Ainapo Road

Like Dislike Save
Phone (808) 928-8403
Address Mamalahoa Hwy, Volcano, HI 96785
Rough, unpaved 4x4 only road on the Big Island.

• Hiking: Dogs Allowed • Hiking: Hiking • Hiking: Length: 10+ Miles • Hiking: Length: 8-10 Miles • Hiking: Level: Difficult
• Hiking: Major Elevation Changes • Hiking: Out & Back Trail • Sightseeing: Great Views • Sightseeing: Wildlife • Vehicle Activities: Off Roading

Ainapo Road is an 8.1 mile long (one way) unpaved, dirt road that's perfect for those looking to explore the Big Island with a properly equipped 4x4 vehicle if you're driving it. At the end of the road is the beginning of the difficult Ainapo Trail hike. The road begins at around 2,700 feet above sea level and ends around 4 ,900 feet above for a total elevation gain of around 2,200 feet.

The road / trail is accessed via the Mamalahoa Highway (11) at the point where we've marked on our map / directions page. Getting to this point is easy but to continue on you will need a true 4x4 vehicle (which is not the same as an all wheel drive vehicle) or will have to hike instead. Note this is a rough road that is infrequently maintained.

The first 5.7 miles passes through the privately owned Kapapala Ranch but day use of the road does not require a permit. You will, however, need the lock combination to get in so call Kapapala Ranch at 808-928-8403 the evening before to get that information. Beyond those first 5.7 miles you'll enter the Kapapala Forest Reserve and continue on for another 2.3 miles. Note that the forest reserve is a year-round public hunting area so wearing bright clothing is recommended in this area.

If you plan to do any camping then a permit will be required and may be obtained from Hawaii District Division of Forestry and Wildlife at 808-974-4221. Hikers continuing to the summit via the Ainapo Trail need to register with the National Park Rangers (808 985-6000).

Regardless of how you plan to use this road (vehicle or hiking), always make sure you are well prepared for adventures like this by reading Hiking Safety & Essentials before heading out.