Everyone is invited to participate in free guided hikes in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park from January through March 2018. Visitors can also explore Kahuku on their own on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
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 a 50-minute drive south of the parkʻs main entrance. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and snacks are recommended for all hikes. Entrance and all programs are free.
Birth of Kahuku. Explore the rich geologic history of Kahuku. Traverse the vast 1868 lava flow, see different volcano features and formations and identify many parts of the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. Learn about the Hawaiian hotspot and the creation of Kahuku. This guided, easy-to-moderate hike is offered January 13, February 10 and March 24 from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
‘Ōhi‘a Lehua. Learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ʻōhiʻa tree, and the threat of a new fungal disease, Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death. Visitors will identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile walk. The ʻŌhiʻa Lehua program is offered January 14 and February 11 from 9:30-11 a.m.
Realms and Divisions of Kahuku. Experience the sense of place that evolves at the intersection of nature and culture on this moderately difficult two-mile, two-hour guided hike on the Kahuku Unit's newest trail, Puʻu Kahuku. Explore the realms and divisions of the traditional Hawaiian classification system at Kahuku. Bring a snack for the "Talk Story" segment of this hike. Offered January 20, February 24 and March 10 from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
People and Land of Kahuku. This is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku land–from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped and restored this land. The guided hike is offered January 21, February 18 and March 18 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Puʻu o Lokuana. This is a short 0.4-mile hike to the top of the grassy cinder cone, Puʻu o Lokuana. Learn about the formation and various uses of this hike over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Kaʻū. This hike is offered January 27 and March 31 from 9:30-11 a.m.
Palm Trail. This is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered January 28, February 25 and March 25 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Hiʻiaka & Pele. Discover two fascinating Hawaiian goddesses, sisters Pelehonuamea (Pele) and Hiʻiaka, and the natural phenomena they represent. Visitors will experience the sisters coming alive through the epic stories depicted in the natural landscape of Kahuku on this easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. The Hiʻiaka and Pele program is offered February 3 and March 3 from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ʻOle). 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. The Nature & Culture program is offered February 4 and March 17 from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
- Phone: 808-985-6000
- Website: https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/kahuku-hikes.htm
- Hours: Multiple hours
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