The Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, located about an hour’s drive south of the park’s main entrance, is now open to visitors five days a week.
The new schedule is Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.
The extra days were added after two-thirds of the park closed on May 11 due to increased volcanic hazards. Visitors will be able to get a new Kahuku stamp in their NPS Passport Books.
Park rangers and volunteers from the Kīlauea section will join Kahuku rangers in welcoming visitors to the southernmost section of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Located on the slopes of Mauna Loa, visitors can explore the wide expanse of the volcano’s 1868 lava flow, beautiful native forest and historic pasturelands on foot.
Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, the park’s non-profit partner, offers fun, educational merchandise and other items that support the park and foster lifelong connections. Visitors can pick up hiking medallions, geology books and guides, park logo pins, vintage-style Hawai‘i Volcanoes hoodies and much more.
Free guided hikes and programs are also available. Informal “Coffee Talk” conversations are held the last Friday of most months, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Ka‘ū coffee, tea and pastries are available for purchase. This Friday, Keoni Keanu Fox will talk story about Waikapuna, an ancient fishing village and important cultural resource of Ka‘ū.
This weekend, two guided hikes are offered:
Sat., May 26, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole). 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.
Sun., May 27, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
‘Ōhi‘a Lehua. Learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ‘ōhi‘a tree, and the threat of a new fungal disease, Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile (or less) walk.
Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park 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 an hour’s drive south of the park’s main entrance. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and a snack are recommended for all hikes. Entrance and all programs are free.