Hike The Kilauea Iki Trail
Hawaii › Kilauea Iki Trailhead
Added by Jessica Dales
See the best of Volcanoes National Park in one hikeHike through lush rain forest and then down across a newly lava-paved crater with steaming vents4 mile (6.4km) loopMildly steep and rocky 400ft descent and ascent out of the crater
The trail begins at the Kīlauea Iki parking lot on Crater Rim Drive. You may go either way from the trailhead. Going left will take you to the Thurston Lava Tube parking lot and then down to the floor of Kīlauea Iki. Going right will take hikers through the rain forest on the crater rim and down to the crater floor. The trip is gentler and more exciting if you take the Kilauea Iki Trail counterclockwise through the forest first.
Head counterclockwise from the parking lot and hike through a beautiful ancient fern and 'ohi'a forest as the trail wraps around the edge of the Kilauea Iki Crater. There are many spur trails offering awesome views down into the crater and beyond. The trail veers away from the crater for a little while right before it descends into the crater itself. The descent is somewhat steep, but also nice and short!
Once you are on the crater floor you will feel like you're in another world! The contrast between lush forest and barren crater is incredible. Follow the large cairns that have been erected across the crater until you reenter the forest on the opposite end. Keep an eye out for steam escaping from cracks in the lava floor! After you ascend the crater wall, stay to the trail that skirts the edge of the crater until you are back at the overlook and your car. Or, cross the street and check out the Thurston Lava Tube before heading back.
- Sturdy shoes
- Rain gear
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Fantastic, but can be blisteringly hot
The walk across the lava field is other-worldly, but if the sun is out, remember that it is a couple of miles across a dark field of lava without any shade and the heat can be intense. Wear a broad brimmed hat or carry an umbrella. Sudden rains can also drench you while part way across, and again there is no shelter, so be prepared.
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