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Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness

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The United States Congress designated the Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness (map) in 1978 and it now has a total of 130,790 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Hawaii and is managed by the National Park Service.


The Big Island of Hawaii is home to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and its active volcanoes. In order to protect humans from hazardous fumes, the areas surrounding erupting vents are closed to travel. The northwestern extension of the park holds Mauna Loa and is designated Wilderness. In the southwestern portion of the park, a large chunk of Wilderness includes several miles of coastline, a small portion southeast of the visitor center is the 'Ola'a Forest, which is separate from and just north of the park.

More than 150 miles of trail crisscross the park, mostly within Wilderness. The Ka'u Desert Trail curls across shadeless lava fields past cinder cones in the park's southwestern section and is currently closed due to fumes emitted from a new vent (March 2008) within Halema`uma`u Crater. The Ka'aha Trail leads hikers down the fault scarps of Hilina Pali to the ocean. The Napau Trail crosses lava from the Mauna Ulu Lava Shield (1969-1974) and follows above the path of magma flowing to the vent on Kilauea's east rift. You must remain on trails at all times to protect the fragile environment and to ensure your own safety. Camping is permitted with a permit, but open fires, pets, and fishing are not.

Planning to Visit the Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.