Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness
General Trip Planning Information
All overnight backcountry hiking and camping requires a permit. Permits are free and must be obtained in person from the Backcountry Office at the Visitor Emergency Operations Center (VEOC) from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. The earliest you may obtain a permit is the day prior to your hike. We do not accept reservations or issue permits in advance.
We do not have streams in the park so backpackers must be self-sufficient and bring in all their own water. Some campgrounds have water catchment tanks (rain water collected from metal shelter roofs). Updates on their current water levels are available at the Backcountry Permit Office, 808-985-6178. Check with rangers when obtaining your permit!
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
Island weather is unpredictable. Visitors should be prepared for rain and wear layers of clothing to ensure their comfort while exploring the park.
At the 4,000' summit of K?lauea, temperatures may be 12 to 15 degrees cooler than at sealevel. Coastal areas are often hot, dry, and windy with the possibility of passing showers.
Hiking on Mauna Loa (13,677') requires careful planning and preparation. Check the weather forecast before making this hike.
Safety and Current Conditions
Health Hazards Many hikes are through exposed lava fields and lush rain forests. Pace yourself, drink plenty of water. Pack extra clothing and your sleeping bag in plastic for waterproofness. Raingear is essential. Stay warm and dry; hypothermia (low body temperature) is a killer. Be prepared for treating injuries caused by falls on sharp, glassy lava.
Volcanic Hazards Volcanic eruptions are possible at any time. In the unlikely event of a lava outbreak along the trail, move uphill and upwind of eruptive activity. Earth cracks, thin crusts, and lava tubes are numerous.
Fire Hazards Trails in the park traverse areas which contain very flammable grasses and brush. Open fires and smoking is prohibited.