Without volcanoes there would be no Hawaii. Fortunately for the world, Hawaii's volcanoes continue to produce their famous molten lava, which results in a growing mass of paradise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. One of the most spectacular spots to witness this natural miracle in action is on the Big Island of Hawaii at Volcanoes National Park, where two active volcanoes (Mauna Loa and Kilauea) regularly spout ash clouds, smoke and hot lava into the sea. Visitors can hike around the park and experience an incredible range of microclimates and sites, from rain forests to eerie lava tubes to spectacular views of the ocean. Volcanic activity is responsible for a new island that is currently being created in Hawaii, which would bring the total number of islands to 9 in the state's chain. Just off the southern coast of the Big Island is Loihi, an underwater volcano that has been erupting since 1996. The new island is scheduled to break the ocean's surface in about 250,000 years, so we have a while before we need to book our reservations.
This trail is a lot of fun because of the diversity it contains. Tropical rainforest changes to desert terrain crossing the crater floor. A level hike turns more challenging as you follow switchbacks down and then up on the other side of the crater. We used our poncho and trekking poles were helpful. Bring a small plastic bag and pick up occasional trash to keep the trail pristine.
Heather W. on Thurston Lava Tube Trail
this trail was awesome for my 2 yr old and full of life
Heather W. on Thurston Lava Tube (Kilauea Iki Tra...
this trail was beautiful and full of life
Great hike on Hawaii Big Island. Make sure you go to the visitor center and pick up an interactive map with lots of useful information as the trail has markers with some interesting facts. It makes this trail (rated moderate) excellent. As it is at 1000m+ elevation, it can get a bit cool and the weather changes quickly so pack a light jacket/raincoat just in case. To finish up at the Thurston Lava tubes entrance it is recommended you do the trail counter-clock wise (beside the fact that the markers will be in the right order). Totally enjoyable
Nice trail ! Really fun to walk on the lava lake. This trail is easy, not very long, it's easier to start from the number 1 to 15. Don't worry about the weather, it use to be windy so the weather change a lot quickly. Had to be done and don't forget to go to the lava tube at the end of the trail !
Jayson W. on Thurston Lava Tube (Kilauea Iki Tra...
Great trail. You actually hike into the crater. Be careful with the altitude, sun and temperatures; this isn't the same climate as your snorkeling excursion! Check the weather before you go. It can be cold, rainy, hot and sunny, or just about any combination. Lots of birds can be seen as well.
Fun trail to get a nice view of a wasteland-like crater. Be aware of the 4000 ft elevation, it may mess with your cardio. Lots of designated scenic photo stations clearly labeled for tourists. Do yourself a favor and cross the street when you get back to take a look at some neat lava tube tunnels.