Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Reopens Nāpau Crater
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park officials reopened Nāpau Crater and a two-mile section of trail in Kīlauea volcano’s East Rift Zone wilderness on July 11, 2019.
“We are excited to reopen more of the park to backpackers now that Kīlauea is quiet and Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent is no longer an eruption hazard,” said Acting Superintendent Rhonda Loh. “Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent will remain closed due to its steep and unstable flanks, but hikers will be able to walk right up to its base,” she said.
Previously, Nāpau Trail meandered seven miles through geologically rich wilderness festooned with volcanic craters, historic eruption sites, a primitive tree fern factory, and ended at Nāpau Crater Overlook. From the overlook, hikers could watch the then-active Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption, and camp nearby. The reopened trail and crater will extend another two miles past the campground, making the hike across Nāpau Crater to the base of the vent nine miles one-way.
Other features on the moderately difficult hike include native rainforest, and fragile, fascinating lava tree molds. There is no water available at the campground, and all overnight camping requires a backcountry permit. Because of its remote location, day hikers on Nāpau Trail must sign in at the trailhead near the Mauna Ulu parking lot.
For more information on Nāpau Trail and how to obtain a backcountry permit for overnight camping, go online.
Additional disaster recovery continues in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park which sustained serious damage from the 60,000 earthquakes that shook Kīlauea between April 30 and Aug. 4, 2018.
The public is encouraged to stay informed of the park’s recovery progress by checking the park website.