Great Ranger-Led Hikes Offered Through Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park's Kahuku Unit

Hikers enjoy the People and Lands of Kahuku hike. NPS photo.

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Kahuku Unit by offering free programs to introduce visitors and residents to the park's southernmost section from October through December.

For all activities below, enter Kahuku on the mauka (uphill) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5 and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection, and a snack are recommended. No advance registration is required, except for the Ka'ū 'Ohana Day, where registration is required.

People and Lands 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 have 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.

During the hikes you'll 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 October 13, November 17, and December 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day.

Palm Trail is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile-loop traversing scenic pasture 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 October 20, November 24, and December 8; each day from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

'Ōhi'a Lehua. There is more to the 'ōhi'a lehua tree than meets the eye. Learn about the vital role of 'ōhi'a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the 'ōhi'a tree, and the lehua flower. Visitors traveling through the park will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent tree in the Kahuku Unit. Pack a lunch to enjoy during the program. The 'Ōhi'a Lehua program is offered October 27, November 10, and December 15, each day from from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ka'ū 'Ohana Day. Keiki of all ages are invited to join park rangers and explore the park's southernmost section, Kahuku. At least one adult family member or adult must accompany the children. Enjoy a free lunch, and participate in cultural craft demonstrations. Bring a refillable water bottle, sunscreen, a hat, and sturdy hiking shoes. The event is free, but registration is required, call (808) 985-6019. Offered November 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.