Hawai'i State News

Permits for backcountry camping in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park available online starting Dec. 14

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Beach at Halapē. Photo Courtesy: J. Ferracane

Beginning Dec. 14, hikers who plan to stay overnight in remote backcountry areas in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park will be able to make and pay for reservations online up to 90 days in advance through the Recreation.gov system.  

Reservation holders will still be required to check-in up to seven days ahead of their trip to pick up their permit and to get a safety briefing at the Backcountry Office, which is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day including holidays.   

Currently, backcountry overnight hikers can get a permit seven days in advance. Visitors to the new Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Backcountry Permits page on Recreation.gov will be able to make reservations 90 days in advance of their planned trek. Seventy-five percent of the backcountry permits will be available online. The remaining 25% will be available in person at the Backcountry Office seven days before your start date.   


Backcountry permits will still be available for walk-ins at the Backcountry Office, but payment must be made through the Recreation.gov system. All backcountry permits are $10 in addition to the park entrance fee payable by debit or credit card. The park’s Backcountry Office will no longer accept cash payments.  

“We are excited to offer a new online tool that gives local and out-of-state backpackers the option to make their backcountry adventure plans 90 days in advance,” said Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Chief Ranger Jack Corrao. “Many backcountry enthusiasts have asked us to provide greater flexibility in our permitting system and Recreation.gov allows us to do that.”   

More than 250,000 acres of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is managed as wilderness and is only accessible on foot. Each of the parkʻs eight backcountry sites (Halapē, Keauhou, Kaʻaha, ʻĀpua, Pepeiao, Nāpau, Mauna Loa Summit and Red Hill Cabin) are in remote wilderness areas and present challenging hikes. Each site offers its own distinct beauty with cultural and natural resources most visitors never experience.   


Preparation and knowing one’s limits are critical for an enjoyable backcountry visit. A backcountry planner, safety tips and detailed information about each backcountry site is available on the park website.

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