Officials at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Thursday reopened Napau Crater and a 2-mile section of trail in Kilauea volcano’s East Rift Zone wilderness.
“We are excited to reopen more of the park to backpackers now that Kilauea is quiet and Pu‘u ‘O‘o vent is no longer an eruption hazard,” said Acting Superintendent Rhonda Loh. “Pu‘u ‘O‘o vent will remain closed due to its steep and unstable flanks, but hikers will be able to walk right up to its base.”
Previously, Napau Trail meandered 7 miles through geologically rich wilderness festooned with volcanic craters, historic eruption sites and a primitive tree fern factory and ended at Napau Crater Overlook. From the overlook, hikers could watch the then-active Pu‘u ‘O‘o eruption and camp nearby.
The reopened trail and crater will extend another 2 miles past the campground, making the hike across Napau Crater to the base of the vent 9 miles one way.
Other features on the moderately difficult hike include native rain forest 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 Napau Trail must sign in at the trailhead near the Mauna Ulu parking lot.
For more information about Napau Trail and how to obtain a backcountry permit for overnight camping, visit www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/hike_napau.htm.
Additional disaster recovery continues in the park, which sustained serious damage from the 60,000 earthquakes that shook Kilauea between April 30 and Aug. 4, 2018. The public is encouraged to stay informed about the recovery progress by checking the park website at www.nps.gov/hawaiivolcanoes.