Hawaii National Park, HI – Everyone is invited to find their park and experience authentic Hawaiian cultural programs, guided hikes and more from Ka‘ū to Volcano to Hilo.
While Kīlauea continues to shake the ground and blast ash from its ever-changing summit crater – causing the partial closure of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on May 11 – park rangers continue to enlighten and engage visitors from other locations. Rangers offer new and familiar programs at the park’s Kahuku Unit, Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in Hilo, the Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village and other locations – free of charge.
Join us at any of the above locations to take advantage of these upcoming park programs, now through Sun., Aug. 5:
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 3 p.m. Purchase the NPS Passport Book from the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association store and get your special Kahuku Unit cancellation stamp.
The 20-minute Kahuku Orientation Talks introduce natural, cultural and historic attributes of Kahuku to the first-time or been-awhile visitor, and rangers also share the latest Kīlauea eruption updates! Orientation talks are 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.
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. in Kahuku. The programs last an hour and are free. This coming Sat., Aug. 4, park rangers and staff from Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association will share their knowledge and passion for Lei Making in the tightly woven lei haku style.
Aug. 4: Tī Leaf Lei Making. Get a foothold on authentic Hawaiian culture and twist leaves from the versatile tī plant into beautiful and long-lasting garlands – using your foot to anchor one end!
Aug. 5: Kāhili (Feather Standard). Create a miniature version of the feather standard, a symbol of Hawaiian royalty.
Kahuku Guided Hikes
Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole). 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. This moderate hike is about two miles and takes two hours, and is offered Sat., Aug. 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Pu‘u o Lokuana is a short 0.4-mile hike to the top of the grassy cinder cone, Pu‘u o Lokuana. Learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka‘ū. This hike is offered Sun., Aug. 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.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.
Mokupāpapa Discovery Center. Find you park rangers at Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rangers provide daily eruption updates at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association (HPPA) has set up shop and offers a range of educational items, books and souvenirs for sale. Located at 76 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo. Free!
Hū Demonstration. Early Hawaiians devoted much of their time to games, amusements and relaxing. Top-spinning was an absorbing activity for children and making hū (kukui-nut top) was equally engaging. Join rangers and staff from Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association on Wed., Aug. 1, 10 a.m. to noon. Free!
Prince Kuhio Plaza. Come visit park rangers at the new Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association store, and learn about current volcanic conditions and what’s going on in the park. Proceeds benefit six national park sites in Hawai‘i and American Samoa. The popular Hilo mall, located at 111 E. Puainako St., opens daily at 10 a.m.
Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus. You can also find your park at the Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus at 19-4074 Old Volcano Rd., in Volcano Village. Rangers are there most days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to provide talks and answer questions about the current eruption. Free!
Park rangers also greet incoming arrivals at the Hilo International Airport, welcome cruise ship passengers as they disembark at the Port of Hilo, and inform visitors at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center most Sundays.