Explore big island - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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walking
4 days ago

Worth the 3 miles there and back. Went at 8am and had the beach to ourselves. Left at like 11 and there were wayyy too many people on the beach, walking down, hitching rides and parking. Go early if you want an experience and not a fight for some sand!

Grueling as a day trip. Break it up over a few days and camp while you’re in the valley. Pack light with lots of water.....

Gorgeous but still very grueling.

hiking
10 days ago

Stellar hike and views! Very muddy at times—microspikes recommended but not necessary. There are some little hills down in the valley to walk around on. One could camp down there if one wished.

backpacking
10 days ago

Stellar hike and views! Very muddy, and I caught it on two consecutive days without rain. Microspikes recommended. Could hike in and out as a beastly day trip, and I even saw two people trail running it. Keep your tent zipped at all times to avoid centipede bites!

Stellar hike and views! Very muddy, and I caught it on two consecutive days without rain—which I’ve been told is unusual. Microspikes recommended. Could hike in and out as a beastly day trip, and I even saw two people trail running it. Keep your tent zipped at all times to avoid centipede bites!

Great hike. Ends at one of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever visit.

hiking
13 days ago

This was the hardest trail I've ever done and I was notably unprepared. It's really not anything you can physically train for in my opinion. Its not a muscular thing, its definitely and elevation thing. I did this hike yesterday and today my muscles feel great, so its not that kind of strain. I've been doing 4000 footers in New Hampshire and some US high points, where you gain 4000+ feet of elevation, but let me tell you, elevation sickness is no joke. This was my first time breaking 10k feet and I noticed even at the visitors center haha. I felt out of breath, dizzy, nauseous and exhausted the entire hike. Breaks help but only a little. I usually dont even drink the 2 liters I bring on other mountains but I drained 3Ls half a mile from the summit. Bring more food and water than you think you need! It took me about 5.5 hours to reach the summit, be prepared for cold and wind! That being said, I learned the hard way that elevations effect me, hopefully you're luckier than I am :)

Hi,
I'm going to be doing this hike tomorrow. What are the options for parking ?

15 days ago

Fun and muddy hike down. Great lookouts along the way. It’s fun to walk around and explore once you reach the bottom. The trees, ocean, little trails around the area can keep you occupied for awhile! Lots of great photos opps here. There was a rope swing on the top of the hill -Doooo ittttttt. I wouldn’t swim there but only because we saw about a 1,000 Portuguese man of war creatures along the beach. Bring a rain coat and wear your tennis shoes.

15 days ago

Just FYI, I’m not a pro hiker.

I did this hike solo and trail is mostly easy to follow but got a little off trail at the last ~1mi, I didn’t see where the trail resumed after ‘Park 3’ (probably bc I’m not great with directions and I took a quick detour ~.25mi to take a peek at the mysterious lake, pretty cool, no swimming). Its mostly uphill, so it’s not for the weary hearted/minded. I went in January and was welcomed with clear skies and crisp wind to keep you cool throughout your ascent. It even stayed clear throughout the night +nearly new moon which was clutch for observing the Quadrantid Meteor shower. BRING LAYERS/BEANIE/GLOVES for the summit if you plan to be there after 3pm! I started in a tank and added a layer probably every 2,000’. At first summit will be refreshing but it gets cold up there. I’m not much of an experienced hiker so I took plenty of breaks (this is my first hike breaking 10,000’), but it’s definitely a doable struggle for the able-bodied and strong-willed. Altitude sickness didn’t hit me, it was mostly my endurance that slowed me down. I got a late start and I t took me about ~<7hrs (you can probably crush it in 5 if you’re badass) and I made it right before sunset! If you love astrophotography, the VIS is a good place to stay after your hike to observe the cosmos. I recommend the picnic tables off the side of the building to minimize cars/headlights distorting your view. I did this hike to test my abilities. Im glad to say that I did it but I’m on the fence about doing it again (definitely not alone though).

I did it today and started at 7 am hiking.Was a nice day, took me 4 hours 50 min for 18 km. I would do it again and would even start 30 min earlier to enjoy the sunrise higher up

on Pololu Trail

18 days ago

Great little hike with fabulous views on the trail down. Be sure to take a ride on the rope swing !

18 days ago

Fabulous short hike. Definitely wear footwear with decent traction As going down can be a slippery affair with lots of rocks and mud. Take your time hiking down taking in the spectacular views and you will be rewarded with a fun walk on a black sand beach.

If you cross the forest on the top of the first climb, be really careful as the path is not well marked. It will take you two hours just for this section and it is really technically hard.
But that forest is beautiful and the atmosphere is magic.

Great beach trail with plenty of areas to explore. Get there early to avoid all the shuttles that start taking over the road in the afternoon. Recommend sturdy shoes due to gravel and rocks. Definitely worth the view!

Nice drive along the Mauna Loa slopes. Lots of orchards; macadamia and coffee mostly.

Completed the South Point leg the day prior.

Several scenic lookouts historical points, and parks along this drive.

off road driving
21 days ago

ALERT: This hike, 4WD, or local shuttle trek is loaded with people in an unfamiliar environment.

Given the magnitude of hikers, the varying levels of 4WDing, and the uniqueness of the local shuttle this adventure is hectic.

Attempted the 3.5 mile trail via a 4WD Jeep and made it almost 2 miles before the insaneness of situationally unaware hikers and the crazed Jeep trails became too much.

Choose wisely a time that may not have so many tourists and enjoy the full adventure.

This was an amazing and quite difficult hike! The trail is easy to follow in good weather, but be prepared for the weather changing at altitude. We had sunny skies all the way up, but faced sleet and near whiteout conditions on the way down. We chose to follow the road down to make sure we wouldn’t get lost if we did face a whiteout. The views are worth the effort. Would do again!

Unfortunately this trail is closed due to recent volcanic activity.

The first hour and a half was spent on a relentlessly steep uphill 4wd road to reach the tree line/gate into the natural area reserve. Once into the trees the trail was very muddy and slippery but nice and less steep. I went up for another 45 minutes or so and headed back. Lots of nice views along the 4wd road with a few side trips along the way. Don't miss the easy hikes in the adjacent Koai'a tree sactuary which is worth a trip on its own.

nature trips
29 days ago

Beautiful views. Footing can be treacherous on the way down...

brutal up and back. wear sunscreen and be prepared to deal with the elements and altitude sickness. totally worth the views at the top and the feeling of accomplishment when you make it back at dusk.

1.5 rating
This hike was a big dissapointment for my friend and I. The terrain is difficult, mostly sandy and on a constant incline. We were also very frustrated as the advertised distance was not accurate, in total to reach the summit, we hiked for 13km rather than 9. We followed the trail and did not take any detours. This could have been an issue had we run out of water.
Once we figured out that the distance was not accurate, we pushed through as we were promised gorgeous views. In complete honesty, the views at the top were not what we expected. Not to mention that the summit is a sacred area and hikers are discouraged to complete the hike. After hiking 13km, this was extremely disappointing.
We completed the hike in 6.5 hours (the average is 8) and although we made good time, we would have much preferred to spend our day at the beach.

we truly wish that we felt differently about this hike but we would not recommend to our friends.

Do you like your knees? Want to see your knees succeed in the future? Put away your hiking pole shame and start a whole new knee game.

Beautiful, short, relatively steep trail to the bottom. Slippery at the start, but 1/2 way down there were enough rocks & boulders to assist.

The beach was serene. Not a soul around which made it very peaceful.

hiking
1 month ago

Spectacular views! We did this in the light rain and it was muddy and slippery. Would not have been worth it in heavier rain, but as it was, we loved it. Some folks we passed found it easier to do with a walking stick. Given the mud, I thought the way down was much harder than the way up.

Wasn’t 9 miles the way I did it. I started at the petroglyphs and headed in. Spent one night camping. It was incredible.

Easy hike. Can be hot and really windy. You can get a ride from a local on an old rust bucket for $20/person, each way, which is ridiculous for a 20 min ride, but it can be fun. My wife and I hiked in and got a ride back. The view of the green sand beach is amazing and one of a kind! At the end, the short, steep path down the hill to the beach can be a slippery due to the sand and the slope. Beach can be good for swimming depending on surf conditions which can change.

This trail is for experienced hikers only and can acclimate to the elevation. This trail was awesome and can take your breath away in more than one way. The view of the lake was beautiful and then the view from the observatory was even better. You are above the clouds. Ensure you are well hydrated and pack layers for colder weather.

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