Hawai'i Volcano Blog

Mauna Loa Lookout Improvements Scheduled

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Vehicles will have limited access to Mauna Loa Lookout for eight weeks, from Oct. 30 to Dec. 31, while workers improve the parking lot, toilet and picnic area for visitors with disabilities.

View of Kīlauea from Mauna Loa Lookout shelter. NPS Photo

During the project, the 11.3-mile road will remain open for pedestrians and bicyclists, but vehicles can only go as far as a designated parking area five miles below Mauna Loa Lookout.

The entire parking area at the lookout will be reconstructed and repaved, and a new picnic area will be added, along with a new vault toilet, at the top of the road.

Hikers will be able to walk around the construction area to access Mauna Loa Trail and backcountry sites like Pu‘u‘ula‘ula (Red Hill) and its cabin, but it will add mileageto the hike. Bicyclists will not be allowed past the construction site.


In addition, sections of the Kīpukapuaulu circular parking area will be used for staging materials and equipment during the project. No impacts are expected at Kīpukapuaulu Trail or day use picnic area.

Prepared hikers can also access Pu‘u‘ula‘ula, Mauna Loa summit and cabin, and other sections of Mauna Loa Trail from the Mauna Loa Summit Trailby driving up Mauna Loa Observatory Road. Backcountry permits are required for all overnight stays.

The Mauna Loa Lookout at 6,662 feet is an excellent vantage point for panoramic views of Kīlauea volcano, earlier lava flows, and the ocean. The subalpine woodland includes koa, māmane and ‘ōhi‘a trees that supportendemic bird species, including ‘i‘iwi. The octagonal shelter at the Lookout was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937, and is an excellent example of the National Park Service rustic architectural style.


The park regrets any inconvenience, and the public will be notified of any updates.

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