The Best Hiking on Hawaii’s Big Island

The Big Island of Hawai’i is one of the most beautiful places on earth. 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones are located on this one island. That makes for some excellent hiking in all kinds of terrain with spectacular views. Here are some of the best hikes on Hawai’i’s Big Island.

Kilauea Crater, Volcanoes National Park
This park offers hikes of all kinds for people with any level of fitness and mobility. There’s the easy hike through the rainforest through Thurston’s Lava Tube, and various paths you can take through the forest. One of the most incredible trails is hiking near Kilauea Crater, where the smoke and ash still rise from a volcano that has not stopped erupting for decades. Be sure to check with the park rangers to make sure it’s safe. This is not a good hike for those with breathing problems. There are also bicycle tours available in the park.

Kalapana Gardens, Puna
When Kilauea destroyed the neighborhood of Kalapana Gardens many years ago, it was thought that there would never be houses there again. People took advantage of the cheap land and started to build. There’s now a small community here where the lava still pours into the sea. This can be an amazing lava hike out along the ocean but check with the people in the parking area about no-go zones. The lava can be unpredictable and pieces of the land fall into the ocean all the time. However, it’s one of the most unique experiences on the island.

Champagne Pond, Kapoho
If you’d like to trek out to a place where the water is heated by the lava underneath and makes the crystal-clear pools like bathwater, hike out to Champagne Pond. This is also a great place to view underwater wildlife, as fish and turtles are attracted to the warmth of the pools just like we are. Champagne Pond is a great place to bring a picnic and marvel at the deep blue of the churning water.

Akaka Falls, Honomu
For a gentle hike, try Akaka Falls just north of Hilo. This gorgeous rainforest walk is good for people of all ages and mobilities, culminating in an awesome view of Akaka Falls thundering hundreds of feet down into a ravine. If you’re hungry afterward, try a fresh custard malasada at Tex’s in Honoka’a.

About the author: James is a guest contributor from Private Homes Hawaii, a Big Island and Oahu vacation rental company.

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