More than 150 miles of hiking trails lie within the boundaries of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Before starting out on a hike, stop at the Kīlauea Visitor Center
to learn about current trail conditions, parking availability and the status of volcanic eruptions.
One of the easiest and most accessible hiking trails you can tackle is the Crater Rim Trail. This volcano hike follows the north edge of the Kīlauea caldera, the large depression at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano
. Reach the trail from several spots along Crater Rim Drive
, including from Volcano House, the Steam Vents, Kīlauea Overlook and Uēkahuna (at the western end of Crater Rim Drive).
A wheelchair-accessible and stroller-friendly portion of the Crater Rim Trail starts across from the Kīlauea Visitor Center. This portion — called Kūpinaʻi Pali, or Waldron Ledge — offers a panoramic view of the Kīlauea Caldera and Halemaʻumaʻu crater. Expect the Waldron Ledge trail to take about 45 minutes to an hour to complete (it’s 1-mile roundtrip).
Walk along the Devastation Trail to see a barren landscape caused by the 1959 Kīlauea Iki eruption. The paved trail is both wheelchair- and stroller-accessible.
Another easy hike is Ha‘akulamanu, or Sulphur Banks. About 1.2 miles roundtrip from the Kīlauea Visitor Center, the Sulphur Banks trail includes boardwalks and has views of steam and volcanic gases rising up from the ground. The volcanic gas, a mixture of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide, has a strong smell often described as rotten eggs or a struck match. (Note: Avoid this trail if you are pregnant or traveling with infants, young children, people with heart or respiratory conditions or those who are pregnant. If volcanic gases are particularly strong during your visit, you may want to avoid certain areas of the park.)
If you’re up for a more moderate or challenging hike, consider the Kīlauea Iki Trail
. You’ll cross a lake made of hardened lava on this 3.3-mile loop from the Kīlauea Overlook.
Another moderate hike is to the Puʻuloa Petroglyphs. The 1.4 mile roundtrip hike is accessible from Chain of Craters Road. You’ll cross a lava field more than 500 years old to see etchings made by Native Hawaiians.
If your main reason for visiting Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is to see volcanic lava, you’ll need to visit when conditions are right and the sky is dark. If a nighttime hike sounds doable, plan to hike to Keanakākoʻi Crater. The one-mile hike is across uneven terrain, so bring a flashlight and good walking shoes. You most likely won’t be able to admire the lava itself — it’s in a lake deep inside the crater — but if conditions are right, you may be able to see the red-orange glow of lava reflecting off the gases and clouds hovering above the crater. Check with park rangers at the Kīlauea Visitor Center about current weather conditions and lava visibility before making the trip.