Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
180.00 ft (54.86 m)
Trail type
1.20 mi (1.93 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Kipukapuaulu Trail is a short and mostly easy trail through a section of forest planted with native and rare Hawaiian plants within Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

Much of the area around Kipukapuaulu has been spared by past eruptions of Mauna Loa, which allowed the area over time to develop a rich soil and an abundance of plants, birds and insects. While the area suffered the effects of cattle and goat ranching, Joseph Rock, a botany professor, would recognize the richness and rarity of this area, and would go on to plant other native and endangered species of plants here in an effort to save them from extinction. In the mid-1900's, the cattle, goats and pigs were removed and fenced out of the area.

Experts and volunteers have worked since that time to rid this section of forest of invasive plants, leaving a forest with the largest amount of biodiversity and more native tree species per acre than any other part of the park.

The loop trail begins 1.5 miles up Mauna Loa Road, at a well-signed trailhead. The path is a wide single track and is generally easy with a few short sections with steeper inclines and declines.

There is not much along the path - several signs display the Hawaiian names for the plants and trees, and a couple benches dot the route. The entrance of a lava tube is visible, though the park discourages visitors from entering due to the sensitivity of the habitat inside.

There are no amenities along the trail, and with the trailhead at an elevation of 3930', this area will likely be much cooler than other parts of the island.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Trail brochures available.


No amenities. Can get crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

3,930.00 ft (1,197.86 m)

Highest point

4,110.00 ft (1,252.73 m)


Family friendly
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures


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