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General Safety

Sun Exposure & Heat Realated Illness

It can be very hot, sunny and humid, especially during the summer months. Protect yourself from heat related illness by staying hydrated. A water fountain and water bottle filling station is available at the Visitor Center. There are few areas in the park with shade. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Help protect Hawaiʻi's coral reefs by always using reef-friendly sunscreens. More information on reef-friendly sunscreens.

Obey All Warnings & Closures

Warnings and closures are posted for your safety and the safety of the park resources. Please obey any warnings that may be posted due to high surf, winds, or other dangers. Follow the link for more information on Alerts & Current Conditions.

Wear Sturdy Footwear

Walking along the rocky coastline or accessing the tidepools can be physically challenging. The lava rocks are uneven, loose and are sometimes wet and slippery. Wear sturdy shoes and use common sense.The ocean can be unpredictable.

In the Event of an Emergency

CALL 911. In the event of an emergency, your first action should be to call 911. Afterwards, if possible, notify NPS staff and they will respond accordingly. The nearest hospital is located in Kealakekua, approximately 8 miles north of the park on Highway 11.


 
A lava rock and sand trail extends ahead with vegetation lining the trail.
The 1871 Trail, part of the larger Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, extends two miles out from the Visitor Center to the park boundary.

NPS Photo

Hiking Safety

As you plan your hike on the 1871 Trail, please remember to consider safety. This hike takes you over rugged lava rock, along coastal cliffs, and through areas completely exposed to the harsh Hawaiʻi sun.

Bring Water & Stay Hydrated

A waterbottle filling station is available by the restrooms at the Visitor Center.

Wear Sturdy Footwear

The hike traverses over rugged, uneven lava rock. Sturdy footwear is recommended.

Use Sun Protection

Most areas along the 1871 Trail are completely exposed to the sun. The best way to protect yourself is with a hat, sunglasses, and clothing with sun protection. Please make sure sunscreens are "reef-friendly." Find out more about reef-friendly sun protection.

Stay on Marked Trails

For your safety and the safety of cultural sites, please stay on marked trails.

Give Wildlife Their Space

Observing wildlife is one of the great joys of hiking, but remember to give them their space and never feed wildlife.


Snorkeling Safety

 
People gather on the lava rock at popular snorkeling spot, "Two Step"
The popular snorkeling spot, "Two Step," in Hōnaunau Bay is located just outside of the park.

While snorkeling is not permitted within the park, the popular snorkeling spot, "Two Step," is located just outside of the park. Find out more about snorkeling in the park. Snorkeling is a fantastic way to explore the underwater world, but it can be dangerous if you aren't paying attention. Please plan a safe snorkeling experience and consider the following safety tips.

Check ocean conditions before entering the water.

Check for high surf and high wind warnings before you leave. When you arrive at your snorkeling destination, check the water conditions before entering the water. When in doubt, stay out.

Snorkel with a Buddy

Snorkeling with a buddy can be more enjoyable and they can assist in the event of an emergency.

Check your equipment before snorkeling.

Defog your mask and check your equipment before entering the water.

Be Aware of the Ocean's Activity

Never turn your back on the ocean. Large waves can appear with little to no warning. Always be aware of the ocean's activity, especially when entering or exiting the water.

Give Wildlife & Coral Their Space

Don't touch or step on corals and stay a safe distance away from all ocean wildlife.

Be Aware of Boat Traffic

The "Two Step" area is primarily a boat ramp, so do your part to stay out of the way of boat traffic.

For more information on how to plan a safe snorkeling experience, visit the Hawai'i Ocean Safety website.

Last updated: June 1, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO BOX 129
Hōnaunau, HI 96726

Phone:

(808) 328-2326

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