Destroyed by volcanic eruptions, popular trail at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park reopens

Nearly one year after the Kīlauea Volcano eruption at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, much of the famed Kīlauea Iki Trail reopened in time for this week's National Park Week.
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Nearly one year after the Kīlauea Volcano eruption at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, much of the famed Kīlauea Iki Trail reopened in time for this week’s National Park Week.

The national park, which protects one of the most active volcanoes in the world, closed on May 11, 2018, as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and flowing lava destroyed trails and switchbacks, park buildings, roads, water systems and other park infrastructure.

Officials ordered residents and visitors to evacuate or face arrest, as the flowing lava destroyed over 700 homes in the area. The park remained closed for 134 days last year due to Kīlauea’s unpredictable eruptions. Portions of the park re-opened on September 22, as repairs continued to make more of the park accessible to the public. While much of the national park and two-thirds of Kīlauea Iki Trail are now open, some areas remain closed for safety reasons. During the past year, park staff have had their hands full. They dealt with a hurricane, two tropical storms and a wildfire on Mauna Loa (another volcano in the park) and a federal government shutdown. Kīlauea is not currently erupting — although that could change — and there is no molten lava on the surface, according to the park website. Still, the volcano remains active, and scientists are monitoring its many moods.

If you go: Check the park website for safety information and updates, and be prepared to change your plans based on volcanic activity.Park officials will brief the public about recovery efforts at “Road to Recovery: One Year Later,” a special After Dark in the Park presentation on Thursday, May 9 at 7 p.m. in the upgraded Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium.

Articles and pictures by CNN

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