Explore the most popular birding trails near Hawaii National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Access road, Chain of Craters Rd, was closed due to the Dec 18 partial govt shutdown.

hiking
19 days ago

Neat treat when most of the trails in the NP are closed. This hike with a few varied inclines included wildlife, Kalij pheasant among other birds, and lots of botanical signage.

Great weather today and lots to take in, don't miss the "U-shaped" tree, great for some photos.

Enjoyed this short walk out to see the petroglyphs, trail is easy to follow with the rock cairns. All the different textures of lava are quite amazing. Was a nice break on the chain of craters drive, highly recommend this one for the history.

It’s rough lava with full sun exposure the first three miles to Makaopuhi. Then, it’s a shaded forest trail to Napau. I ran the whole 12 miles in about two hours but it was difficult. A hike would last about three times as long, so lots of water would be needed. The wildflower section in a clearing close to Napau was my favorite part.

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.

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.

Awesome petroglyphs. Worth doing

Beautiful and interesting, description is spot on. Fun

Really nice walk to fascinating ancient drawings in lava.

nature trips
9 months ago

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

hiking
Monday, November 27, 2017

I summited Mauna Loa in November and no surprise, it was cold!

Thank god I happen to watch a short video clip of some people on the trail saying, "It's so cold up here!!" otherwise I may not have brought a down jacket with me, and that would have been a huge mistake. You will need some good insulation during your down time. The cabins are very basic, no insulation, no heat, no faucet (water access is outside the cabin).

There is a lot of very important gear BUT, the 5 items that I'm super glad I had?
1. Altitude medication. I got altitude sickness at night and it was rough, I probably would have had to turn back if I didn't have it.
2. Buff. The wind, sun, and cold are HARSH up there. Face/head/neck protections is essential.
3. Down 20F rated sleeping bag. High quality, temperature rated gear is good to have.
4. Sunglasses with side wind/sun protection.
5. Wish I HAD brought lip balm. My lips were MESSED UP toward the end and after the trip. Wish I had remembers chap stick.

My Route:
Day 1: Due to construction, I hiked 5 miles out from the trailhead on Mauna Loa Road, to Pu’u ‘Ula’ula cabin 12.8mi
Day 2: Pu'u 'Ula'ula to Mauna Loa summit cabin 11.5mi
Day 3: Mauna Loa summit cabin to true summit, then back down Pu’u ‘Ula’ula cabin 17mi
Day 4: Rest and explore trails around Pu'u 'Ula'ula
Day 5: Hike back down to my drop off point 12.8mi

About 54 miles in all.

Some random useful tips...

-My typical hiking layer system: a wool/synthetic base layer + wind shirt + fleece, as well as gloves, face shield, sunglasses, and hat for sun and wind protection. Temps ranged from mid 30's Fahrenheit, to 50’s during the day in the broad sunlight; low 30's or high 20's at night.

-No fires allowed, there's no wood to be found anyway. No heat in the cabins, it's simply shelter. In Nov 2017, the bunk mattresses were still very clean and comfortable.

-Get your permit with the Back Country office in Volcano National Park. There you can find out current water catchment tank levels, cabin occupancy, and mountain conditions. Although you can look up weather online, the rangers have the best current knowledge of it.

-Altitude Sickness can affect anybody no matter how strong or awesome you are, makes no difference. If you have never hiked in high altitude, be ready for it, get a prescription, start taking it a few day before you start your ascent. If you've gotten altitude sickness in the past it means you are likely to get it again.

-The cabins are awesome and we are fortunate to have them! If you do use them, be clean and respectful. Leave them cleaner than when you found them. Normal camping philosophy applies. Pack out what you pack in.

-Bring a tent or tarp. Even if you plan to stay in the cabins, there is always the chance of sudden weather changes, extreme wind, rain, snow, whiteout, where you'll be forced to take shelter along the trail.

I was lucky I went when I did. The following week it was expected to snow 20-30 inches. Plan your trip carefully, but be ready to roll with the punches. Weather up there is unpredictable, you might have to delay your start date if there are windstorms or white-out.

@niiimz_

hiking
Thursday, July 27, 2017

Awesome ancient history! Short hike but hot.

hiking
Sunday, July 23, 2017

appreciated the historical significance

Monday, January 02, 2017

I loved this trail. So much history, tradition and culture on this trail. The petroglyphs were very neat, too! Good vibes on this trail

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Beautiful and quiet.

walking
Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Very pretty and well maintained. Placards provide info on the flora. Saw pheasants up close that weren't spooked by our presence at all. Great for a low key stroll.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

It was to hot for us! But really neat to see the petroglyphs. Go early in day, not in summer. ☀️

walking
Sunday, February 21, 2016

You walk on lava rock to a reddish raised wooden platform to see petroglyphs. There's not a designated trail, but if you stay within the stacked rocks (a guide had mentioned these are trail markers) you'll find it.

hiking
Thursday, February 04, 2016

Amazing hike with even more of an amazing scene that awaits you at the bottom. Beautiful beach and fresh water holes to swim in. If you hike north along the coastline there is an even more amazing picturesque beach with blue coral. Make sure to find out about the water level at the bottom for drinking before making the trek in and leave early morning on the hike out for it can get brutally hot, especially with the incline. Well worth it!!

hiking
Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Basic hike over the lava to ancient petroglyphs.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Great!

hiking
Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ok. Dull walk but interesting hieroglyphs.

hiking
Friday, February 11, 2011

Please see our entry under Mauna Loa Observatory Trail. Although this is a very difficult trail, we will give it all five stars, because the views and exhilaration being at the top of this geologically unique volcanic 'shield' dome (is this the world's most massive?) is well worth the endurance, discipline, and some advanced preperation required to complete it. Unlike Mauna Kea and Haleakala, you cannot drive all the way up to the summit. We see its (snow speckled in winter) summit regularly from Kailua-Kona's Old Airport Park

hiking
16 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

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