Guided Hikes and Cultural Programs at Kahuku in HVNP

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Inside Pu‘u o Lokuana. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HVNP) invites the public to participate in free guided hikes, “Coffee Talks” and ‘Ike Hana No‘eau Hawaiian cultural programs in the Kahuku Unit of the park from April through June 2017. 

The Kahuku Unit of HVNP is located on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5. It is open to visitors for individual exploration on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sturdy footwear, water, rain gear, sun protection and a snack are recommended for all hikes. 

‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) are a new Hawaiian cultural demonstrations event at Kahuku on the third Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon. The activities are free and scheduled as follows:

  • April 21: Learn how to make tī leaf leis
  • May 19: Learn to make a miniature kāhili (feather standard)
  • June 23: Learn to weave small decorative fish out of niu (coconut fronds)

“Coffee Talk” gives participants a chance to get acquainted with their park and neighbors with an informal gathering to talk story on a wide range of topics. Ka‘ū coffee, tea and pastries will be available for purchase. Coffee Talks are offered free on April 28, May 26, and June 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.



Palm Trail: A guided hike of this moderately difficult, 2.6-mile loop hike will be offered April 23, May 28, and June 25, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The trail cuts through scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures.

Pu‘u o Lokuana: This short, half-mile hike to the top of the grassy cinder cone, Pu‘u o Lokuana, is offered May 20, and June 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka‘ū.  

Hi‘iaka & Pele: Discover two fascinating Hawaiian goddesses, sisters Pelehonuamea (Pele) and Hi‘iaka, and the natural phenomena they represent. Visitors will experience the sisters coming alive through the epic stories depicted in the natural landscape of Kahuku on this easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. The Hi‘iaka and Pele program is offered April 8, May 7, and June 17, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.


People and Land of Kahuku: A moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. It will be offered offered April 9, May 21, and June 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku landsfrom the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of HVNP. Learn about the powerful natural forces at work in this area and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land.

Realms and Divisions of Kahuku: Offered April 15, and May 6, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Experience the sense of place that evolves at the intersection of nature and culture on this moderately difficult two-mile, two-hour guided hike on the Kahuku Unit’s newest trail, Pu‘u Kahuku. Explore the realms and divisions of the traditional Hawaiian classification system at Kahuku. Bring a snack for the “talk-story” segment of this hike.

‘Ōhia Lehua: Learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ‘ōhi‘a tree, and the new disease of Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile (or less) walk. The ‘Ōhia Lehua program is offered April 16, May 14, and June 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Birth of Kahuku: Explore the rich geologic history of Kahuku during this guided easy-to-moderate hike offered April 22, May 27, and June 10, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.


Traverse the vast 1868 lava flow, see different volcano features and formations, and identify many parts of the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. Learn about the Hawaiian hotspot and the creation of Kahuku.

Nature & Culture: An Inseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole): This moderate, two-mile hike through the Palm Trail takes about two hours and reveals the hulihia (catastrophic change) and kulia (restoration) in land transitions from the 1868 lava flow and its pioneer plants, to deeper soil with more diverse and older flora. Learn about native plants and their significance in Hawaiian culture. The Nature & Culture program is offered April 29, May 13, and June 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Keep up with Kahuku events and visit the calendar on the park website and download the Kahuku Site Bulletin.

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