Hot Destination

Hike a Classic Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Pay homage to the largest land builder in Hawaii—volcanoes! Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii Island (aka the Big Island), is nature’s demonstration of how volcanoes built the Hawaiian Islands over the last 70 million years.

Hiker going through the forest in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hiker on the lava field trail at as part of the Kilauea Iki trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hiker on an ancient lava field at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Kilauea Iki trail

And the best hike to do in this beautiful national park? Go with the 3-mile (round-trip) classic Kilauea Iki loop for a forest-to-lava-lake adventure. The highlight? You get to walk across a once-molten lake of lava so vast and dramatic and interesting it’s almost as if you’re on another planet. Back in 1959 this volcano erupted, spewing lava 1,900 feet into the air! There are still steaming vents on the crater floor.

Hiker overlooking the lava field at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The hike starts in a rainforest on the crater rim (we recommend starting at Kilauea Iki Overlook and going counterclockwise). Enjoy the lush ancient ferns and ‘ohi‘a forest as you get bird’s-eye views into the crater and a few informational signs along the way detailing some of the history of the national park.

Then descend to the vast and totally unique lava bed, once a molten lake. Massive crevices to the walk, and sprigs of floral add color, including the beautiful and resilient lehua. There’s plenty of room as you cross this field … so much so that you may feel like you have the place all to yourself.

Hiker walking across the ancient lava bed in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Climb back out via the rainforest, and at the parking lot you can take a brief detour across the street to hike a 0.4-mile loop through Nahuku (Thurston Lava Tube), a subterranean cave that was long ago formed by flowing lava.

Hiker heads into Thurston Lava Tube at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Afternoon on the Island

    What is it about tiny islands in the middle of lakes? There’s something that just draws you in. It’s even more fun when getting there is half the adventure because you have to reach it by canoe, kayak, paddleboat, or a ranger guided boat tour!

  2. Camp and Kayak at Utica Reservoir in Stanislaus National Forest

    Sleeper Hit

    It's all about the water, and the camping, at Utica Reservoir in Stanislaus National Forest, a High Sierra reservoir perfect for kayak explorations and pitching your tent with the lake in the background.

  3. Hiker in the forest at Mount Sutro in San Francisco

    San Francisco's Middle Earth

    No need to travel to New Zealand to visit Middle Earth. San Francisco’s Mount Sutro Open Space is practically Hobbiton—a hidden “shire” in the middle of the city. Okay, maybe not quite as magical, but still an incredible place to take a hike in city limits.

  4. Woman walking down the stairs overlooking the ocean on the Coastal Trail in San Francisco

    America's Best Urban Hike

    Many years ago we dubbed it the “Grand Walk” and said it was one of the most scenic and stunning trails in the West. We were wrong. This is the most scenic urban hike in America!


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Two people smiling for a selfie on Santa Cruz Island Channel Island National Park

    Island Ahoy!

    Take to the seas on a weekend adventure to remote Santa Cruz Island (the largest among Channel Islands National Park) and an idyllic campsite coupled with a rugged 8-mile (round-trip) trek to a hidden beach.

  2. woman on rocks at Salt Point State Park Sonoma Coast

    Sweet and Salty

    Located on Highway 1 about 18 miles north of Jenner, Salt Point State Park is wild, scenic, and one of the most beautiful places to do some classic coastal camping.

  3. Woman biking the Ventura to Ojai bike path in Ventura County

    Ojai There!

    If a substantive and super scenic bike ride is right in your wheelhouse, do the 30-mile (round-trip) Ventura-to-Ojai bike path that begins (and ends) near the Ventura shoreline, pit-stopping in delightful Ojai for food and drinks.

  4. Masterpiece Marshland + Beers

    San Dieguito Lagoon is one of the biggest wetland habitats in America. Uncover the magical marshland masterpiece on a gentle 3-mile out-and-back urban hike with a pit stop at a brewery.