(BIVN) – As summer visitation increases at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, parking is becoming more of an issue at popular areas along the Kīlauea summit, which officials say is “leading to frustration and citations for illegal parking.”
According to a National Park Service media release, Tuesdays “are particularly congested at the summit”, when passengers from the Pride of America cruise ship make their way to the park.
“Parking is a mess on Tuesdays, but it’s a challenge any day during the busy summer months,” said Chief of Interpretation Ben Hayes. “On Tuesdays, expect to find zero parking at the summit destinations between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. It’s not unusual for traffic to be backed out onto Highway 11 from the entrance station,” Hayes said.
To help the situation, there is a new page on the HVNP website that shows the parking status at popular locations throughout the day.
Along with recommending “almost all of the sights along Chain of Craters Road”, which usually have ample parking around the clock, park rangers are offering these tips for visitors:
“Turn Left Tuesday.” Get into the left lane, and turn left at the entrance station to head down the 19-mile Chain of Craters Road towards the park’s dramatic lava-covered coast to avoid the crowds. Stop at the crater pullouts along the way, explore Mauna Ulu fissure eruption and Pu‘u Loa Petroglyphs, and enjoy scenic overlooks and the Hōlei Sea Arch.
Planning to hike Kīlauea Iki Trail? This four-mile trek is one of the most scenic and popular trails in the park. Plan to hit the trail by 7 a.m., and be out by 10 a.m.
Mauna Loa Road is well worth exploring during peak hours, especially in good weather. Kīpukapuaulu offers an easy, forested hike, and the views and birding are excellent along the way to the Mauna Loa Overlook at 6,662 feet.
Visit Kahuku. Kahuku is free, never crowded, and is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday. Located on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5 in Ka‘ū.
Timing is Everything. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours, 365 days a year (except for Kahuku). Explore the summit attractions well before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m.
“We want our visitors to leave with smiles, photos and memories that will last a lifetime, not a parking ticket or a negative experience. All it takes is a little planning and flexibility.” Hayes said.