Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will fully reopen Mauna Loa Road to vehicles on Monday, October 8, along with Mauna Loa Trail, the 13,677-foot summit and both high-altitude cabins.
Permits are required for all overnight backpacking and for the Pu‘u ‘Ula‘ula (Red Hill) cabin and Mauna Loa summit cabin. The park’s backcountry permit office will reopen Monday at 8 a.m. Backpackers should be adequately equipped, experienced in wilderness and high altitude trekking, and physically fit. To learn more about Mauna Loa and how to obtain a backcountry permit visit the park’s website.
Mauna Loa Road, trail and its remote backcountry have been closed since May 11 due to damaging volcanic and seismic activity. Significant road construction continues on several sections of Highway 11 within park boundaries including one-way traffic stops at mile marker 30 and to the west. Motorists should drive carefully and be prepared for delays.
Visitors to Mauna Loa Road can see how native forest was impacted by a wildfire that started Aug. 4 outside the park. The fire burned 3,739 acres and came perilously close to the Kīpukakī Special Ecological Area.
The park’s coastal backcountry trails and campsites are scheduled to reopen on Fri., Oct. 19. Earlier this week, park rangers completed overflight inspections of the coastal trails and campsites and will hike out to the remote sites to prepare them for visitation.
Photo: Hikers descending Mauna Loa Trail from Pu‘u ‘Ula‘ula. NPS image.