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From the trailhead, the Ainapo Trail ascends 7,600` in 10.2 miles to the National Park Service cabin on the rim of Mokuaweoweo crater at the summit of Mauna Loa. Vegetation varies from mixed mesic Koa/Ohia forest to alpine stone desert. Ahu, stone cairn trail markers, identify the route over pahoehoe lava sections. The beaten trail over a`a lava may be totally obscured by snowfall. Rain catchment water is available at the trail shelter at Halewai at the 7,750` elevation. Purify water before drinking. Reservations and a free permit for camping at the trail shelter may be obtained from Hawaii District Division of Forestry and Wildlife, at 808-974-4221. Hikers continuing to the summit need to register with the National Park Rangers (808 985-6000).

Caution: The Ainapo Trail is difficult to the shelter and challenging above. Only experienced, well equipped hikers should attempt the summit. Weather conditions change from pleasant to life threatening in minutes at the upper elevations. Kapapala Forest Reserve and Ranch are open to public hunting year round. Bright clothing is recommended.

General Information: Do not use any trail or access road that is not delineated by name and color and that may also be displayed on these maps. The marked features are managed for public recreational use. Other trails or roads that branch off from the public features may be on private property, and are not managed for any public recreational use. Access is subject to adjacent landowner approval, and if used without authorization, you will be trespassing and possibly putting yourself at risk.

Directions: From Ka`u, Ainapo Road begins at the cattle guard located on the mauka side of Highway 11 in Ka`u, at approximately the 40.5 mile mark. Open during daylight hours only. Parking at either end on unvegetated sides of road and at trailhead.

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Big Island (Hawaii), Hawaii

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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