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Hiking in KahukuKahuku

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

 

Aloha mai kākou i na 'āina o Kahuku. (Welcome to the lands of Kahuku).

Round Trip Mileage: See individual trails below

Elevation Gain: See individual trails below

Gear: The trails in Kahuku are set two to three thousand feet above sea level, so it's a bit cooler. Boots might be a nice idea because footing can be uncertain on the overgrown trails at times. 

Weather: NOAA forecast for Kahuku

Learn about Hazards

Read my Disclaimer

Learn about Leave No Trace Principles

Map: Topographical Map of Kahuku

Download a National Park Map of Kahuku (.pdf)

Download a Trail Guide for Pu'u o Lokuana Trail (.pdf)

Download a Trail Guide for Kahuku Forest Trail (.pdf)

 

Overview: This 116,000 acre section of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park was added in 2003 by purchasing the land from a large ranch estate. Nearly doubling the size of the Park, Kahuku extends from Hwy. 11 west of Na'alehu up to the Mauna Loa summit caldera. This section of the Park is still in the development stage, but there are already several trails open. Kahuku is open on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Kahuku is closed on the 1st Saturday of each month. There is no charge to enter. There are portable toilets at some trailheads, but there is no water available. 

A reminder of the ranching days of Kahuku

Getting to the Trailhead: Kahuku is located between mile markers 70 and 71 on Hwy 11 southwest of the park in the Kaʻū District, about 45 minutes from the Park entrance. Drive through the gates and find a Ranger stationed a bit up the road at a main parking area with old ranch buildings.

Beautiful Kahuku

The Hikes:  Refer to the topographical map above for the hikes explained below:

Pu'u o Lokuana Cinder Cone Trail: This 0.4 mile trail climbs 130 feet to the top of this old cinder cone, once used as a quarry. Use the road to the left of the cinder cone at first and then find the route to the top. 

Pu'u o Lokuana Trail: This two mile trail follows old ranching roads through pastures and eventually crosses lava fields from the 1800s featuring lava trees, spatter effects, and other interesting lava features. You can walk the old airstrip back to the road for a loop.

Palm Trail: This 2.6 mile trail climbs 375 feet from the Lower to the Upper Palm Trailhead. The trail crosses old ranchland and travels over 1868 lava flows from Mauna Loa. It is possible to walk down the road to make a loop out of this one.

Kahuku Forest Trail: This 2.4 mile trail travels through old pastureland and forest and features a large forested pit crater along the trail. Both the Lower and Upper Glover Trailheads are accessible by a four-wheel drive vehicle. It gains 250 feet of elevation. It's possible to take a 0.8 mile spur trail from the northeast corner of the Kahuku Forest Trail that travels across more former ranchland and drops you off at a 1926 Mauna Loa lava flow.

Kona Trail: The Kona Trail travels for 3.8 miles across Kahuku pastureland. It also uses the Upper and Lower Glover Trailhead. It gains 300 feet of elevation. 

Forested Pit Crater