National Park Offering Guided Hikes Through KahukuApril 17, 2015, 1:52 PM HST (Updated April 17, 2015, 1:53 PM)
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is offering a direct look into the past and present of historic Kahuku, an old ranching plot rife with volcanic landscapes and indigenous plant-life.
The 116,000 acre plot is nestled in the southern region of the park grounds, and is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday of the month. Free guided hikes will be offered during April – June this year.
The entrance to Kahuku is located on the inland side of Highway 11 in Ka‘ū near mile marker 70.5. It is recommended to bring sunscreen, water, raingear, sun protection, and a snack.
Visitors can explore on their own or join one of the following group programs:
Palm Trail: This moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop trails through pastures along an ancient cinder cone, offering scenic views of the horizon. Relics of the ranching era remain, with sections of native forest and volcanic features from the 1868 eruptions in the area. A guided tour of Palm Trail is offered on April 19, May 3, and June 14, from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Hi‘iaka & Pele: Learn about two prominent Hawaiian goddesses and sisters, Pele and Hi‘iaka, and their symbolism in nature. Their story will be shared over an easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. The program is offered April 25 and June 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Pu‘u o Lokuana: This brief, intermediate 0.4-mile hike leads visitors to a breathtaking view at the top of Pu‘u o Lokuana, a grassy cinder cone. Learn how it originally formed, and how it has been used over time. The tour is offered May 2 and June 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
People and Land of Kahuku: Experience the varied landscape and human history of Kahuku on a moderate, two-mile, three-hour guided hike. The hike weaves through native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites conveying the ways people have lived on the land, and adapted to the powerful forces that surround it. The tour is offered May 9 and June 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The Birth of Kahuku: Explore the geologic history and variety of Kahuku on a hike through the 1868 lava flow. Visitors will learn about the Hawaiian hotspot and the creation of the area encompassing the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. The hike is offered May 17 and June 28, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
‘Ōhi‘a Lehua: Learn about ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree’s vital role in native Hawaiian forests during this easy, one-mile walk. Visitors will be able to identify the characteristics of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku. The guided tour will be offered May 31 and June 27 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.