Explore the best trails near Kamuela with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Hiked in April as part of preparing for Peru in May. Temps were in the upper 40s so we just wore long sleeve shirts which was just right. The initial trail has a lot of loose cinder that feels like hiking uphill in sand. Had some minor altitude symptoms the first time so we used Advil prior to the second time which helped. Wogging down in cinder leads to stops to empty shoes. Looking forward to Peru.
Make this a priority for your big island visit. Fantastic, rugged, remote. Acclimate first - going from hotel to 9.2K parking, then up over 13K before lunch impacted us. Come prepared - there's nothing out there but up, up, up. Worth every step, and the view to the ocean and other volcano are remarkable. My son and I did the roundtrip from the visitor center, 6:30 AM to 4 PM. As is typical, a clear morning turned to rain below us, and we stayed just ahead of the clouds which topped out at about 11K feet. We went to the observatories at about 13.5K or so, but didn't hike around to the summit access trail. This trail takes longer up than the six miles indicate - steep, unrelenting, and very loose in some areas - just hard, but not technical or risky. We took the access road back, which added a couple of miles, but we were gassed and felt this was a safer option as we hiked back down into a storm.
Ske B. on Puukohola Heiau National Historical...
Easy trail to get somewhat close to the ancient stone temple. This wasn't my favorite hike but there is some interesting history here.
Having done an high altitude hike before, I thought I wouldn't have any problem doing this one. Error! Take time to acclimate to the altitude at the visitor center, it is worth it! So I made this 5-hours awesome hike while I had altitude sickness. But at least I could still take time to appreciate that desert view where you seem at the top of the world! Make sure to bring lots of water, and good warm clothes for when you get near the top.
We started at 12:15 PM, but I do not recomment it. For us it took 5 hours, but I know for many people it can take more, and you don't want to be caught by darkness. We saw the nice sunset at the top, and then proceeded to ask another tourist if he could take us down in his 4x4.
The hardest part is the first 3 hours. Then it's less steep. But keep in mind that as you go up, there's always less oxygen, so your heart has to work harder!
There seems to be almost nobody who climbs this mountain, which gives also, at some times, the sensation to be alone in the world. I greatly recommand it!
We rented a 4x4 Explorer from Harpers and went up Saddle Road from the Kona side. At the crest of Saddle Road, the world opened up into a surreal landscape covered in cinder cones; we knew going from sea level to almost 14000 feet would be quite an elevation change, so we decided to climb the short hike to the top of Puu Huluhulu to acclimate and take in the views. The trail started out from the left of the parking lot along a fairly flat path that then gently sloped up and then took a right turn up the cone. The area was like an oasis, with grasses and trees. The top had great views off into the distance, plus some cool views down the cone to the parking lot - it looked like you could just slide down the cone, but we decided against it as we would damage the environment plus could take a tumble through volcanic glass/rocks. Turns out the short hike was not quite enough acclimation and I recommend you also stop a while, maybe 20-30 minutes at the Visitor's Center. We drove right past it and while we didn't get headaches or get dizzy, but walking was a challenge when we first got out of the truck from less oxygen in the air. The whole trip was awesome and Puu Huluhulu really gave us a taste of what we saw up on Mauna Kea. Great short hike with some surrealistic views. Highly recommend this quick stop.
Five stars for the amazing scenery and the sense of accomplishment. Something less than that for the trail itself, which while impeccably maintained, is an absolute a$$-kicker. The first couple miles is on a 40 percent grade of loose cinder (almost like walking up a hill made of sand). For every 3 steps you walk up, you probably lose one of those from slippage. There are no switchbacks on this hike - just straight up. With a heavy pack, we usually average 2-3 miles an hour, here we were at just a shade under 1.5 an hour. You'll need a lot of water, because there isn't any cover, and you'll be sucking wind the whole time, but you won't mind because of the amazing views. We came from the Hilo side, and were in the clouds all the way until we turned off onto the Mauna Kea access road. While we couldn't see anything to the east because of the clouds, all of Mauna Loa and Hualalai were clear as day, and the panorama was spectacular. We started at 6:40 in the morning, and since we hand to be in Waimea by noon, we turned around at 9:10 after about 3.5 miles, so only halfway to the top. We could tell on our way down that a lot of people started around 7:00 (or perhaps they were just walking much faster than us). The walk down is MUCH faster, although you're likely to get cinder in your shoes, so consider bringing gaiters.
This was a major highlight of our trip to the Big Island. We went in February and wouldn't you know it snowed at the summit and had white out conditions in the drive down. Very exciting for a couple from Alaska to see it snow on such a beautiful tropical paradise! The altitude was not as big of a deal as previously thought but time spent at the visitors center certainly helped to acclimate a bit. Can't wait to return to hopefully some better weather where I expect the views will be amazing. A must see and bucket list check!
Undoubtedly the most amazing spectacle I've ever had the fortune of experiencing. Sunrise/sunset from the summit is, in my opinion, one of the things everyone should experience before they die. As far as hiking goes this is a very strenuous venture which, coupled with the high altitude (14,200ft?) at the summit, can prove impossible for some. Caution must be observed when hiking to spot the rapid onset of altitude sickness & hypoxia if one is not acclimated to higher altitudes (very deep, slow, conscious breathing throughout the hike will help prevent this). Also the temperature varies throughout the hike from freezing at night to blazing hot during the day, so one must account for this. Despite these factors, the hike is a must for everyone who is physically capable of completing it & somewhat adept at hiking difficult trails. Watching the sun rise above the cloud cover casting a silhouetted shadow of mauna kea against the clouds behind you; maybe even looking down (that's right, looking down) at airliners making their approach through the cloud ceiling into the islands; truly a sight to behold and one you shall never forget.
Extremely beautiful views and very mysterious, intriguing history here. Very well recontructed, large HEIAU (ancient Hawaiian stone temple) is the main feature of this area. The exceptionally large stones used to construct this temple are believed to have been tranported by hand from the bottom of Pololu Valley, many (40?) miles away, a feat that defies explanation today!