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Kahuku Unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park extends hours and programs


Photo of Kahuku visitor "jumping for joy" in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park/NPS Photo by Janice Wei

Photo of Kahuku visitor “jumping for joy” in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park/NPS Photo by Janice Wei

Hawaii National Park, HI – Starting Wednesday, August 15, the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will extend its operating hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., adding an additional hour each day Wednesday through Sunday. Entrance and all programs are free. Kahuku is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Located on the slopes of Mauna Loa in the Ka‘ū District, Kahuku offers visitors five hiking trails and a 4.5-mile scenic drive (nine miles roundtrip) on an unpaved road to the trailhead of the new Pali o Kaeo trail (high-clearance vehicles are recommended). The 1868 lava flow, historic pasturelands, and a thriving forest ecosystem of native koa and ‘ōhi‘a await visitors eager for an off-the-beaten-path experience.

The park increased the number of days Kahuku is open after hazardous volcanic activity at the summit of Kīlauea closed the rest of the park for the safety of staff and visitors. Kahuku’s array of guided hikes, cultural programs and special events also increased. Here’s a snapshot of what’s coming up:

Delve into authentic Hawaiian cultural practices via ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) programs, held every Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. The programs last an hour and are free:

  • PÅ« Í‘ohe Workshop. Learn to make a bamboo trumpet, Sat., Aug. 18, 12:30 p.m.
  • Hawaiian Paper. Make your own paper from the wauke plant, Sun. Aug. 19, 12:30 p.m. (Wauke supplies are limited, please RSVP to

Kahuku Hikes:

NEW! Paths & Trails Guided Hike. Explore Kahuku’s newest trail, Pali o Ka‘eo. Walk along a two-mile, moderately difficult trail that offers spectacular views of Kahuku. Discover the paths people, animals and plants followed to arrive in this special section of Ka‘ū. Paths & Trails is offered Aug. 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

People and Land of Kahuku 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 lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawai‘i 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 Aug. 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Can’t make a guided hike but want to get to know Kahuku better? The Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will tailor a customized trek just for you. Contact Friends through their website. Proceeds support Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

August’s Artist-in-Residence is Hasan Elahi, a world-renowned installation artist whose artwork explores issues of surveillance, and sousveillance – using technology for documenting one’s own life. Elahi’s life changed after Sept. 11, 2001, when he was pulled aside at a Detroit airport and interrogated for hours following an erroneous tip. After months of grueling investigation by the FBI, he transformed the experience to forge his powerful and proactive artistic expression and opened up nearly every aspect of his personal life to the public through his art. Come to see how the park inspires Elahi in a presentation on Fri., Aug. 24 at 10 a.m. Learn more by watching his TED Talk:

Park rangers introduce the natural, cultural and historic attributes of Kahuku to first-timers during 20-minute Kahuku Orientation Talks at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Meet at the Visitor Contact Station.

Kahuku Coffee Talks are informal conversations on a variety of topics, held the last Friday of the month. Ka‘ū coffee, tea and pastries are available for purchase. Dr. Frank Bonaccorso reveals “A Day in the Life of ‘Ōpe‘ape‘a – the Hawaiian Hoary Bat,” and shares a 24-hour cycle of the only land mammal native to Hawaii on Fri., Aug. 31 at 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Save the Date for a Picnic in the Park! Come and join us in Kahuku for Hawaiian music and hula. Bring a picnic lunch or opt to buy lunch from food trucks on this family-friendly day. Supported by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Sun., Sept. 16, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is located on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, in Ka‘ū, about a 50-minute 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. Kahuku is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Purchase the NPS Passport Book from the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association store and get your special Kahuku Unit cancellation stamp.

Kahuku events are posted to the park website,

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