DLNR Wiki Permits

Ainapo Cabin Division of Forestry and Wildlife


From the trailhead, the ʻĀinapō Trail ascends 7,600' over 10.2 miles to the rim of the Mokuʻāweoweo crater at the summit of Mauna Loa. Vegetation varies from koa and ʻōhiʻa forest to alpine stone desert. Ahu (stone trail markers) identify the route over pāhoehoe lava sections. The aʻā lava sections have a beaten trail but may be obscured during snowfall. 

  • An infrequently maintained, 4WD public access route leads to the ʻĀinapō Trailhead. The access passes through Kapāpala Ranch for 5.7 miles and Kapāpala Forest Reserve for 2.3 miles. See https://hawaiitrails.org/trails/#/trail/inap-road/23 for more information.
  • The ʻĀinapō trail begins at the 5,650 elevation and ascends 2,100 feet in 2.7 miles to the trail shelter in Halewai. See https://hawaiitrails.org/trails/#/trail/inap-trail/21 for more information.
  • The trail shelter has 6 bunk beds, a 400-gal water catchment tank and a composting toilet. Water must be treated before drinking.
  • Hikers who intend to travel to the summit must register beforehand at the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Backcountry Office. (808) 985-6178.
  • Single-day use of ʻĀinapō trail does not require a permit

* Please read the “Conditions & Hazards” tab before making reservations *


  • Begin at the gate located between the 40 and 41-mile marker on Māmalahoa Highway 11. 
  • Go through a locked gate using the combination issued by Kapāpala Ranch (see Conditions and Hazards tab).
  • Drive for 5.7 miles on the 4WD ʻĀinapō access road.
  • After passing through the Kapāpala Forest Reserve gate, continue for another 2.3 miles to the ʻĀinapō Trailhead.
  • Hike for 2.7 miles, ascending 2,100 feet, to the ʻĀinapō Trail Shelter at Halewai at 7,670 ft.
  • Regulated commercial activity allowed by permit only. (see https://hawaiitrails.org/trails/#/vendor-welcome)

If you are planning to hike to the summit, please contact the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Backcountry Office prior to your trip. (808) 985-6178.

  • Hike for 7.5 miles, ascending another 5,500 ft., to the Mauna Loa cabin on the rim of Mokuʻāweoweo at 13,265 ft.
  • This section of the trail is considered challenging. Those unprepared for extreme conditions should not attempt it.


* Please read the “Conditions & Hazards” tab before making reservations *

Special Conditions

  • Campers are required to contact Kapāpala Ranch for the combination for the locked gate. Users are required to call the night before entry between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and between 4:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. on the day of entry at (808) 928-8403. The combination is changed on a daily basis.
  • Campers must sign in and sign out. There is a log sheet in the mailbox on the entrance gate. Access is open during daylight hours only.  
  • Hikers who intend to travel to the summit must register beforehand at the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Backcountry Office. For any questions call (808) 985-6178.
  • Reservations can only be made no more than one month in advance.
  • No refunds will be given if requested within 15 days of your first scheduled camping or lodging day. 
  • For any questions contact the Hilo DOFAW office at (808) 974-4221. Office hours are M-F, 7:45 AM - 4:30 PM, CLOSED on weekends and state holidays.



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