Photo: Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park/Facebook

One Year After Volcanic Eruption, the Popular Mt. Kilauea Hiking Trail Is Open Again

News National Parks Hiking
by Eben Diskin Oct 8, 2019

A year after the devastating eruption of Mt. Kilauea in Hawaii, triggering over 60,000 quakes around the volcano’s summit, the popular Kilauea Iki Trail has finally reopened. The quakes had damaged much of the park, but visitors will be able to once again walk the four-mile loop from the rim of the crater to its floor — and now, they’ll be able to see the massive boulders that resulted from the quake.

Although part of the trail reopened in April, the complete trail hasn’t fully reopened until now, thanks to the efforts of work crews from nonprofit organizations like Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Despite their efforts, however, the park will never quite be the same. The lava lake in Halemaumau Crater near the summit has vanished, and the crater doubled in size, with the Jaggar Museum, containing geologic and cultural artifacts, now sitting dangerously close to the edge. The building was damaged so seriously, however, there are doubts about whether it will reopen at all.

Hikers on the trail can expect to begin their journey in a lush forest before passing into the floor of the crater. Here they will walk across hardened lava — the remains of a lava lake that existed as recently as 1959.

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