Pu'u Wa'a Wa'a Cinder Cone Trail

MODERATE 88 reviews

Pu'u Wa'a Wa'a Cinder Cone Trail is a 8 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Waikoloa, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, birding, and horses and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

8.0 miles
2,043 feet

kid friendly



horseback riding

nature trips



wild flowers


no dogs

This is a unique geological feature that looks like jello! It used to have an obsidian mine and is still part of a working ranch. This is an easy hike to the top where you can see Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualalei and North Kohala. This trail is a recent addition to the State Parks in 2005 - called Pu'u Wa'a Wa'a Cinder Cone State Park. There are a couple of easy trails around the area, but this one takes you up to the top of Pu'u Wa'awa'a. Some like to take their bikes up and do the downhill, while others just enjoy the open views from the top. This is an easy hike with views of all the main mountains on the Big Island.

7 days ago

Did this on Sept 11, 2018 fortunately got some cloud cover as it can be hot. The first mile or so is on an old road and nothing special. Then you ascend through grazing land. I was nervous I'd encounter a bull, but saw now cattle at all, just a few goats who are running wild there. The road was largely dug up some folks told me it is wild boar. Beautiful green grassland and a moderate climb with a rewarding view at the top and cool breezes. There are a couple of benches there and I contmplated the amazing beauty of this island and actually had tears in my eyes. I began my hike at 8:15 ad was at the top a bit before 10. Do it!

1 month ago

A nice afternoon hike. Take your time a little, the elevation gain will slow you down a little. The first part on the road isn’t particularly pretty, but the O’hia trail cutoff is really nice. I recommend that detour to get some natural Hawaii sightseeing.

1 month ago

Great hike close to Kona and Waimea. Gave it four instead of five stars because of the long walk on paved road. Second half is up through green grass, sheep and goats. Beautiful views even on a hazy day!

2 months ago

beautiful views from the top, lots of animals, goats, cows, sheeps. little lonely but then you can enjoy only the nature sounds.

2 months ago

If you are at Waikoloa or Kona and looking for some exercise, you found it. A nice 30 minute drive up the hill to the trailhead, and you’ll be in for a good workout with beautiful views. Start early and you’ll be treated to the constant sound of birds singing. You will likely see cattle, wild goats, and sheep, as well as lots of birds along the way. A relatively easy trail/doubletrack road with 1800ft in elevation gain over 3.5 miles. This out-and-back is 7 miles overall. As previous reviews stated, you can take the Ohia trail approx .5 miles from the parking lot on your right. The Ohia trail adds interest and shade cover on this singletrack section. Pay attention as the Ohia intersects a straight gravel road that you do not cross, but go left onto and continue straight up the hill. Up and back took us 3 hrs and we earned a well deserved beer and lunch at Kona Brewing afterwards Great morning exercise and workout!

3 months ago

Cool trails with lots of wildlife to be seen.

3 months ago

We made the mistake of taking the road up. I recommend the Ohia trail instead. Not great signage so best to know where you are going in advance. Quite the puffer in spots. Even though I gave it 3 stars my husband would give it 4. I just didn’t think the scenery was worth the 2000 ft of elevation.

4 months ago

We took the Ohia side trail (entrance about 1/2 mile up the paved trail) which had plenty of shade and lots of diversity, rather than all up hill. Unless your goal is just to get to the top, I highly recommend this side trail. FYI, we crossed over the first dirt road we came to and turned left at the second dirt road. Stay to your left with the houses on your right and follow the dirt road. After the Ohia Trail rejoins the main trail, it becomes more and more steep. Then when you round the cinder cone, it really is steep. but that's the last push to the top. The views are spectacular. The signage on the trail is minimal. There is a porta-john at the parking area and half way up the trail. The gate at the entrance is automatic now. We passed the first building (with the porta-john) and drove to the second building to park. The hike only lacked one element, a waterfall, and thus only gets 4 Stars. Otherwise a great hike!

4 months ago

We saw lots of O'hia trees, sheep, cows, golden finches and goats along this scenic trail. The trail does not stop it's ascension for 3.5 miles, but there are benches along the way to rest. Absolutely no shade to be found along the way. The trail gets steeper in the grasslands but is never technical, a child could do it. When you reach the farm buildings, stay left and head upwards, do not proceed down or right. You'll see the gate up ahead leading to the grasslands. Follow the grass road back and around up between the two pu'u and then left up to the highest point. Two benches are at the very top, along with a gorgeous panoramic view, even on a cloudy day.

7 months ago

good hike, nice views. took us 3.5 hours. seemed shorter than 8 miles

8 months ago

Boot camp 2018. On the Big Island for two weeks and trekked here four times. Each day different weather and pastoral scenes. We challenged ourselves to push through to the top without rest stops, knowing we would be rewarded with extraordinary views, and best of all, quietude. Highly recommend if this is your sort of thing.

8 months ago

Great views from the top! This is a steep climb in the sun. Go early in the day before the heat and wear proper hiking shoes. I wore normal tennis shoes which was fine, but I was slipping on the lava rocks on the way down.

8 months ago

It is more like 7 miles round trip: 3.5 miles of relentless climbing to the top. Nearly 2,000 feet of elevation gain in those 3.5 miles should give you an idea of just what you’re in for. I ran it, but it’s probably not too hard at a more moderate pace (>

8 months ago

Nice views of all the volcanoes and fun to see pigs, sheep, goats and cows. It is only 6.9 Miles not the 8 miles listed.

9 months ago

loved this hike. great views. beautiful scenes.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Good challenge and very secluded, not the most scenic of hikes. Some quality cow interactions along the way.

trail running
Saturday, July 29, 2017

Fantastic hike/run! If you want a great workout, a chance to get away from the crowds and a spectacular view, this is the trail you want. It's uphill all the way to the top but it's gradual and it's Hawaii! I ran into some cows on the way up but they eventually moved off the road and let me pass. The sheep near the top were fun to watch run down the steep sides of the inner cone. I really loved this hike. I went early in the morning (7:00-gate opens at 6:00) and only saw one family on my way back (about a mile from where I parked my car.)

Monday, July 10, 2017

I see this hike is now marked as Moderate, which seems right. The climbing starts gently, on a paved road (closed to traffic), then switches to grass and gets steeper and steeper toward the top. One section of loose rock in the middle was hard to walk on, but it was only about a hundred yards long. Where the pavement changes to grass, in the area of the abandoned farm buildings, there are a few offshoot roads and no markings, but you can see a path following the contour of the hill up and around the back side and head for that.

To enter the park, you have to drive through a gate just off the highway. You'll need to get out and open the gate to let your car through, then close it again behind you. Then keep left to reach the trailhead and a substantial parking area .4 miles from the gate. I actually parked outside the gate and walked in because I was alone and the gate was a bit intimidating. If I went back again, I'd go ahead and drive in.

I went on a warm Sunday afternoon and only saw a few other hikers, but plenty of wild goats, a few cows and constant birdsong.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Been awhile since doing an actual hike, first time on this trail. Moderate to hard depending on skill level. My husband and I completed it in 2.5 hours

Saturday, June 03, 2017

This was an average hike minus the incredible view of Kohala and Maui. The loose rock and lack of shade along most of this trail made it somewhat difficult to climb. This is definitely not an easy hike.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I am sure the views are amazing but I went on a voggy, overcast day. still great views. highly recommended. I am a 50 year young semi out of shape, 230 pounder and did the trail in just over 3 hours. most of the trail is easy, paved road. the last mile is steep.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

I absolutely loved this hike. My wife and I did it in mid-January. It's not an easy hike and shouldn't be rated as such. I would rate as moderate. 3.5+ miles straight up; then the same straight down. If you're in decent shape it's a fun workout. We saw goats, sheep, cattle along the trail. The views from the top are breath taking. There are a few interesting, old structures along the way as well.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

We came across several barn and family homes with a lot of cattle. we took the right road and then ended up on a cattle farm and weren't sure if we were trespassing. would have loved to have gone to top, beautiful area. will rate 5 star when we reach peak

Monday, February 27, 2017

Definitely should not be rated as an easy hike. Uphill for almost 2k ft. is not easy! Down is easy however. Took my wife and I about 70 min. to the top and about 55 min. down. We did not stop either direction except for about 15 at the peak. Once you get to the cinder cone you have much better views. We did go on a cloudy day so it wasn't too hot, but did impede the views. If you go when it's sunny head out early to avoid the heat. Have fun!

Monday, February 27, 2017

We hiked the Hala pepe trail on a cloudy afternoon. It starts at the same place as this one, but all trails doesn't have an entry for it. This is a short one mile loop advertised at the check in station. It starts out on a road track and turns a corner to follow a cinder lined fire break... Very rough going as you have to watch your step. Tripping here would be painful. Most of the signs marking special trees are missing. Lots of invasive plants.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

uphill all the way not sure why it is considered easy when Captain cook memorial has less elevation and shorter and is considered moderate.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

beautiful hike. carry at least 2 liters of water per person. encountered a couple of skittish cows that acted like they have never seen humans. saw a large number of birds. all in all this is a great hike.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

This was an amazing 8 mile round trip hike up to the top of the cinder cone. Along the way we saw sheep's and goats...once you get up half way there are some benches and a grassy spot to sit and relax and enjoy the view. Keep heading up the hill and you will reach the top and the view is amazing!! You feel like you are on top of the world!!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

First off it is not 2.5 miles out an back, it is almost 7 miles round trip. Second I wouldn't consider it easy per se because while yes the first almost half is an old paved road, then it goes to old 4WD roads, it is varying degrees of up the entire way. If you start any later than 10 then you may experience some heat. It does start over 2k feet up, and you climb almost 2k feet but it can still feel stifling.

Having said all of that, this is the must hike on the Island for me. For a fit, advanced hiker it takes maybe an hour and a half to get to the top and less than an hour coming down. As I stated before though it is all up hill, and then all downhill. But there are a couple benches up at the top and a completely expansive view of the island so it is a great place to have lunch.

On a clear day you can see Kohala, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualalai and Haleakala on Maui! It is so tranquil and peaceful up at the top, making this one of my absolute favorite hikes to do. (I have now done it 4 times).

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Great hike but do not be mislead. From the parking area it is 2.8 miles to the turnaround point with over 1,700 feet in elevation gain.

Awesome view and not technical but it leans to the moderate level of difficulty rather than easy.

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