Two trails reopen at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Two trails and a visitor station have reopened in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
The Kona and Glover trails in the park's Kahuku Unit were closed to protect native ohia trees from a deadly fungus. Public access was reinstated on May 13.
The park constructed a new Rapid Ohia Death (ROD) decontamination station to allow entry into the previously quarantined upper Kahuku paddocks. Hikers must walk through the gate along the main road to access Kona and Glover trails and will be required to sanitize their footwear to remove fungal spores and mud.
"We are so pleased to welcome visitors back to Kona and Glover trails and to the Visitor Contact Station where they can once again safely engage with our rangers," Kahuku manager Travis Heinrich said in a statement. "... We urge everyone to comply with park policies to keep each other safe from Covid and ohia trees safe from ROD."
The Kahuku Visitor Contact Station also reopened May 13. Visitors are required to wear a mask in the station and other park service buildings. Masks are only required outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained.
It is a 1.2-mile trek through wooded landscape from the ROD Quarantine gate to the lower Glover and Kona trailheads. A picnic area en route to the trailheads offers panoramic views of Ka Lae (South Point) and the Kau coast.
Glover Trail is a 3.2-mile loop with a 320-foot elevation change, with the 2.4 miles to and from the trailhead making the total roundtrip 5.6 miles. The hike culminates at the edge of a huge pit crater that is home to Hawaiian rainforest.
Kona Trail is a 4.6-mile loop with a 520-foot elevation change; it's a seven-mile roundtrip when including the walk to and from the trailhead. Along the way hikers will find pasture land, a relic of Kahuku's ranching past and signs of the 1887 lava flow.
An early start is recommended for both the Kona and Glover trail hikes. The Kahuku Unit is open Thursdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and entrance is free. Kahuku Road above Upper Palm Trail to the ROD Quarantine Gate is not recommended for low-clearance vehicles. The road past the gate is closed to vehicles.