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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.

It’s a long hike and frankly gets a little tedious along the way. No proper trail for the most part but a lot of very rough gravel (like walking on broken bricks) especially after the junction to the summit. The cabin trail might be more fun. Have to grant four stars for the Mauna Kea views, though. If you can wait, don’t do this mountain in bad weather.

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hiking
1 month ago

Loved this hike. I only hiked down from the Lava Tubes trail. It was voggy and late in the day. The descent through the rainforest onto the crater was surreal. We are heading to the big island again in January. I sure hope this trail opens up again. It appears to be closed.

hiking
1 month ago

I did this trail last year. It was cool and the rangers definitely push people towards this trail. The one across the street is far cooler. Both are closed, apparently, due to recent volcano activity.

Hike was not difficult. Parking was easy on both side of road. Signs marked the beginning of the trail and stone piles marked the trail until the wooden board walk to view the petroglyphs. We brought water. It was sunny and a light breeze sometimes. There was a warning sign about fumes but we didn’t experience any problems.

walking
1 month ago

It’s hard to call this a hike because it’s either paved or on a boardwalk, but this should not be missed when coming to Volcano National Park. Do this before heading to the crater rim (which you can do by extending this hike about 0.5 miles) for the full experience of the volcano.

This is an excellent trail marked by cairns across a.hundreds-year old lava bed, which ends at a boardwalk around thousands of Petroglyphs. Well worth the stop, and bring water.

It is like nothing else you will ever do. You will be hiking on old lava flows and come across an opening where you can see the old road and a stop sign. Other times you will see the glowing lava beneath coming up through the cracks over which you are walking. Once you get to the end you see lava tubes pouring out from the side of the cliff into the ocean creating a lake of lava that is constantly battling with the incoming surf for where the land ends and the ocean begins. It is a sight you can never forget.

Also try to be aware of your surroundings. The park service will have light beacons every mile to help keep you on course, but when the terrain is uneven the next beacon might not be immediately visible. When we hiked out there, on the way back we saw a flashlight off in the distance start waving at us. It was a guy that had become disoriented in the dark and was wandering for about an hour trying to find his way back. There are other instances where people have been lost for days. Be careful on this trail because the ways you could get injured or die are different from other hikes. There aren't many other trails where you could fall through an active lava tube and instantly perish.

The trail is closed

Enjoyable trail to visit and easily accessible -

Beautiful! Keep walking past the gate!!! Epic cliff pics

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!

Awesome petroglyphs. Worth doing

Definitely not for the faint at heart. I hike mount Whitney nearly every year and this is pretty comparable for altitude but not distance.

Beautiful and interesting, description is spot on. Fun

This trail surpassed by expectations, traveling through lush rain forest and across the crater floor, which I at first thought would not be that exciting. But it was fascinating to see the cracked earth up close, and the new plants that are coming in. Bonus - we were there the morning of May 4, right before the big earthquakes struck, so we got to experience it before the park closed.

Hiked it this afternoon and got caught up in the eruption and 6.9 quake before the park was evacuated. Not the best feeling to be on loose and hollow lava beds when a big tremor starts! The hike itself is pretty straight-forward. Just follow the trail markers and bring water. It probably helped that it was overcast and only 85 degrees. Lots of interesting plants and the $2 trail guide at the visitor center was informative.

We did a guided hike through Kalapana cultural tours, a 10 mile treacherous hike. Going up was fairly easy , it's not a marked trail so I wouldn't recommend doing on your own. There are no mile markers or anything to point where the lava is flowing except for the map from the satellite. Coming down in the dark on steep slippery surfaces in the rain was really hard. Fell a few times and wearing jeans( recommended by the tour) didn't get any blisters. Our guides were really helpful, patiently guided our slowest hikers too, carried ponchos, gloves and extra headlights and a firstaid kit. There's no way we would have made it back in one piece if not for them. This is truly a lifetime experience but definitely go prepared with lots of water and snacks and whole lot of fitness and determination.

Easy trail. Gorgeous views!

Not to be missed on a trip to the park. A major stop for the tour busses so if you can go earlier. It isn’t lit before 10 am so bring a light, even the light on your phone will work. Follow the tube through to the other side and the trail will loop back.

Having seen this place on an organized tour, I was determined that one day I would come back and do this hike, Well today was that day. Fantastic little hike with amazing views of the crater below while walking through the rain forest, then down into the crater floor, to bed of lava that took years to cool. Just imagine the raw power of nature around you. The steam vents serve as a reminder that there is still hot molten magma flowing in the area. Great for a small couple hour morning hike.

beautiful hike. rainforest and young crater bed all in one...

Great hike - not too challenging, my boyfriend's parents (around 60, and one with a bionic hip) enjoyed doing this trail with yes and how sister. amazing mix of exposed volcanic rock and jungle. I wish it had been chat the whole day since we couldn't see all the way out from the lookout, but we did get a brief glimpse before we started and the view was amazing. easily done within a couple of hours (could probably compete in an hour if you're in good shape)

It took us 2 hours from the parking spot to Apua Point. We were expecting more of a sandy beach oasis, but found a pretty, rocky point with very nice tide pools. It was a one and done kind of hike for me. There is no shade on the trail and it gets pretty toasty so plan accordingly.

Really nice walk to fascinating ancient drawings in lava.

Rumor has it there is no lava flowing for the past 10 days, per the Park ranger. Some people report having seen it on social media (Instagram #kalapana and #kalapanalavaflow) but we did a 10.5 mi, 4 hour hike to no avail. Another family starting at the same time as us, covering a different portion of the lava field also reported no active flow that they could see. Would definitely call the park before you venture, the bike company told us to climb the ridge. Assured us we would see lava. So we hiked it up. Easy to climb up, not easy to climb down in the dark. We fell and ripped clothing and cut up our legs and arms. Lava splinters hurt! Would definitely do it again, but would also ask Park Rangers next time instead of just the bike sales-people! Definitely bring lots of water, good flashlights/headlamps and a raincoat/poncho, we got poured on while returning home!

nature trips
7 months ago

Cool hike- petroglyphs are neat. Nice hike with kids.

hiking
7 months ago

Nice and well maintained trail through interesting landscape. Did with 2 young kids.

nature trips
7 months ago

Nice walk- short but cool if you’ve never been to a lava tube before. Great with kids!

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