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

Beautiful drive, don’t forget to turn around and look at the view behind you as you drive along. Even though it’s such a popular drive, we were often the only car for several miles at a time. The views at each of the stopping points are lovely (especially the end at the arch). The ice popsicle being sold at the end of the drive is pricey, but delicious!

I had some pretty crappy weather on the way up...bad fog and rain showers, made it to the cabin in 2 hours 50min but I was pushing it....YOU IN NO WAY CAN TAKE THIS TRAIL AFTER DARK the trail is not clearly marked and it is nearly impossible to see anything when all the ground around you is black (even with a light). The next morning the weather was beautiful, the clouds had cleared and you could see all the way to the ocean, amazing trail.
I took this trail late March and it dropped below freezing at red cabin...

7 months ago

Great trail, pretty easy compared to the next section to Mauna Loa. The trail is closer to 7 miles each way making it a 14 round trip. I didn't come back but instead slept there overnight to acclimate for the 13+ mile hike the next day to Mauna Loa cabin. Great route, great trails. BRING LOTS OF WATER AND A FILTER.

This is a very technical trail, you have to watch your footing and look for cairns the whole way. We had snow and it made for very slow progress and we were following footsteps that didn’t follow the cairns to the summit but close enough for us to some solar panels and boxes probably 100ft from top but no footprints to actual top. Good hike but altitude was a bit of a problem for us.

scenic driving
Thursday, July 27, 2017

A lot of places to get out and look around. Also connects up with a lot of trail heads. Some limited and closed. And a lot of hard rated trails. Lave fields can be very hot and windy. Many of the trails connections here provide No shade no shelter no water. Be ready to hike it all in and out. Overnighting in the back country with permit allowed

scenic driving
Thursday, July 13, 2017

Extremely interesting and unique. Be careful as the volcano can be dangerous. Very good views. Unforgettable experience.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

You can no longer get close to the active crater. With signs posted everywhere to warn you not to go any further. It was still an amazing part of our 13mile hike, and wish that one day we can come back.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

excellent family hike

Friday, February 24, 2017

Amazing views. When your on the rim of the crater, you are so high up people appear as ants that are inside of the crater. Climbing back up was a bit of a challenge only because I was not use to such a humid environment. Very rewarding hike. Active steam vents within the crater were amazing.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Definitely a must do!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Just marvelous. You start at parking lot and drop down through verdant tropical forest for half hour, that then opens onto massive lava plain. The trail is marked by ahu (stone cairns), important to keep track of in foggy conditions. Pass by numerous massive rock formations, steam vents and plants reemerging from lava fissures. Take the side path half way across to see the reddish depression that looks like a cave. Sit and enjoy the quiet and breeze while you ponder the miracle of earth. The walk across the lava field is about 45 minutes with a rest, then climbs back up through the birdsong filled forest back to parking lot. We emerged by Thurston Lava Tube so saw that, too. Ten minute walk back down to our car. Just the best!! Moderate hike for experienced hikers, harder for newbies. Take water, hat, camera, snack bar for a rest break.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Definitely worth the view. It is a hard hike and you are constantly lunging; it is a great work out, but if you have a bad knee like I do, wear a knee brace. We were actually able to see the snow at the top which was an incredible experience

scenic driving
Friday, August 12, 2016

An excellent drive, you got to do it if you are here.

scenic driving
Saturday, July 23, 2016

Must do drive in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This review is from my notes in 2007 and 2008, the volcano is still active and new vents open all the time, so the landscape has likely changed. Check the NP website for the latest conditions and not recommended to go off trail. The road is 19 miles to the sea - Allow 3 hrs down and back with stops. Best time for photography of the landscape at the top of the road is either before 9 AM or after 3 PM (when sunlight slants off the lava). Make sure you wear hiking shoes, take lots of water even at night, but more in the day, and if it rains you’ll need something waterproof to protect your camera or phones, wear pants and hat, take flashlight and binoculars and stay on the trails. Should be at the end of the road by nightfall to see the lava glow - preferably 1-2 hrs before dusk (4:30-5) to see lava in the daylight as well as the dark. Allow time to hike to the lava – sunset is around 7PM (don’t forget your flashlight). Where lava reaches the sea, you will have a toxic cocktail of HCL acid and sulfuric acid, stinging the eyes and damaging sunglasses and cameras - commonly called "vog." Make sure to wipe off camera afterwards (air is acidic and is hard on electronics). If you get too close to the lava, the heat may consume your camera battery. Be prepared for intense sunlight and noxious fumes.
For about 4 miles as you head towards the coast, the route follows the upper part of the active East Rift Zone. Scenic turnouts and short walks bring you to the rims of several impressive craters, but don’t bother with the Kookoolau. First road to the right is Hilina Pali Rd with blind curves, sharp rises and fog (after 2.2 miles). At the end of the road (8.3 miles) is the impressive Hilina Pali Overlook, a lookout at 2280 ft with a GREAT view of the southeast coast – trails in this area lead to the coast but are long, hot, and dull. Back to CofC Rd and at .1 miles from the intersection stop at Devil’s Throat on left (60 sec walk & it is UNMARKED). Next take the turnoff on the left of C of C Rd (3.5 mile down C of C Rd - Distance from VC to TH is 8 miles/25 minutes) and park in the Mauna Ulu parking area to take the Puu Huluhulu Overlook Trail (first leg of the Napau Trail = 18 miles and 9 hrs long - the first 5 miles of the trail follows what was once C of C Rd), a 3 mile RT (2 hr) hike up to Pu’u Huluhulu to the overlook at the top - crosses over lava flows from 1974 and climbs to the top of a 150 ft cinder cone, where you will have a panoramic view of Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, Pu’u O’o vent (look for steam far to the east), Kilauea, the East Rift Zone, the ocean, and Mauna Ulu - the large steaming domelike hill directly to the south. Bring water. Prepare for hot and dry or wet and windy weather. Follow the (rock piles) over the lava flows. Sulfur fumes may be strong on some days. Next, back on the C of Craters Rd. you will drive over several miles of Pahoehoe lava flows produced when the Mauna Ulu formed in the 1970’s. At the turnouts you can stand on some of the newest ground on Earth (At the 14 MM look at the segment of the old partially covered CofC Rd and just past the 15MM there’s a lava tube on the left). This lava is more than 2000 degrees F and begins fluid then chills to a smooth, ropy surface. This rock contrasts with a’a – thicker, slow-moving lava that has hardened into a chaotic jumble of rough jagged cinders. Stop at turnouts to see sweeping views of lava flows and white-capped waves pounding the black shoreline (Picnic at Kealakoma at the covered picnic shelter). Then Petroglyphs trail area (1.25 hrs and 2 mile RT walk). About 21 miles offshore, a huge undersea volcano is building a future Hawaiian island, named Loihi. Next, just before the 19 MM, look for the sign marking the Holei Sea Arch (walk less than a minute) - the huge coastal shelf is breaking away and sinking into the sea. The road ends at a 2003 lava flow. Since 1986 an almost continuous flow of lava from Pu’u O’o has buried several miles of the road and a VC at the end - follow the reflectors to a safe observation point. Stay at least 400 yards inland and take your flashlights. RT can take anywhere from 20 minutes to several hrs. Park rangers mark a path to a safe viewpoint close to current flows. Port-a-potties, but no water, check with rangers to see what’s happening, including what you can see at night. We've enjoyed this trip twice, each time is something new. Love the end of the road signs under the lava. Definitely an experience.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

There are so many trails around the crater rim. Some sections were closed when we went, so this only covers those areas that were open (mostly on the East side).

The Good:
- Great views for most of the trail!
- Vegetation changes from rocky to lush and back.
- Steam vents along one section are fun and warm you up on a colder day.
- Trail intersects many other trails. Explore!
- Parking spots all along the trail so you can start and stop where you like.
- Easy. Everyone can hike this trail.

The Not So Good:
- No water. Bring your own.
- Some areas are in full sun. Plan accordingly.
- Some sections are closed due to volcanic activity. Check with the rangers.

Bottom Line: All trails around here are fun. Pick one and explore!

scenic driving
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