Explore the most popular walking 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.

Amazing hike! Start early tho and if you can go on a cloudy/partly cloudy day! The trail has no trees and for most of it it is dark gravel! My friend and I did the hike starting from the top of the crater which lead us back to the lower parking lot!

hiking
13 days ago

Beautiful area, and not overly difficult. We saw no other people or wild pigs on the trail. I would recommend bug spray and at least one trekking pole as there were loose rocks and a few slippery areas. Park at the hunting shack and walk in .7 to trailhead. Good for families.

This was a great trail! Shade, cool, ups and downs, loop, no wind. Loved it. Recommend going clockwise. Agree with others in parking by the 4WD sign - walk 0.7 miles till the start of the loop. I used my apple watch to gps the hike and it gave me 4.4 miles from that 4WD sign round trip, not 3.5. The loop itself is about 3.0 miles.

strenuous; but beautiful, rewarding and very impressive; would definitely do it again; be prepared to bring layers of clothes; it can get pretty cold on the way back up; I got back around 430pm in overcast conditions and it was cold. - but hike is worth every effort.

DO NOT ATTEMPT IF YOU ARE NOT EXPERIENCED.

I did this hike June 27,2018, the weather was nice and so was the drive up to summit, however it was a long drive. This hike is for experienced hikers only, as going down into the crater is very easy and you will think that you can go further and further. Do not be fooled though, as the hard part is getting out of the crater. I would call myself decently experienced as I was in the Boy Scouts, but even I was exhausted after getting out of the crater.

One of the names for this hike is the Sliding Sands trail, this isn’t a lie, if you start to go off the trail you will slide down into the crater. Some points on the trail can be slippery due to the sand

So here are my tips for this hike:

Bring water, it may be cold and windy on the summit, but when you get far enough into the crater it will get hotter due to the sun beating down on you

Wear sunscreen, like I said it is sunny in the crater.

Bring trail snacks, you’ll probably be in the crater for a couple hours

Wear layers, but layers you can easily take off. It will be extremely windy at the summit, but in the crater it can be hot.

Overall this hike is extremely beautiful and I definitely recommend it, but only for experience hikers.

hiking
25 days ago

#1 thing to keep in mind when walking this trail is that it’s much more difficult to walk uphill than downhill, especially at 8,000-10,000 feet.
Hiked with my wife and 10 year old daughter about half way into the crater. They headed back up at that point, while I continued down almost to the bottom. There I took a side trail that leads to the top of the westernmost cinder cone. You can look down into the steep-sided interior of the cinder cone from its peak. Although it’s well worn, safe and easy to follow, I’m not sure how legit this little trail is in the eyes of the park service. It was amazing to watch the clouds ebb and flow from the crater gaps from that vantage point an hour before sunset. This is a unique, incredible place and every time I come I remember again how impressive it is.

The Sliding Sands trail is open but the 2 offshoots to Ka Lu’u O Ka O’o are CLOSED! You can still see the areas that acted as trails but the are no longer open to the public. People who continue to traverse the path leading to and around Ka Lu’u O Ka O’o are breaking park regulations.

The hike in is like landing a spacecraft on a foreign world, totally amazing and unique. The hike out is like you crashed your spacecraft and you are stranded lol. Hiking out is pretty tough as it is obviously uphill and the majority of time in loose sand for 2 miles. Definitely bring sunscreen, extra water, and a little trail snack and just take your time. One of a kind experience for sure. Time it right and get back to the car for sunset at the summit, I found it just as remarkable as the sunrise with much less traffic and no need for a reservation. Stargazing about an hour after sunset is a nice bonus as well. This hike took me and my 16 year old son about 3 hours and 45 minutes round trip.

Beautiful perspective views of the crater floor. Remember sun screen.

Very beautiful spot. We hiked to the end of the valley and then back up the hill. Be prepared for a substantial hike, part of which is about 5.5 miles all up hill continuously if you treat this trail as an out and back. Recommend getting there early morning to avoid clouds settling into valley/crater in the afternoon obstructing views.

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!

on Waiakoa Loop Trail

hiking
1 month 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!

on Pa Ka'oao Trail

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months 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
2 months 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.

3 months 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
4 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.

5 months ago

This is a very short walk to a lookout point of the crater. Be aware that the high altitude can make you feel winded. We went in the afternoon on a clear and sunny day, and the views were spectacular. The landscape looks like you are on the moon! If I were to return, I would love to try the Sliding Sands Trail for more of a challenge.

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