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

This hike is hard only in the spot where you'll need to climb back out of the crater. This hike is beautiful start to finish. pretty cool too that you see plants that ONLY grow right there!

hiking
2 days ago

Had an awesome time. Hike itself was not bad at all. Scenery is very beautiful. It was relatively rainy today and added to feel almost like hiking through a rainforest of some sort. Ran into one group, otherwise it was just my family and I. It was at times pretty muddy, definitely bring some good shoes or hiking boots. I definitely wouldn't recommend trying to drive through the 4wd only section. We thankfully decided against it and hiked through. Absolutely no way anything except a lifted heavy duty off roading vehicle is getting through that. I would recommend the hike to anyone. My mom doesn't hike much at all and was able to make it through just fine.

I've done it twice: once in 1975, when I was 24, and once a year ago. (You can figure out how old I was the second time...) First time was hot, sunny and dry, and I didn't bring enough water, so the hike back out was really hard. Second time was cold, cloudy, windy and rainy; we went maybe a couple-three miles down. I got chilled on the way back up, had to put the car heater on to get warm again. But both times beautiful--a cross between the Moon and Mars.

Book tickets online early to see the sunrise! They were sold out for over a month.

Amazing scenery. We hiked 1.5hrs down to almost the base of the mountain. The trek back up was challenging but rewarding. We left from just after sunrise and we are glad we did. Haze and clouds roll in at times in the afternoon and we weren't effected. Bring lots of water and good shoes. Enjoy!

Spectacular views! The trail itself is very well maintained and clearly marked. The footing is also relative good along the entire trail. The ascent is steady but not too steep. The weather does change suddenly. We descended in the sunshine and ascended in a heavy mist. We just wore tennis shoes and we were fine. Definitely remember to carry sunblock, water and bring layers. Getting there is also easy, which is nice!

One of the highlights of our visit to the national park. We visited with the intention of going on a long hike and the wind was so awful at the summit that we couldn’t do it SO we stopped by this little loop trail on our drive out. Happy we did! A wonderful short little jaunt thru a gorgeous forest full of quiet, nothing but trees and birds chirping and nice signage describing birds and trees in the area. There are two viewing spots with big metal fixed binoculars to look thru and check out the birds (or whatever). Super easy stroll and nice setting.

Park and jaunt.

hiking
22 days ago

We parked at the top prior to the 4wd sign. Good thing, that road wouldn’t have been passable without a lifted 4wd vehicle. It was completely rutted out in places and would have been a struggle in a basic 4wd vehicle.

The hike was great but we mistakenly did it counter clockwise and I swear it felt like the whole thing was uphill. We had the whole trail to ourselves, didn’t run into a single soul. No rain and a perfect cool day with light jackets. We saw goats and piglets which were adorable but we didn’t want to run into mama hog (or mistakenly separate her from her piglets) so we barked like dogs to scare them all off.

The trees were stunning, birds were chirping, and the trail was in good shape which other than the uphill factor, didn’t require too much effort to traverse. We did not locate the “cave” which was on the map/sign at the trailhead.

Great hike for people looking to go to the crater floor. We opted to turn back where the trail splits into a loop, which made the total hike 7.8 miles. This was a good alternative to 11-12 miles. The descent and ascent are gradual and the biggest obstacle is the weather. When I hiked it in late April the weather changed every few minutes from cloudy to windy to misty to downpour. Come prepared. There are no services along the trail. That said, weather permitting, there can be same great views of the barren landscape.

hiking
1 month ago

Use 4WD! We drove it in a car, and the potholes were very difficult to maneuver. Too risky without 4WD. We did the redwood and plum trails to make a full loop. There were several downed trees across the paths that required you to crawl over, under, or around. Be cautious because the ground is soft on the edges of the paths. It’s a touch climb back up the plum trail. Not for the faint of heart. I wore my heart monitor because I’m an avid runner and I track my rates, and I was in the red for many parts of the way up - had to take it very slow. Beautiful hike on a clear day, but I would not want to drive the dirt road if it rains.

Waaaay more difficult than moderate. Bring waterproof layers and lots of water. Tough hike but worth it!

Othwerwordly. Pack water and sunscreen. And your camera.

1 month ago

Great hike and 4wd not required if you park before the sign that says it is and start from there. Just a lot of exceptional sections of forest and flowers. Nice and cool but don’t expect views of the ocean or island. Mostly different trees (including a section knocked down by wind). If you go to the forest cabin you can take the road back to your car, although that’s not so fun

Breathtaking

I've hiked this twice, both times many years ago. Gorgeous!

Beautiful, weather changes quickly! Hiked out with maybe 10ft visibility.

Paved surface up to the last 4 miles. At the last 3.3 miles, you will see a cattle gate with a warning not to proceed. Only 4 wheel drive vehicles allowed. Violators will be fined. We parked here in our rental van and proceeded to walk. A friendly couple in a pickup truck asked us to join them to the trailhead. Stay to the right at the Polipoli State Forest sign and go downhill maybe .5 mile or more to the campground. Follow the sign to the Ranger Cabin. The woods were lovely, dark and deep but knowing we had to hike back to the van, we turned around before reaching the redwoods. Awww shucks. We enjoyed the hike none the less! Take a four wheel drive vehicle next time.

Amazing views. My wife and I loved the ability to make your own hike with the out and back trail. We felt like we were on Mars! Definitely recommend this. Be sure to bring plenty of water if you plan on going further. We opted for a 10 mile hike.

hiking
3 months ago

I hate “awesome” as it is so inflationary used when things are truly terrific. But Sliding Sands Trail truly is awesome. Due to turning weather we had to do the entire hike in 3hrs 20 minutes but as the trail is easy terrain walking a good flat and evenly inclining, one could have breaks to take photos and enjoy the views and always have the head up to enjoy the scenery. We started in clouds, had sun, grumbling thunder outside the crater and hail in the last 50 Meters. So unless you can catche the perfect day, be prepared for changing conditions.
My favorites where the few plants that managed to hold out in beauty.

trail running
3 months ago

Easy light run

You can eat lunch at the picnic tables and then go for a walk in the grove. The fragrances from the trees are fantastic - eucalyptus, peppermint, etc. It was really beautiful!

Great views. The hike back up to the crater rim is def more strenuous. Bring water and make sure to use sunscreen!!

hiking
3 months ago

Weather changed numerous times when we were on this trail. The views are nonstop amazing but be prepared with at least two liters of water and the right attire. The elevation change was pretty rough on us being from the Midwest. Overall it was fun and challenging!

This is a great hike! Be prepared though because it is cold and your hike starts with a 2700' decent to the crater floor at the about 10,000 altitude so the air is thin. Give yourself plenty of time and bring adequate water and snacks. The hike back up can be very strenuous but it is worth the effort!

backpacking
4 months ago

Stayed at cabins. Very tiring due to elevation and type of terrain. Don’t recommend going in and out in one day unless you start at 7am and move quick.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike, spectacular views. Used this hike as a warm up to upcoming Philmont trek with our Boy Scout troop. Elevation and change were great training.

One of the most environmentally stunning hikes you can do on earth! You feel like you’re on mars, truly, with colours ranging from oranges, blues, purples and pinks mixed with charcoal black underfoot. Descending into the hike is easy...but remember what goes down must come back up and hiking back to the trail head close to 3000 feet is a real bun burner! It’s cold to start because you’re already at 10,000 feet altitude by the time you take your first step so dress in layers that can be gradually taken off, bring water & a few snacks. Not hard per se but just an extra effort to get back up the steady ascent. We’re going back in a few days to take more photos because it’s too good not too! Enjoy!

NOTICE (12/26/2017): the trail access to Ka Lu’u o Ka cinder cone off of sliding sands trail is CLOSED. The sliding sands trail, however, is still open. Trail still offers great panoramic views of the entire hike, but a bit disappointing as there is no access to the cinder cones.

This trail is just AMAZING ! I hiked a lot around the the world , but this trail is the best I have ever done! It was crazy, you have the feeling that you are on the planet Mars!
It was a long hike, 14 miles, and it took me 6,5 hours to do it (with a break of 30 mn). You have to be well-equipped and bring a lot of water (at least 4 liters) and energetic bars because you will need them to go up...
Just do it and enjoy this incredible experience!

hiking
5 months ago

Definitely one of the most difficult hikes I’ve done. I live in a place that’s pretty close to sea level so the 8-10 thousand foot altitude kicked my butt. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen if the sun is out because there’s literally no shade. The weather is a bit unpredictable - I went from cold to warm to cold to cold and wet so bring some layers. The trek back up is pretty steep and it’s quite long. I was BEAT. I would recommend this hike for intermediate to advanced hikers who have 4-5 hours to spend (I took 5 hours including frequent stops for pictures). The geography is pretty incredible and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s worth the effort!

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