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See the best of Volcanoes National Park in one hike. Hike through lush rain forest and then down across a newly lava-paved crater with steaming vents. 4 mile (6.4km) loop. Mildly 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.

Pack List

  • Sturdy shoes
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Rain gear
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Park near the Lodge (across the street from the visitors center) and start your hike on the Iliahi trail. From the back of the lodge turn right to find the trailhead and begin walking down into the forest. You will come across three trail forks, keep left at all of them until you meet up with the Kilauea trail loop. Follow the loop (make sure to stop at the lava tubes) and continue on back on the Crater Rim trail which will take you to the lodge. This will add about 2.5mi to the 4 mi loop. Enjoy!

9 months ago
9 months ago

Really cool hike through some quite varied terrain

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

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.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is a definite must if you're in the Volcanoes Park! Spreading from forest floor to barren volcanic tubes, you'll get your breadth of views and experiences.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Jessica Dales

Seattle based adventurer. Taking pictures as I go.

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