AAA Editor Notes
Mauna Loa Road branches off SR 11 opposite Kīlauea Caldera within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and reaches an elevation of 6,600 feet. A short turnoff leads to molds of trees formed when lava made a shell around the trunks. A trail at the end of the road passes through mountain parkland and, above 10,000 feet, enters barren lava fields to the summit of Mauna Loa. The trail, one of the island’s more difficult hikes, may be closed due to high winds or deep snow. Always check with rangers about current conditions.
Shelters at the 10,000-foot level at Red Hill and near the summit are available by permit on a first-come, first-served basis no more than 24 hours ahead of time. The road may be closed due to high winds or fire danger. The ascent of Mauna Loa can take its toll on the unprepared hiker in the form of severe sunburn, dehydration and acute mountain sickness. Hikers are required to register at the park's Visitor Emergency Operations Center before starting out for the summit.