Backcountry Hikes - Halapē
Halapē is located on the southern seacoast of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and is a favored destination of hearty wilderness hikers. The campsite is 7.7 miles from the closest trailhead. The hike to Halapē is a grueling, hot hike through predominately non-native grasses to a small sandy beach where hikers may pitch their tents near the swaying coconut trees.
The campsite may be accessed from several trailheads;
For backcountry camping, there is a non-refundable $10.00 fee per trip (effective November 1, 2016), in addition to the park entrance fee. The fee is good for up to 12 people and 7 nights per permit. Failure to obtain a backcountry permit is a violation of 36 CFR 2.10(b)(8). Violators may be subject to fines up to $1000 and/or 6 months in jail. All eight backcountry campsites (Ka‘aha, Halapē, Keauhou, ‘Āpua Point, Nāpau, Pepeiao Cabin, Red Hill Cabin and Mauna Loa Cabin) require a permit, with a stay limit of three consecutive nights at one site. Campers can move to another backcountry site for the fourth night, but no more than 7 consecutive nights per permit. Stays longer than 7 nights require purchasing an additional $10.00 permit. Sites may be reserved up to a week in advance and are reserved upon receipt of permit fees. Fees for backcountry camping can be paid in person at the Backcountry Office by credit card, personal check, cash (exact change please), or online through pay.gov up to a week in advance of your departure. Physical permits must be picked up no more than 24 hours in advance from the Backcountry Office, open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Payments made through pay.gov require obtaining a permit number in advance by calling or emailing the Backcountry Office. You will enter this number into the pay.gov online form.
Off-site (dispersed) camping is allowed in the backcountry. Hikers must be at least 1 mile from a road or improved camp area and "out of sight and sound" of the trail. "Cat holing" is not allowed to dispose of human waste.
Campers may stay a maximum of 3 consecutive nights per site. A total of 16 hikers are allowed per night at Halape.
Backpackers to Halape should be adequately equipped, experienced in wilderness trekking, and physically fit.
Leave No Trace
TrailheadsServices are limited at trailheads. Water and public transportation are NOT available. 911 phones (for emergency use only) are located at Pu'uloa and Ka'u Desert trailheads. There is also a 911 phone at Kulanaokuaiki Campground off Hilina Pali Road.
During the day, temperatures can soar into the high 90s or higher. There are NO trees to provide relief from the sun. Carry and drink 3 to 4 quarts of water per person (per day). The elderly, infants, and those taking antihistamines and certain types of medication for high blood pressure or depression are especially at risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
The Heat Equation: High Temperature + High Humidity + Physical Work = Heat Illness or Death.
Seismic and Volcanic Hazards
See additional information about destructive earthquakes and tsunami:
Pesky and Dangerous Animals
Protect Precious Plants, Animals, and Archeological Sites
Turtles - Endangered Hawksbill sea turtles nest and threatened Green sea turtles rest on park beaches. Do not camp in areas posted as turtle nesting areas at `Apua, Halape, and other beaches. Federal and state laws protect all sea turtles from harm.
Fishing - Fishing along the coastline from the park's eastern boundary to a point midway between Keauhou and Halape is restricted to native Hawaiian residents of the Kalapana area. It is your responsibility to understand and obey all fishing regulations.
Swimming - There are very few sheltered swimming sites along the coast. Rough seas, high surf and strong, unpredictable currents are typical of the park's coastline. Avoid entering the open ocean. Help protect the rare plants and animals that live in tidepools and brackish ponds - rinse off all soap and sunscreen before entering them.
Pets and Stock Use - Dogs (except service animals) and other pets are not allowed on park trails or in wilderness areas. Horses, donkeys, and mules are allowed at some backcountry sites with a valid backcountry permit (limit of 6 animals per site). Tether livestock at least 100 feet from campsites in an area that presents no hazard or sanitation problems to other campers. Hikers encountering horse parties should quietly step off the trail and allow the animals to pass.
Leave No Trace - Pack out everthing you pack in. Do not put rubbish in pit toilets. Keep wilderness areas beautiful and clean. Practice Leave No Trace ethics when hiking and camping.
Post your trip journal on our webpage!
Give us your feedback - Let us know about trail, cabin, or campsite conditions. Did you notice anything damaged or dangerous conditions that rangers should be aware of? File a Trip Report
Last updated: November 26, 2018