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The Best Hikes in Hawaii Volcanoes NP National Park

15 Triplog Reviews in the Hawaii Volcanoes NP National Park
Most recent of 4 deeper Triplog Reviews
4.1 mi • 470 ft aeg
First hike of our much anticipated day trip to Volcanoes National Park. We did the Kilauea Iki - Crater Rim Loop and it was fantastic. amazing scenery and everything well marked. perfect weather. walking across the big open volcano crater makes one feel small, especially with the beyond massive Mauna Loa looming in the background.

fantasic short hike in the national park
15.88 mi • 3,257 ft aeg
Hilina Pali to Halape
This was the one long hike we decided to do while on the Big Island. We were warned by the guy who gave us our camping permit that the final climb up the Hilina Pali (pali means cliff in Hawaiian) was "rough," and that we might be better off starting from the Chain of Craters road instead. We decided that the "rough" path would be way more gratifying. :D

The climb down the cliff went quick, but there was lots of loose gravely lava rock that we knew would not be nearly as much fun going back up. Once we 'd reached the flat desert at the bottom, the trail disappeared and was replaced by a series of huge cairns stretching off into the distance. I enjoyed this section: the field of tall grass was interrupted by hardened lava flows that hadn't been grown over yet. It was fun to walk along the lava, trying to avoid stepping through grass for as long as possible, without getting too far off course in the process... kind of like finding a path of stones across a stream. :]

There was a small forested section about halfway to our campsite, so we stopped for a quick snack in the semi-shade. The next section was my absolute favorite: it was SUPER windy, and we were heading straight into the wind. There was a good mile where I couldn't hear anything over the howling, and it almost felt like being underwater! Once we reached the Halape trail and caught sight of the bright blue waters and palm trees up ahead, we picked up the pace substantially.

The camp site was amazing! There was a large tide pool just west of the camping area, which we immediately investigated. We spent the rest of the evening reading on the beach under a palm tree while the sun set over the ocean-- not too shabby! :]

The hike back the next morning ended up being pretty ridiculous. There wasn't that much elevation gain, and it wasn't that hot, but something about it just kicked my butt.

I had barely reserved enough mental stamina for the two miles I thought were remaining when I suddenly realized that the last mile and a half was just climbing up the cliff, and we were definitely more than half a mile away from the bottom of the cliff... "and now that I'm looking for it, where the heck is the trail up? Oh. There it is. Way back there behind us. Crap."

After pulling out a map, we saw that, thankfully, there was another trail that reconnected us to our route.. but we'd still added on about a mile and a half to our trip. Oops. Oh also I was very sunburnt. Which never happens. AND one of the straps on Jared's pack broke, and the "fix" definitely wasn't very ergonomic.

I must have stopped acting like myself during the final climb, because Jared asked several times if he could carry my pack for me. I refused at first, until my mouth started watering like I was about to throw up (oh, heat stroke!). So for the last quarter mile, Jared carried both packs. Yeah. I'm not proud, but heat stroke is no joke. Better safe (and very embarrassed) than sorry!

All-in-all, the hike was still excellent, and I learned a valuable lesson: no matter how tired you are, don't stop paying attention to which trail you're on. Durr. :]
3.4 mi • 0 ft aeg
While in Volcano National Park, I had to check out the petroglyphs that were chipped into the dried lava. The trail starts from the Chain of Craters road and has an ocean view. It's also in more of a flat area where the wind seems to be a constant companion.

The petroglyphs from between 1200-1450 are found on the pahoehoe lava bedrock which is mostly smooth. I saw many holes in which parents would place the umbilical cord of their child. This was to ensure the long life of their child. There were also many circles, stick men, and I even found a sea turtle form.

What I find interesting is that the human form is often depicted in the same manor on the island as well as on the mainland.
4 mi • 460 ft aeg
We've been in Hawaii this past week. We snorkeled with Manta Rays, kayaked with dolphins, and hung out with some endangered sea turtles on a black sand beach. Even with all of those activities we still had to hike!

The day before we did a short introduction to Volcano National Park. We were so excited we had to do a more in depth investigation. The Kilauea Iki Trail is known as one of the best hikes in the park so off we went.

We started at the Thurston Lava Tube trailhead and then made our way to the actual Kilauea Iki trailhead via a rainforest trail. As we walked we paused at each of the trail stops to read the information from our trail guide. If you go, I definitely recommend getting the trail guide as you will learn a lot about volcanoes if you do.

Finally we started down into the crater. We could see a bathtub ring (lava subsidence terrace) which showed how high the lava lake had come up during it's time. From there we followed Ahu (cairns) that marked the trail across the crater floor.

The last major eruption at Kilauea Iki was in 1959. Even though that event was a long time ago for us humans, it was a recent event geologically and there is a lot to learn from it.

We stopped near the main vent which is at the base of a cinder cone called Pu'u Pua'i. The vent built Pu'u Pua'i by spewing cinder and spatter. The cinder cone is very colorful because of the hot gases oxidizing the iron rich minerals in the lava.

As we walked on the solid lava lake it was hard to believe that the lake itself is 440 feet deep. We found drill holes from when the scientists were measuring. We also discovered that in places the ground was still hot, as rain went into the cracks it emerged shortly in the form of steam.

After we climbed out of the crater we visited Thurston Lava Tube. A lava tube occurs when lava is flowing and the outside layer hardens while the inside is still a flowing liquid. The liquid drains out and we're left with a tube in the earth.

That night we went to observe the glow from the 520 ft wide active vent in Halema?uma?u Crater that is emitting a gas and steam plume. After having spent the morning in Kilaueua Iki it gave us a whole new appreciation to volcanic activity.
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