Hike with a Guide

101 Things to Do (Big Island) - - IT’S A BIG, BIG ISLAND -

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

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