Route: This infrequently maintained, unpaved, 4wd public access route passes through Kapapala Ranch for 5.7 miles before entering the Kapapala Forest Reserve and continuing another 2.3 miles to the Ainapo Trailhead. Except for non-native grasses, the forest reserve is an excellent example of native mixed mesic koa/ohia forest, offering many opportunities to observe native forest birds such as Apapane, I`iwi, Amakihi and Elepaio.
Directions: 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.
Kapapala Forest Reserve and Ranch are open to public hunting year round. Bright clothing is recommended.
Reservations and permits 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). Day use of Ainapo trail does not require a permit, however, hikers are required to contact Kapapala Ranch at 808-928-8403 to obtain the combination for the locked gate. Users are required to call the night before between 7:30 pm and 8:30 pm.to schedule entry. Lock combinations are changed daily and given out daily at the same phone number from 4:30 am to 7:00 am on entry day. Everyone using this public access will sign in and out on the log sheet located in the mailbox on the gate.
Trail Announcements: For Current Trail Warnings, Conditions, or Events Click Here
Hiking Safely in Hawaii Brochure: Click Here
Weather Forecast: Click Here
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.