Explore Hawaii 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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hiking
5 days ago

Beautiful views, easy hike with kids!

hiking
5 days ago

pretty nice little hike, wouldn't recommend on a wet day. awesome scenery

When I read the review that you’ll get wet I assumed they meant walk through a stream, the water’s actually dripping from the roots in the ceiling. Reviews also say headlamps are necessary and they’re definitely not for the right cave (phone works) but could be nice for the left cave. We were fine anyways. Close toed shoes definitely necessary. My friend in vans slipped (not bad/doable) and I was fine in my timberlands.

The right cave is easy and more friendly because it’s short and just stops.

The left cave requires some low stances (watch your head) and traversing rocks. It also opens up to a huge tube a few times. There are reassuring orange arrows/dots depicting the way out (same way in). At the end of the tube there are a few holes which you physically could climb out of but I do not recommend. For one, where are you, two is that a maintained trail, three the signs specifically say exit through the entrance. So go back out through the cave.

Also be aware the weather may change by the time you’re out of the cave. Sunny for us when we went in and pouring when we came out. Car’s not far from the entrance so it was okay.

nature trips
7 days ago

Absolutely beautiful. I wouldn’t consider it as much of a hike as it is a lookout. That said, worth the stop. Please stay on the main trail, as you could be fined for walking off, but more importantly it keeps you and the local ecosystem safe. The right is wheelchair friendly, the left requires stairs (the right is a better view of the falls anyways). There is a bathroom and seems highly trafficked, but it was easy for us to take pictures around the people.

Great hike going was easy and the snorkeling was amazing. Cool remains of an old village and lots of wildlife. Saw a school of Dolphins really close to shore.
The hike back up was a little strenuous but totally worth it.

walking
13 days ago

Beautiful overlook. This is a two level overlook - there is no trail at all.

Excellent snorkeling ! Easy to go down but a little more challenging on the way back since it’s 100% uphill (on the way back) and very humid at this time of the year. I would give a 4 for the hike and a 5 for the snorkeling.

Enjoyable loop. Lots to see, so nobody complained about the climb coming out.

The way down with proper shoes is fine. The snorkeling spot is fantastic even saw some dolphins. That being said we are pretty experienced hikers. We brought in 2.5L hydration packs and ate some granola bars down by the bay. I'm not sure if having a wet bathing suit on under our clothes or maybe dried salt on our skin, or even the Vog conditions, but I got really bad heat exhaustion on the hike back. You are basically walking up stairs that are made from loose gravel for about 1.5miles with no coverage whatsoever. The sun is just beating down on you and the UV index is considered extreme. We saw multiple people on the way back up in the same boat. Do not attempt the hike back up, during July/Aug btwn 12 and 3pm. I really can not stress this enough.

We were not dehydrated, we had plenty of water with us and we still experienced severe heat exhaustion. It took us 45mins to get down and over 90mins to get back out. There were a few trees around markers 5 and 4, they barely had any shade and they are covered in fire ants so you can't sit or lean. I honestly felt like we were in the hunger games and everything was trying to kill us. Again I'm from Florida and I live and hike in Colorado. I'm used to heat and high humidity. I hike in Colorado at much higher elevations and we are both in shape. We had done 6 other hikes in the past 3 weeks on Oahu and Kuawai that were double the distance and elevation gain with no issues. Be very careful attempting this hike in these conditions.

Easy waterfall, just walk out of the parking lot to see it. Cool Banyan trees at the top of the falls.

hiking
17 days ago

When you see pictures of Hawaii that aren’t just from beach resorts, this is what you think of. The black sand beach is spectacular and the hike is a fun in/out with the option to extend a little. If you can, plan to get in the water. Few places on earth as wholesome as being in the ocean on this beach

walking
20 days ago

Enjoyable trail to visit and easily accessible -

walking
22 days ago

Really nicely maintained trail with paved paths through lush and beautiful rainforest. It was a short trail, but I think it's a must-do if you're visiting Hawaii. You can only see the falls from a distance though, so don't expect to get too close... You won't get wet.

Cool if you've never seen a lava tube before.

I have to admit that I was scared of this trail (if you want to call it that). It seems like everywhere you look, you hear people talking about how horribly difficult it is. I wondered whether I could actually make it up. But I have dreamed of this hike for YEARS. And like so many other people, my time on the island was limited. Who knew when (or if) I would ever come back. So I figured I would give it my best shot. I’m GLAD I did!

Hands down, this is one of the best mountains I have been on (and I’ve been on LOTS). It’s somewhat hard to put a finger on why. Maybe it is the combination of the clear and crisp air, the multicolored lava, and interesting rock formations. Maybe it is watching the steam vents from the summit and knowing you are on an active volcano. Maybe it is that grand, otherworldly feeling that just says ‘La La Land’. Or maybe it is knowing that I am not laying on the beach at a resort or snorkeling like a ‘good little boy’ on vacation in Hawaii. Rather, I am daring to do something as ‘Un-Hawaiian’ (at least in the stereotypical sense) as climbing a 13000ft mountain. Maybe it is all of these things. But in the end, climbing Mauna Loa will DEFINITELY take you to a VERY interesting and different world from just about anywhere else.

As for the hike itself, I did not find it NEARLY as hard as some say. There really isn’t anything terribly steep to climb. And although it is rocky, the terrain is no more difficult than many mountains in, say, California or Colorado. Just keep in mind that the rock tends to be on the sharp side, and can chew up shoes quite badly. As for altitude, this can certainly be an issue for some. And since there aren’t really any high altitude campgrounds or Hotels on the Big Island, coming straight up to a trailhead at 11000ft from Hilo or Kona can be difficult for altitude sensitive folks. But if you can climb mountains like Shasta, Whitney, Langley, White, or even Dana without a hitch, Mauna Loa is not bad at all.

No, there is no lush greenery on this trail. But that is to be expected on ANY trail ANYWHERE at this kind of altitude. You are in the alpine zone, FAR above the treeline here in Hawaii. Furthermore, the fact that it is going to be chilly is a given. I felt like it was significantly colder on Mauna Loa than on mountains as high (or higher) in California - at least in summer. So be prepared. But if you can get over the fact that this hike does NOT have many of the things that most people THINK a hike SHOULD have (ie deep forests, streams, waterfalls, etc), you will find that Mauna Loa certainly has LOTS to offer. The multicolored rocks, interesting formations, awesome views, fresh clean air, amazingly blue skies, and overall grandness of the mountain all make this hike very unique and give it a vibe that is second to none. Even the rough pahoehoe and aa lavas that you walk across have their charm. Oh, and let’s not forget the outdoor toilet at 13000ft. Take a selfie. Nobody will ever know. Regardless this will be a hike you will NEVER forget!

pretty sunny and hot when visited, but worth it, nice descriptions available a glimpse into past

hiking
30 days ago

Beautiful trail!! You may have to stop from time to time just to take in the views.

This was a great snorkeling stop, but the hike proved to be challenging with the loose rock and uneven terrain. Bring lots of water!

hiking
1 month ago

A family friendly hike, super easy walk. Very lush and green, waterfall is breath taking.

off road driving
1 month ago

My husband and I took our rental Jeep out to the green sand beach. It was the last day of our honeymoon and I have to say it was my favorite part of the trip! We didn’t hike the trail but we highly recommend you get a vehicle with 4WD and drive out there. Beware - it’s a BUMPY ride! But so worth it. The whole drive is along the coastline and is absolutely gorgeous. When you get to the beach itself you will be amazed. There are beautiful cliffs and you can go in the very warm water. Give yourself at least a half day so you have time to get there and back and to really enjoy the beach and go in the water. Honestly so beautiful and a spectacular memory that I will hold near and dear to me!

hiking
1 month ago

Short and beautiful. No rain .

Not for the faint of the heart. We are from Denver and hike weekly and I would say moderate is a good description but be ready to get your heart rate up on the incline back up. Our gps says the hike is over 2 miles each way. Bring water and snacks. View at the bottoms is gorgeous and the water is pristine. We saw lots of fish, a sea turtle and an eel. We managed to arrive in between boat tours so it wasn’t crowded. Best on an overcast day or early. I wouldn’t recommend this inexperienced hikers or be prepared to take it slow. Also wear appropriate shoes, lots of loose rock.

Definitely a “moderate” grade hike. Took 40 minutes down to the monument. First third is hard packed dirt, several places of good shade. Middle third gets steeper, mostly rock base and less shade spots. The final third is steepest and is mostly loose rock except the last tenth of a mile. Not much scenery until the final third. No water at the monument so pack enough for the hike back out. Long sleeves were very helpful when hiking through the tall grass areas. The snorkeling was excellent. Best spot is right off the jetty in front of the monument. Tons of sea urchins to the right so go straight off and on. There is a ladder to help you exit.

The snorkeling at the bottom was awesome! Didn’t see any dolphins or turtles, but the reef had lots of pretty fish. I definitely recommend going as early as you can, because the way back up is even more strenuous when it is hot out. With snorkeling included it took us about 4 hours.

we listened to advice and went first thing in the morning. best time by far. even on the way back at 1030am it was starting to get too hot. it was a fun trek and a great beach to see. going at 8am kept tourists and heat down which made it a great hike. sad to see so much plastic that's come from the ocean, but still a must do.

It was windy enough to stay cool but not so windy as to throw sand at you...worth the walk out especially if you meet some new people to walk with.

was muddy from the rain today but still a good time.

walking
1 month ago

Amazing views

1 month ago

Beautiful! Very short trail. Might become difficult if it rains.

This place is everything you picture Hawaii to look, smell, and feel like! I’m in shape and a regular hiker, but that hill was very challenging up and down; however, it’s very beautiful and absolutely worth it. Down in the valley is peaceful and gorgeous. Go left at the bottom of the hill for great views of Hi’ilawe Falls at the back of the valley. Do not trespass on anyone’s property, especially the trail that leads to the falls. Come back and take the other fork to the black sand beach. Road down and beach are accessible by foot and 4WD ONLY, but if you want to go down to the far end of the beach, come at low tide so you can cross the freshwater stream by foot. No cars are allowed to ford the stream. Look for 2 waterfalls pouring into the sea, within view of the beach, one on either side. PRO TIP: get there early as day use parking is limited, have suitable footwear, and be prepared for spontaneous downpours!

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