News Release

Kahuku Guided Hikes & Programs December 2018

Photo of Kahuku visitor "jumping for joy" in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park
Photo of Kahuku visitor "jumping for joy" in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park

NPS Photo/Janice Wei

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News Release Date: November 21, 2018

Contact: Jessica Ferracane/Public Affairs, 808-345-4216

Hawaii National Park, HI – Everyone is invited to participate in free guided hikes and programs in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in December. Visitors can also explore Kahuku on their own, Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 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. Kahuku is located in Ka‘ū, and is 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.
Celebrate “Holidays at Kahuku” on Sun., Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Buy local, and shop for handmade crafts starting at 9 a.m. Entertainment begins at noon, with Hawaiian music by Russell Mauga and Kīpapa, and hula by Lori Lei Shirakawa’s Hula Studio. Food booths, shave ice and a coffee truck will have ono (delicious) food and drinks for purchase. Sponsored by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
Park rangers introduce natural, cultural and historic attributes of Kahuku to the first-time or been-awhile visitor during 20-minute Kahuku Orientation Talks, held at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., Friday through Sunday. Meet at the Visitor Contact Station.
Guided hikes in December
Palm Trail is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop that traverses scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku offers. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, remnant native forest and volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures;  Sat., Dec. 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Hi‘iaka & Pele. Discover two fascinating Hawaiian goddesses, sisters Pelehonuamea (Pele) and Hi‘iaka, 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 Hi‘iaka and Pele program is offered Sun., Dec. 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Paths & Trails Guided Hike. Discover the Pali o Ka‘eo Trail, 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; Sat., Dec. 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.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; Sun., Dec. 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Realms and Divisions of Kahuku. Experience the intersection of nature and culture on this moderately difficult two-mile, two-hour guided hike on Pu‘u Kahuku Trail. Bring a snack for the “talk story” segment of this hike; Sat., Dec. 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Birth of Kahuku. Explore the rich geologic history of Kahuku. Traverse the vast 1868 lava flow, see different volcanic formations, including the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. This guided easy-to-moderate hike is offered Sat., Dec. 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 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 ‘ōhi‘a tree, and the disease, Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile (or less) walk; Sun., Dec. 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole). 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; Sat., Dec. 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Commemorate your trip to Kahuku and purchase the NPS Passport Book from the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association store and get your special Kahuku Unit cancellation stamp. A wide range of educational and cultural items are offered, and proceeds support your park.
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.
Kahuku events are posted to the park website,

Last updated: November 23, 2018

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