Hawaii Volcanoes National Park celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Kahuku unit this year by offering free programs to introduce visitors and residents to the park’s southernmost section in January, February and March.
“Lunch with a Ranger at Kahuku” starts this Saturday. Bring a bag lunch and join park rangers on select dates. Over lunch, rangers guide an open discussion on topics ranging from land management and conservation issues to environmental and cultural history. “Lunch with a Ranger” sessions are scheduled at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 12, Jan. 27, Feb. 17, March 17 and March 30.
To get there, drive through the Kahuku gate located on the mauka side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5. Park and meet at the visitor contact tent, near the ranch buildings. Check the activities board for the location and topic of the day. No advance registration required.
“People and Land of Kahuku” is a two-mile, three-hour expedition that explores the pastures, a quarry, an airstrip and the 1868 lava fields of Kahuku. Rangers explain how people lived on the vast Kahuku lands, from the earliest Hawaiians through today. Walk in emerging native forest, hear about Kahuku’s history of violent earthquakes and eruptions and the residents who survived them, and find out how the National Park Service plans to restore and protect the native ecosystem and cultural sites.
The guided hike is offered Jan. 13, Jan. 20, Feb. 9, Feb. 23, March 10, and March 24 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Park and meet at the visitor contact tent, near the ranch buildings. Boots, raingear, long pants, plus water and a snack are recommended. No advance registration required.
“Palm Trail” is a relatively easy 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures.
A guided hike of the Palm Trail is offered Jan. 19, Feb. 10, and March 16 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Park and meet at the visitor contact tent, near the ranch buildings. Boots, raingear, long pants, plus water and a snack are recommended. No advance registration required.