In 2018, a new eruption of Kīlauea volcano changed the island of Hawai‘i forever. From May through August, large lava flows covered land southeast of the park destroying over 700 homes and devastating residential areas in the Puna District. At the same time, the summit area of the park was dramatically changed by tens of thousands of earthquakes, towering ash plumes, and a massive collapse of Kīlauea caldera.
Although the eruption has ended, the park faces a challenging road to recovery. Damage to park infrastructure was severe and included wrecked buildings, massive rock falls, collapsed and cracked roads and trails, and numerous breaks to water and sewer lines. Recovery began in August with assessment and stabilization of park infrastructure, restoration of utilities, and mitigation of safety issues. Most of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is now open and welcoming thousands of visitors each day as the recovery process continues.
Rebuilding and Reopening a Park
Areas now open:
Chain of Craters Road
Crater Rim Drive to Kīlauea Military Camp
Halema‘uma‘u Trail via Crater Rim Trail by Volcano House
Most of Kīlauea Iki Trail
Pu‘u Pua‘i Overlook
Kīlauea Military Camp
Crater Rim Trail from Volcano House to Kīlauea Military Camp
Ka‘ū Desert Trail to Hilina Pali (the six-mile section west of Jaggar Museum remains closed)
Tree Molds off Mauna Loa Road
Hilina Pali Road is open to Kulanaokuaiki Campground to vehicle traffic, and to pedestrians and cyclists beyond
Mauna Loa Summit (may temporarily close on occasion due to severe weather conditions)
Areas under repair:
Crater Rim Drive from Kilauea Military Camp to Kīlauea Overlook
Hilina Pali Road beyond Kulanaokuaiki Campground
Kīlauea Iki Trail loop
Byron Ledge Trail from Halema‘uma‘u Trail to Kīlauea Iki Trail
Crater Rim Trail from Kilauea Military Camp to Kīlauea Overlook, and from Volcano House to Kīlauea Iki Trail
Areas undergoing evaluation:
Ka‘ū Desert Trail from Mauna Iki Trail to Crater Rim Trail
Crater Rim Drive and Trail from southwest of Jaggar Museum to Keanakāko‘i Crater
Nāpau Trail beyond the campground
A new loop between Crater Rim Drive and Crater Rim Trail near Keanakāko‘i.
Byron Ledge Trail along the edge of the caldera floor
Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) and parking remain closed as we await a final safety assessment report and improved parking plan.
Areas closed indefinitely:
Halema‘uma‘u Trail across caldera floor
Crater Rim Drive beyond Kīlauea Overlook
Crater Rim Trail from Kīlauea Overlook to Jaggar Museum
Devastation Trail section to Byron Ledge Trail
Jaggar Museum (buildings, road, parking lot, utilities)
May 17, 2019: The Federal Highways Administration has created a project web page for the work to repair park roads damaged in 2018.
May 9, 2019: 120 community members attend the “Road to Recovery” After Dark in the Park presentation where park leaders share recovery accomplishments and updates.
April 19, 2019: Most of Kīlauea Iki Trail reopened following extensive repairs to the earthquake-damaged trail. Park at Kīlauea Iki Overlook, and hike Crater Rim Trail towards the closed lava tube parking lot to pick up the trail. Hike in and hike out the same way, a 2.4-mile one-way trek. The section of trail leading to and on Byron’s Ledge is badly damaged and remains closed.
March 29, 2019: The park interdisciplinary team conducted a field survey for potential new trails.
February 26, 2019: The park interdisciplinary team conducted a field survey for potential new trails.
February 19, 2019: Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park reopens two trails and Mauna Loa Road - news release.
November 23, 2018: Crater Rim Drive between Keanakāko‘i Crater and Halema‘uma‘u reopens; park extends the open area of road several hundred feet to the second large earthquake fracture. This section of Crater Rim Drive remains open to pedestrians and bicyclists only and is not open to vehicle use.
November 23, 2018: Crater Rim Trail, from the trailhead at Chain of Craters Road, to the south rim of Keanakāko‘i Crater (approximately one mile), re-opens to the public.
November 23, 2018: The Ka‘ū Desert Trail from Highway 11 to Mauna Iki Trail, to the Mauna Iki Trailhead near Kulanaokuaiki Campground (8.8 miles of trail), reopens. Due to large amounts of volcanic ash, everyone is strongly advised to bring protective eye wear and an N95 dust mask if attempting this hike. People with respiratory illness and young children should avoid this trail when ash is present.
October 26, 2018: The Volcano House breakfast, lunch and dinner service resumes at The Rim, and Uncle George’s Lounge resumed its bar menu service - news release.
October 19, 2018: Coastal backcountry reopened - news release.
Hilina Pali Road is open to vehicle traffic to Kulanaokuaiki campground and is open to foot traffic beyond to the overlook. Most of the park is now open!
October 8, 2018: Mauna Loa Road and Mauna Loa backcountry reopen.
October 5, 2018: Mauna Loa Road and Mauna Loa i are scheduled to reopen Monday, October 8, 2018 (Discoverer's Day).
September 22, 2018: the park partially reopens - news release.
September 21, 2018: the park water system was inspected and certified to be potable (safe to drink) by Halema‘uma state authorities.
September 20, 2018: the park interdisciplinary team met with facility experts and a structural engineer to review initial assessments of park buildings damaged by earthquakes. Several assessment teams will submit detailed reports in the coming weeks to help park managers plan for long term recovery.
September 18, 2018: 149 out of 184 park buildings and structures have been inspected for earthquake damage. 26 out of the 42 wastewater systems in the park have also been inspected.
September 17: Park managers met to review final plans for the park reopening on Saturday September 22.
September 13-14,2018: Orientation briefings were held with permitted commercial tour guides at Kīlauea Visitor Center to review new park conditions, limited parking challenges, and what areas and facilities will open. Inspectors with the Emergency Relief of Federal Roads and Trails of the Federal Highways Administration presented their findings after assessing the park.
September 11, 2018: a Federal Highways Administration team began assessing earthquake damage on park roads and making emergency repairs.
September 10, 2018: Inspections of sewage lines at Kīlauea Visitor Center were completed finding no damage and the most critical public restrooms in the park are now determined to be safe for use.
September 5, 2018: The park announces a partnership with Mainstreet Pāhoa Association to loan exhibit features from Jaggar Museum to a visitor center site in downtown Pāhoa.
September 4, 2018: Assessments continue and the park interdisciplinary team meets for reopening planning.
August 30, 2018: A community "Talk Story" event about the future of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park was held at 10 a.m. at the Kahuku Unit.
August 29, 2018: 32 park buildings have been inspected for earthquake damage. The geomorphology team completed an initial interior inspection of Thurston Lava Tube. Further assessments with backcountry scanning are needed to determine if the lava tube is safe to reopen.
August 28, 2018: Non-potable water has been restored to nine park buildings including the visitor center. 17 park buildings have been inspected for earthquake damage. Water has not yet been restored to the Volcano House and the entire park water system remains unsafe to drink.
August 27, 2018: Assessments continue as a park backcountry team met to review initial findings and prepare reopening plans.
August 24, 2018: The geomorphology team resumed park assessments.
August 23, 2018: Hurricane Lane impacts the island becoming the wettest storm in state history with rainfall accumulations of over 52.02 inches measured near the park.
August 22, 2018: a National Park Service geomorphology team began evaluating seismic stability of areas damaged or potentially weakened by earthquakes. Results help determine what areas are safe for visitors. Later that afternoon, the park temporarily paused all recovery efforts in preparation for Hurricane Lane.
August 21, 2018: Superintendent Cindy Orlando announces the park has set a goal of reopening some closed areas by September 22 – National Public Lands Day.
August 2, 2018: Summit collapse events and heightened earthquake activity end.
May 16, 2018: Onset of summit explosions and ash plumes.
May 11, 2018: Most of the park closes.
May 10, 2018: Halema‘uma‘u lava lake drains. USGS scientists anticipate explosive events at the summit to begin in a few days.
May 7: The park reopens.
May 4-6, 2018: The park is closed to assess damage from the earthquake on May 4.
May 4, 2018: A magnitude 6.9 earthquake, the biggest since 1975, shakes the island.
April 30, 2018: Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō collapses.
Do you have a question about the recovery progress? Email us at e-mail us
Kīlauea summit on November 28, 2008
Photo courtesy USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Kīlauea summit on August 1, 2018
Photo courtesy USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory: Then and now. It has proven difficult to exactly match past and present views of Kīlauea's summit to show the dramatic changes in the volcanic landscape, but here's our latest attempt. At left is a photo taken on November 28, 2008, with a distinct gas plume rising from the vent that had opened within Halema‘uma‘u about eight months earlier. At right is a photo taken on August 1, 2018, to approximate the 2008 view for comparison.