Hawaii Volcanoes National Park reopens Uēkahuna after 3-year closure

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The sunken summit crater of Kilauea, post-2018, is seen from the Uēkahuna bluff area. (Courtesy: Janice Wei)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has reopened Uēkahuna, the cliff top at the summit of Kīlauea volcano, which has been closed to the public for three years.

Park officials also reopened a half-mile of Crater Rim Drive and Crater Rim Trail west of Kīlauea Overlook to the Uēkahuna bluff parking lot on Wednesday, June 9.

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A half-mile section of trail connecting Nāmakanipaio Campground to Uēkahuna and the public restrooms near the former Jaggar Museum site are now open.

“We are so pleased to welcome the community and visitors back to Uēkahuna, one of the most remarkable and revered sites in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park,” said Superintendent Rhonda Loh. “Data from multiple post-disaster assessments indicate the areas do not pose an immediate risk as long as people stay on trail and stay away from the cliff edges. The National Park Service will continue to closely monitor the area, and respond as necessary to any changes.”

Uēkahuna closed in 2018 during Big Island’s volcanic events, which included months of earthquakes, damaging ash clouds and the eventual collapse of Kīlauea summit. A section of Crater Rim Drive dropped into the crater, and many roads and buildings were damaged.

The National Park Service have made significant investments to ensure that the trails and Uēkahuna are safe to reopen. Crews installed cable trailing, repaired voids and cracks, and installed crack monitors between Kīlauea Overlook and Uēkahuna to determine changes that signal instability.  

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