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Hawaii Volcanoes reopens Chain of Craters Road

Visitors on the trail for hike to Puuhuluhulu. (Photo by Dave Boyle)


Superintendent Cindy Orlando has announced the reopening of six miles of the upper Chain of Craters Road from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

“Reduced sulfur dioxide emissions and strong trades allow us to expand visitor opportunities to safely explore more of the park,” Orlando said.

However, Hawaii Volcanoes is a geologically dynamic park, conditions change rapidly, and visitors are reminded to heed rangers and obey all area, road, and trail closures.

The eruption that began March 5, 2011 in a remote and inaccessible part of the park is in a pause. Scientists at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continue to closely monitor Kilauea Volcano and report on the current conditions at…

The reopened stretch of Chain of Craters Road winds past pit craters, lava trees, and expansive fields of pahoehoe lava. From the Mauna Ulu parking lot, visitors can hike three miles roundtrip over 1973-1974 lava flows and climb to the top of Puuhuluhulu, a 150 foot cinder cone. On a clear day, panoramic views include Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, and the Pacific Ocean.

The road is a scenic drive. It is also a favored habitat of nene, the Hawaiian goose. Drivers should slow down and look out for this endangered species. The grey and buff-colored birds walk across park roads and graze on grass growing on road shoulders.

Registered hikers can access coastal sites from the Ka‘u Desert Trailhead on Highway 11. Permits are required for overnight backcountry camping and available at the Kilauea Visitor Center.

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