Kilauea Craters Trail is a 8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Volcano, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
Hiking inside the desolate crater of possibly the world's most active volcano. The volcanic activity that created the Hawaiian island chain hasn't yet finished working on what's know as the 'Big Island' called Hawaii. If you need evidence, look no further than the lava flows and gas eruptions that spill from the Kilauea volcano located on the south-east side of the Big Island. You'll find Kilauea at Volcanoes National Park where there's plenty to see even without stepping far from your vehicle. However, being hikers we'd suggest leaving your car by Thurston Lava Tube and setting out on an eight-and-a-half mile trek into the Kilauea pit crater itself, along the huge expanses of lava and taking in the Halema'uma'u crater-within-a-crater on the way. There's something other-worldly about walking across a desolate 4-mile wide crater over huge expanses of strangely patterned lava flows. Steam and sulfuric gases venting into the air are stark reminders that you're standing on top of an immense volcano, but the sight of flowers and other vegetation rising out of the cracks reassure you that the lava you're standing on is decades old. Elevation gain: - 800ft (from 3,500 - 4,100ft) Alternatives: - Consider the short walk through Thurston Lava Tubes located at the trailhead of this hike. - There's a shorter (5.2 mile) out-and-back route to Halema'uma'u Crater which begins and ends at the Kilauea Visitor Center.
Just marvelous. You start at parking lot and drop down through verdant tropical forest for half hour, that then opens onto massive lava plain. The trail is marked by ahu (stone cairns), important to keep track of in foggy conditions. Pass by numerous massive rock formations, steam vents and plants reemerging from lava fissures. Take the side path half way across to see the reddish depression that looks like a cave. Sit and enjoy the quiet and breeze while you ponder the miracle of earth. The walk across the lava field is about 45 minutes with a rest, then climbs back up through the birdsong filled forest back to parking lot. We emerged by Thurston Lava Tube so saw that, too. Ten minute walk back down to our car. Just the best!! Moderate hike for experienced hikers, harder for newbies. Take water, hat, camera, snack bar for a rest break.
There are so many trails around the crater rim. Some sections were closed when we went, so this only covers those areas that were open (mostly on the East side).
- Great views for most of the trail!
- Vegetation changes from rocky to lush and back.
- Steam vents along one section are fun and warm you up on a colder day.
- Trail intersects many other trails. Explore!
- Parking spots all along the trail so you can start and stop where you like.
- Easy. Everyone can hike this trail.
The Not So Good:
- No water. Bring your own.
- Some areas are in full sun. Plan accordingly.
- Some sections are closed due to volcanic activity. Check with the rangers.
Bottom Line: All trails around here are fun. Pick one and explore!