Volcanoes National Park will reopen two trails on Thursday
Two trails that were closed to protect native ʻōhiʻa trees from a deadly fungus will reopen in the Kahuku Unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Thursday, May 13.
The park has constructed a new ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD) rapid decontamination station to allow entry into the previously quarantined upper Kahuku paddocks. Hikers must pass through the gate along the main road to access the Kona and Glover trails, and will need to sanitize their shoes to remove fungal spores and mud. Research by ROD scientists and park staff underscores the importance of such practices in preventing the spread of this disease.
The public is encouraged to do their part to protect native forests by checking their personal items and vehicles for invasive pests before recreating them in natural areas and following remediation protocols. To learn more about ROD in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, visit https://go.nps.gov/12djlk.
“We are very happy to welcome visitors back to the Kona and Glover trails and to the visitor contact station where they can safely engage with our rangers again,” said the manager of Kahuku, Travis Heinrich. “Many members of our community have waited patiently for this and we thank you for your understanding. We urge everyone to comply with park policies to protect each other from COVID, and the ʻōhiʻa trees to be safe from ROD. “
The Kahuku Visitor Contact Station (VSC) will also reopen Thursday to visitors who responsibly recreate and follow COVID safety guidelines. Visitors are required to wear a mask in the VSC and other park service buildings. Masks are only needed outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained.
Kahuku Road over Upper Palm Trail to ROD Quarantine Gate is not recommended for low clearance vehicles. The road after the gate is closed to vehicles.
Hikers should consider the 1.2 mile one-way walk from the ROD Quarantine Gate to the lower Glover and Kona trailheads, a beautiful hike through wooded countryside with water reservoirs and cattle corrals reminiscent of Paniolo days in Kahuku. A picnic area en route to the trailhead offers panoramic views of Ka Lae (South Point) and the Kaʻū coast. Native forest birds and the rare mamo lehua (yellow flowering ʻōhiʻa trees) are sure signs of spring in Kahuku.
Glover Trail is a 3.2 mile loop with a vertical drop of 320 feet. Add the 2.4 miles to and from the trailhead for a total of 5.6 miles round trip. This hike culminates at the edge of a huge crater with pristine Hawaiian rainforest protected within its sheer walls.
The Kona Trail is a 4.6 mile loop with a drop in elevation of 520 feet. Add the 2.4 miles to and from the trailhead for a total of 7 miles round trip. Relics from the Kahuku ranching era, pastures and lava flow from 1887 define this trek.
The Kahuku Forest Trail guide is available at the lower trailhead in front of the visitor contact station. Hikes on the Kona and Glover trails require an early start. The Kahuku unit is open Thursday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is always free. Plan your visit to Kahuku on the park’s website: https://go.nps.gov/1bicpe.