Hike with a Guide
The Big Island is too big and too full of secrets to grab a hiking stick and head into the wilderness on your own. If you want to get the full experience of this island’s wild and beautiful landscape, take a guided tour.
Hawai‘i Forest & Trail, an award-winning eco-tour company, offers innovative and informative nature adventures and is known for designing hikes that combine exceptional tours with environmental integrity.
The company’s playlist changes frequently. Choose from a 12-hour trek that culminates in a twilight view of erupting Kilauea Volcano and its sizzling lava flow, or venture to Waipi‘o Valley, a largely inaccessible destination known for its natural beauty. HF&T gets you there on a trek that follows a path 1,000 feet above the floor of the valley.
HF&T offers a variety of other outdoor adventures, including hikes in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Kilauea Volcano, the Mauna Kea summit, several waterfall hikes, and a culinary and farm tour. Birding and wildlife treks also are available.
Hiking Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is not your gardenvariety wilderness trek. This is lava land, a national park that features a live volcano with all the daily uncertainties of nature unleashed. The 333,000-acre park, located on the slopes of Mauna Loa, is a trekker’s paradise. Pick a trail through a lava field, around the smoldering Kilauea caldera, on the hot seacoast of Puna and Ka‘u, or at the 13,677-foot summit of Mauna Loa. The longest loop is the Crater Rim Trail, the grand tour of Hawaiian volcanism. The 11.6-mile trip takes about 8 hours on a fairly level path past lava, cinders, steam vents, rifts, craters, tree molds, a lava tube and views of past devastation and struggling new life.
Check with the Park Service for hiking information about active lava flows as well as areas that may be closed due to dangerous conditions. Park rangers also can provide information about the more-challenging overnight hikes in the coastal region and Southwest and East Rift Zones.
The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (808-985-6000), the Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife (808-974-4221) and the Hawai‘i Division of State Parks (808-961-9540) all handle the administration of Hawai‘i Island’s many public access trails. Contact these agencies for permits, reservations and current information concerning hiking.
• Hawai‘i Forest & Trail (800) 464-1993 or (808) 331-8505 • Kalapana Cultural Tours (808) 936-0456