Elite Volcano Hike (from Kona)
Explore the Big Island’s explosive side with a National Park Service certified guide!
You'll be taken to all the best spots in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Hike into Kilauea’s caldera, explore lava tubes, and so much more. Your guide will provide you with all the essential background information - the stories, history, and cultural context that will enhance your experience and your appreciation for the natural wonders all around you.
And they’ll even pick you up and drop you off right at your hotel, so you can leave the driving to a pro too!
You’ll travel from Kona to Hilo via the iconic and picturesque Saddle Road, which stretches between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. Just outside of Hilo, you’ll stop to explore Kaumana Caves. Kaumana is a massive lava tube created by Mauna Loa’s destructive 1881 eruption. After Kaumana, your driver will take you on a short drive along Hilo’s historic waterfront.
After a quick stop in Hilo to pick up the day’s provisions, you’ll head to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to continue the adventure. Your tour will include stops at the park’s must-see-attractions and a short, three mile hike into Kileaua’s Caldera.
Halema’uma’u Trail Hike: At just under three miles, this will be your longest hike of the day. Starting from just behind the historic Volcano House hotel, the Crater Rim Trail has long been used by adventurers to hike into Kileaua’s caldera since it was first established in 1846. The trail slowly descends about 425 feet to the caldera floor, which recently doubled in size during the 2018 eruption.
The trail begins with a walk-through ancient tree ferns, which is a great place to spot native birds such as the yellow ‘amakihi and the red ‘apapane. The landscape gradually becomes more barren as you approach the caldera, and you’ll encounter boulders which came to rest along the trail during past rockslides and eruptions. You’ll also spot some of the marks left behind by the earliest tourists and historical figures, dating back to the early 1850’s.
Once you reach the caldera floor, you’ll have an opportunity to take in the massive, steaming, 1,000-foot-deep pit. You’ll then hike up out of the caldera, skirting around the edge via the Byron Ledge Trail. This is a fairly steep ascent, about 400 feet in under half a mile, but it offers sweeping views and plenty of places where you’ll want to stop for photos and catch your breath. And once you reach the top, you’ll enjoy a rewarding view of the caldera below.
Next, you’ll hike to Waldron Overlook and enjoy views of Pu’u Pua’i and Iki Crater. Then, you’ll return to the Volcano House via the Old Crater Rim Drive, a closed park road which is slowly being consumed by vegetation and lava flows. You’ll enjoy a short break and great views once back at the Volcano House. Then your guide will take you to some of the other amazing sites and activities that the park has to offer, including:
- Kilauea Visitor Center
- Look for Pele’s tears and lava trees in the lava flow of Mauna Ulu
- Option to return to the park after dinner for lava viewing (if it is present and conditions permit)
Meals: A picnic lunch in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and a dinner at a restaurant in Volcano Village, just outside of the park, are included in the tour. There are several meal options available for both lunch and dinner. (You’ll be asked to pre order during the checkout process when making your reservation).
Know Before You Go:
- Minimum age: Open to all ages if physical requirements are met. All guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
- Hiking rating: Moderate
- Physical requirements: Guests must be able to walk at least 3 miles, including on uneven or rocky terrain and possibly in cool, wet, or muddy conditions. Other restrictions may apply.
- Itineraries are subject to change without notice due to volcanic activity, weather conditions, park advisories, or other unforeseen circumstances.
- Tours cannot wait for delayed flights. We do not guarantee a return time for flight departures. If flying to the Big Island just for the day, we recommend purchasing a tour that includes flights, so you do not risk missing your tour or flights.
- Payment is required when making your reservation. A confirmation email will be sent to you and will include a voucher, itinerary, and detailed instructions.
- Volcanic gasses are hazardous, especially to people with heart or respiratory problems, infants, young children, and pregnant women. If you are sensitive to poor air quality, please check the air quality alert before visiting.