Hawaii Volcanoes National Park hikes, programs and events

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Ranger Josie Acasio stands in front of the liquid galaxy tool while educating guests about the current East Rift Zone eruption Friday at Mokupapapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park rangers give presentations focusing on the Hawaiian archipelago and current eruption to the public at 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at the discovery center.

Everyone is invited to find their park and experience Hawaiian cultural programs, guided hikes and more from Ka‘u to Volcano to Hilo.

Until the partial reopening of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Sept. 22, park rangers will continue to enlighten and engage visitors from other locations. Rangers are offering new and familiar programs for visitors at the park’s Kahuku Unit, Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus, and the Mokupapapa Discovery Center in Hilo, all free of charge.


Join us for any of these upcoming park programs, now through Sept. 23:

Kahuku Unit

The Kahuku Unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is located on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, in Ka‘u, about a 50-minute drive south of the park’s main entrance. Sturdy footwear, water, rain gear, sun protection and a snack are recommended for all hikes. Entrance and all programs are free. Meet near the visitor contact station). Kahuku is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Our 20-minute Kahuku Orientation Talks introduce natural, cultural and historic attributes of Kahuku to the first-time or been-awhile visitor, and rangers also share the latest Kilauea eruption updates. Orientation talks are at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day: Noon- 3 p.m. Sept. 16. Everyone is invited to experience authentic Hawaiian music and hula, as well as food vendors and family friendly activities at the Picnic in the Park.

Music will be provided by the bands Shootz and Ke‘aiwa, and Debbie Ryder’s halau, Hula Halau Leionalani, will be performing throughout the afternoon.

Food vendors will be on-site or feel free to bring your own picnic. There will also be a health table and free blood pressure screenings. The event is being sponsored by the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Special art event: Meet Allison Leialoha Milham, September’s Artist in Residence, at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21. For the event, Milham plans on playing some of her music as well as the Queen’s, accompanied by the ukulele and her keyboard.

This event is part of the park’s ongoing Artist in Residence program sponsored by the National Parks Arts Foundation and the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Delve into authentic Hawaiian cultural practices via ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the skillful work) programs, held 12:30 p.m. every Saturday in Kahuku. The programs last an hour and are free. Park rangers and staff from the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association share their knowledge and passion for native Hawaiian crafts:

• Saturday, Sept. 15: Make a Haku Lei from natural materials.

• Saturday, Sept. 22: Make an “Eyelash” lei.

Kahuku Guided Hikes: People and the Land of Kahuku. This is a guided moderate two-mile, 3-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku.

Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land. Sturdy footwear, water, rain gear, sun protection, and a snack are recommended. This guided moderate hike is offered from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23.

Keep up with Kahuku events and visit the calendar on the park website, https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/kahuku-hikes.htm.

Mokupapapa Discovery Center

Find your park rangers at Mokupapapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Rangers provide daily eruption update at 2 p.m., which includes information about all five of Hawaii Island’s volcanoes, including Kilauea.

The center is located at 76 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo. Ongoing through Sept. 20.

Special Program: A special ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the skillful work) program will be held 10 a.m.-noon on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at the Mokupapapa Discovery Center. One of the popular desserts traditionally made in Hawaii is haupia.

It is made from the pia root and mixed with coconut milk or cream and steamed, boiled or baked into a pudding. Join rangers and staff from Hawaii Pacific Parks Association and experience the making of this cultural dessert.

Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus


You can also find your park rangers in Volcano at the Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus at 19-4074 Old Volcano Rd., in Volcano Village.

Volunteers are there most days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to provide information and answer questions about the current eruption. Ongoing through Sept. 20.