Puu Huluhulu Trail (Saddle Road) [CLOSED]

easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(22)
Mauna Kea State Recreation Area

Puu Huluhulu Trail (Saddle Road) [CLOSED] is a 1.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Hilo, Hawaii, Hawaii that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 1.1 miles Elevation Gain: 262 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly



bird watching






This trail is experiencing full or partial closure due to COVID-19. Please see the open trails nearby for alternate hiking options. Not to be confused with the Pu'u Huluhulu hike in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, this cinder cone with the same name sits between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on Saddle Road. This easy and quick hike is a perfect stop in the middle of Saddle Road and a good way to acclimate to high altitude before going up Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa. Pu'u huluhulu, Hawaiian for "hairy hill" (pu'u=hill and huluhulu=hairy), is a kipuka, a small stand of grassland and forest vegetation that has become isolated by lava flows through time. This pu'u huluhulu, found on Hawaii Route 200, is a native tree sanctuary and a nature trail. Frequently described as simultaneously the most noticeable and the most overlooked landmark along the Saddle Road, Kipuka Puu Huluhulu rises more than 200 feet out of the surrounding lava flows at the summit of the Saddle Road. Kipuka Puu Huluhulu is famous for the number and variety of rare and endangered Hawaiian plants and birds that inhabit it. As such, it is a protected wildlife area and fences keep destructive wild goats and feral pigs from coming in and damaging the delicate ecosystem. Please close all gates behind you as you enter and exit.

10 days ago

This is not a place for dogs!

2 months ago

Trail is closed, cannot access due to Encampment.

Mon May 06 2019

Nice hike. Scenic views all the way around. Occasional unsteady footing on the lava rock.

Fri Apr 26 2019

This is an extremely peaceful and pleasant trail that is well maintained and offers great views of the surrounding landscape which is interesting in every direction, particularly the neighboring cinder cones.

Thu Mar 21 2019

This is a short easy hike but a hidden gem. It’s like it’s own little microcosm in the middle of the desolate lava landscape.

Thu Feb 21 2019

Beautiful mini Oasis on top of the saddle between the volcanos.

Sat Jan 12 2019

Like a fairy forest on the side of the hill opposite the road. Cool views of the lava flows.

Sun Nov 04 2018

did this in may was nice, long distance view was pretty good

Thu May 31 2018

Great place to stop and stretch your legs.

Tue May 08 2018

An oasis in a lava desert Nice trail with views.

Tue Apr 24 2018

We had a 10 yr old and a 73 yr old with us. The forest was amazing. Granted it was my first hike! But we loved it. Easy, so we did it twice

Mon Nov 10 2014

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.

Fri Apr 19 2019

Tue Apr 02 2019

Tue Nov 20 2018

Mon Jul 02 2018

Fri May 25 2018

Sat Aug 26 2017

Sun Jun 11 2017

Sat Jun 25 2016