working on the disease have now learned a lot about the fungus, how it spreads to new areas, and how it might be treated. J.B. Friday, extension forester with the University of Hawai‘i, will share the current understanding of ROD, how affected forests are being managed, and what you can do to avoid spreading the disease. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free (park entrance fees apply).
When: Tues., April 24 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Hawaiian Kāhili (Feather Standard) Demonstration. Create your own small kāhili pa‘a lima, a hand-held feather standard. Kāhili are a form of Hawaiian featherwork that traditionally acknowledged a person’s status and genealogy, and offered spiritual protection. They are beautiful examples of Hawaiian art. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free (park entrance fees apply).

When: Wed., April 25 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Guided Hike: Into the Volcano.  Join Park Ranger Dean Gallagher and witness the eruptions from Kīlauea Volcano’s not-so-distant past on this moderately difficult 2.7-mile (4.3 km) round-trip hike to the caldera floor. Discover how volcanologists study this remarkable landscape and what they have learned. Ranger Dean leads this interpretive hike down and up one of the park’s most stellar trails, Halema‘uma‘u Trail. Revel in the rainforest and learn about the native plants, trees and rare birds that thrive here. Connect to Hawaiian history and culture in this beautiful, sacred place. Sturdy footwear, water, light raingear, sun protection, and a snack are recommended. Free (park entrance fees apply).
When: Thurs., April 26 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Meet Ranger Dean at Kīlauea Visitor Center

Guided Hike: Off the Beaten Trail at Kīlauea Iki Crater. The four-mile Kīlauea Iki Trail is one of the park’s star hiking trails, a popular destination for hikers who cross a steaming crater floor through the intersection of eruption and native rainforest. Most leave without knowing how the crater was formed, or how three eruptions since 1823 have filled it with more than 400 feet (120 meters) of lava. Delve into the secrets of Kīlauea Iki with NPS Master Volunteer Charlene Meyers. Discover how fountains of lava from the giant brick-red cone, Pu‘u Pua‘i, jetted up 1,900 feet (579 meters) in 1959 and left behind a 50-foot (15 m) bathtub ring of lava residue on the crater walls. Allow five hours for this moderately difficult hike which has an elevation gain of 400 feet (120 meters). Bring water, a light lunch and snacks, rain jacket, sun protection and wear sturdy closed-toe shoes. Free (park entrance fees apply).
WhenSat., April 28 at 11 a.m. (about 5 hours)
Where: Meet Charlene at Kīlauea Iki Overlook parking lot

Guided Kahuku Hike: Nature & Culture. Hike the Palm Trail and be inspired by a place where hulihia (catastrophic change) and kulia (restoration) can be observed as the land transitions from the 1868 lava flow and its pioneer plants, to deeper soil with more diverse and older flora. Learn about native plants and their significance in Hawaiian culture. This moderate hike is about two miles and takes two hours.
When: Sat., April 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Enter the Kahuku on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. The Kahuku Unit is located in Ka‘ū, and is about a 50-minute drive south of the park’s main entrance.

Guided Hike to Keanakāko‘i Crater on Park Rx Day. A hike a day keeps the doctor away, just ask Master Volunteer, Charlene Meyers. Charlene will lead a hike on Crater Rim Trail to the edge of Keanakako‘i Crater on Park Rx Day, the last day of National Park Week. This moderate two-mile hike (3.2 km) traverses the Kīlauea lava flow from 1974 and reveals a “forest” of magnificent tree molds and lava tree formations. Look for tephra in the form of Pele’s tears from the 1959 Kīlauea Iki eruption, and long glassy filaments from the Halema‘uma‘u lava lake, called Pele’s hair. Hike to the edge of Keanakāko‘i, and peer into this ancient crater, once used by Hawaiian craftsmen who carved its dense basalt into stone tools. Bring water, a rain jacket, sun protection and wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Free (park entrance fees apply).
When: Park Rx Day, Sun., April 29 at 2 p.m. (about two hours)
Where: Meet Charlene at Devastation Trail parking lot

Write Your Own Prescription for Health on Park Rx Day! Step into a healthier future and go for a walk in the park on Sunday, April 29 – Park Rx Day. Hawai‘i Volcanoes has more than 155 miles of trails that range from short, easy walks on pavement to challenging treks into the backcountry. Craving a deeper connection? Schedule an Institute tour through our non-profit partner, the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and go in deep on a wild cave exploration, or a private guided trek tailored to your interests. All FHVNP programs support the park. Refill your Park Rx at any time—your park is open 24 hours a day, and so is the Friends’ website.
When: Park Rx Day, Sun., April 29, or any time of year
Where: Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

A Prescription for Fun in Kahuku. Join a guided 0.4-mile walk up to the top of Pu‘u o Lokuana, a grassy cinder cone in Kahuku. Learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka‘ū. Perfect for families with young children.
When: Park Rx Day, Sun., April 29 (Park Rx Day) from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Enter the Kahuku on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. The Kahuku Unit is located in Ka‘ū, and is about a 50-minute drive south of the park’s main entrance.

NPS Photo by Janice Wei