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Hike to the Big Island 61G Lava Flow

Pāhoa, Hawaii



10 miles

Route Type



Added by John Ditomaso

Remember the game we used to play as kids where you couldn't touch the ground because it was Lava? Well, I melted my boots. 

This adventure was one of my most favorite expeditions. It is a long 10 mile round trip hike, but once you reach the lava I guarantee you will feel energized. Feeling the blistering heat and watching the lava creep forward growing the island is an event you need to experience.

Once you follow the Chain of Craters Road to the end you will have to park your car along the road and start your trek. There are bathrooms at the beginning of the trek and I highly recommend you go as there are no more down the way. Also there is a small shack where the park rangers sell snacks and water but come prepared. After the bathrooms and shacks it is a straight shot down the gravel road. If you go when it is dark out your guiding light will be the glow of the lava fields in the distance. 

 The 61G lava flow which is southeast of Pu'u O o, is streaming down the Pulama Pali onto Kilauea volcano's east rift zone and is flowing into the ocean. 

Fortunately the park is open 24 hrs a day but I suggest starting extremely early to catch the sunrise at the lava flow or later in the afternoon for the sunset. 

Getting to the lava flow is a long long walk. 90% of the road will be gravel so boots or tennis shoes are necessary. 

You must bring at least 3-4 liters of water per person as it is a long trek. If you plan to do it in the early morning or at night bring a flash light/headlamp for each person. Everything looks the same at night and there is no cellular service.

To avoid the troublesome long trek you can ride a bike on the gravel road all day long. I wouldn't recommend it at night though. You can rent a bike in Hilo, Kaui, or at the Park's resort.

When you get to the lava flow there will be a rope that shows where the flow starts. Otherwise it is pretty obvious as the flow has covered the gravel road. 

If you follow the rope to the right you will head to the cliffs and see the lava pouring into the ocean. This was the more scenic and spectacular moment of the trip. It is vital that you don't breath in the fumes cast off from the lava and water. Also while walking on the lava rock you will feel the temperature difference. 

Going left from the rope you will find the lava flow on land. The park and locals ask that you be respectful and do not disturb or use the lava in any way as it is the physical form of the Hawaiian goddess Pele. 

Note* Pets, overnight camping, and drones are prohibited

Overall it was one of the most incredible experiences and I hope that everyone who can visit the lava flow, while it is this strong, does so. 

Please be careful and Enjoy! 

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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