|The Insider's Guide to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The Best Things to See and Do at Kilauea Volcano
including Volcano Village
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the information on Volcano
Village and Hawaii
Volcanoes National Park,
|A 5 to 6 hour,
6 mile Kilauea
volcano eco hiking
eerie lava tube
|On the other hand, interested in a self-guided tour?
This is the guidebook you need!
of this active
on this most
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|A great guide!
Ainahou Ranch, Chain of Craters, Devastation Trail and Desolation Peak, Holei Sea Arch, Ka’u Desert
Footprints, Kipuka Puaulu (Bird Park), Namakani Paio (Place of the Conflicting Winds), and the unbelievable
Place of the Guardians (Pele’s Playground). Other incredible sights include Pu’u Huluhulu (Shaggy Hill), Pua Po’
o (Cock’s Comb Cave, Wild Cave), Steaming Bluff, Sulfur Banks, Sandalwood Trail, The Enchanted Forest, and
Tree Molds. These are only some of the places
you’ll love exploring!
Also, the best of Volcano Village, the storybook pretty hamlet just outside of the Park, and the place where you
will want to stay during your visit to Kilauea, is included.
This is the Kilauea guide for both families on vacation and adventurers extraordinaire!
You won't be able to wait to get there!
Our Kilauea Hawaii volcano eco hike begins in the high Hawaiian rainforest at
Kilauea Iki look-out, in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where, just 50 years
ago, the highest and hottest lava fountain ever recorded in Hawaiian history, 1900
feet!, spewed spectacular fireworks like never seen before, creating a wide, flat lake
of black lava 414 feet deep. Looking down 500 feet onto the congealed lava,
which appears as a sea of black waves, people appear as ants traversing the caldera
floor, still steaming through cracks and rifts in the earth's crust. As we traverse the
lush tropical jungle, we meet the "King and Queen" of the rainforest and their
minions, the native plants and animals of the islands, of which more than 90%
are endemic, found nowhere else on planet Earth!
We are introduced to the red-haired, red-eyed legendary Goddess Pele,
"She-Who-Shapes-The-Sacred-Land," and learn about Kamapua'a, the pig god,
who was smitten with love for her.
Descending into Kilauea Iki crater via switchback trails, we experience the surreal,
thrilling one-mile trek across what once was a molten lava lake, now hardened
ropey pahoehoe and sharp, treacherous, clinkery a'a lava, surrounded by 500 foot
cliffs. Where else in the world can you walk on lava in the caldera
of a volcano active only 50 years ago? Only here in Hawaii Volcanoes
National Park! Hawks, koa'e kea (white-tailed tropic birds) and clouds
soar high overhead, as we pass Pu'u Pua'i cinder cone, Eruption Hill.
Kilauea Iki caldera may be hot and windy, cold and rainy, misty or foggy -
whatever! And conditions may change in a moment! Often, ethereal rainbows
appear like magic through the steaming vents on the caldera floor, which sparkles
with millions of glittery green crystals of olivine and titanium rainbow lava.
Truly an alien landscape, you may feel as if you are on the moon!
Carefully ascending the steep trail out of the crater and back into the Hawaiian
rainforest, we head for our next destination, Devastation Trail. Along the way,
we encounter stunning views of the huge Kilauea Caldera and Halema'uma'u,
home of Goddess Pele, from which a lovely snow-white plume, appearing like a
cloud-maker, has been issuing since 2008. But don't be fooled! That plume is made
of toxic and lethal gases which have created what we on the Islands call "vog." We
stop on Byron's Ledge for great photographs, and continue on through a lovely
forest path carpeted with gold moss which we call "the yellow-brick road," passing
a bright green grove of what appear to be giant Boston Ferns. We stop again at a
cliff-hanger among the giant ferns for another spectacular view and photographs of
The terrain changes as we approach Kilauea volcano Devastation Trail, becoming
drier and warmer, until the path itself becomes pure cinder. Pu'u Pua'i comes again
into sight, but from this vantage point, appears as a perfect curve of blondish-reddish
earth, Pele's Breast. Above us is the ghostly Devastation Peak, and all around
us are bleached white tree bones, the macabre skeletons of trees, in all their
ghostly beauty, and the landscape dotted with cinder pit craters, just as they were left
by Kilauea Iki's eruption of 1959. As we climb Devastation Hill, through Ohia trees
usually loaded with crimson-red lehua blossoms, the food of 90% of Hawaii's native
birds, superb views of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea arise before our eyes; that
is, weather permitting, for sometimes the mountains are blanketed by eerie fog and
This is the best place on the island to see and photograph Mauna Loa, the biggest
mountain on Earth, the second largest in the solar system, in its entirety--in
winter, it may by draped by a majestic mantle of gleaming snow. We pause on
Kilauea volcano Devastation Peak and just breathe in the vision of the tropical
mountains, the unbelievably huge hole in the ground below us, Kilauea Crater, and
the Ka'u Desert in the distance. We then continue on the cinder trail, passing
charred remains of Ohia trees, the famous "volcano tree molds." Our trailwinds
around to yet another view of Pu'u Pua'i, from which we totter on the sheer cliff side
and look down into Kilauea Iki and the path which we traversed earlier.
Next we visit Pele's Playground, a place so special I am not going to post a photo
here. This is a place that defies description, and few people know about, an eerie
lava landscape of lava monsters and other whimsical, fantastic creatures, a totally
surreal fantasy land! A place that bears the echoes of childhood dreams and
nightmares! Seeing is believing!
After visiting Pele's Playground, we continue on to a real treat, a two mile silent
retreat walk through an old growth Kilauea volcano rainforest. Why silent? So
that you may experience the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park rainforest in all of its
mystery and magic. We guides call this the "Enchanted Forest," and enchanting it
is. Creaking limbs, whispering and sighing breezes, chirping, trilling, rare songbirds,
the gurgling of shy
Kalij fowls, and the mesmerizing om of swordtail crickets delight the ears. The
giant tree ferns, many 30 feet tall, wave their delicate, feathery fronds in the
breezes, touching us gently as if blessing us as we pass along the path beside them.
Rare endemic plants surround us at every turn in the trail - stag's tongue ferns, wild
orchids... thimble berry and wild strawberry abound. This is the gentle woodland
garden realm of Laka, the beautiful goddess of the forest.
Nature spirits are alive and well here! We walk in silence and awe through a forest
which once only bird catchers and sacred herb gatherers walked in solitude, and if
we are attuned, we may feel how the ancients must have felt walking through this
sacred ground - respectful, appreciative and with wonder. We take our time to
enjoy and drink in the magic and mystery of this pristine rainforest.
Leaving the Enchanted Forest, we hike along a portion of Crater Rim Trail and
arrive at our last stop, Nahuku Crater, with its 1500 foot long lava tube cave,
Thurston Lava Tube. The first section of the cave is artificially lit, but the last
portion, almost one-third mile long, with its gaping dark entrance, looks foreboding.
No worries, however! Our guide has flash lights for everyone, and we carefully walk
through the cavernous tunnel of fallen rock piles, puddles of water, and roots
hanging eerily from the ceiling, to the very end of the cave. Here, if you dare, we
turn out all the lights and sit in the absolute darkness, deep under the earth, and listen
to the only sound to be heard...the water drops from the hidden earth above us.
Backtracking through Thurston lava tube cave, we climb the slope of Nahuku crater
and hit the trail again. One-half mile back to our starting point, Kilauea Iki
overlook. A truly magical, mystical tour through eons of evolutionary time!
|Want to hike Kilauea?
This is the best of all Kilauea volcano Hawaii adventures!
|A hale and hearty Kilauea volcano nature hike for the adventurous! An exhilarating, inspiring trek
through the tropical Hawaiian rainforest, across a still-steaming caldera, over a ghostly cinder-cone, into a
giant lava tube cave... and much, much more!
in the Hawaiian
Some of the
rarest birds in
the world live on
You are may see
or the magnificent
Hawaiian hawk, the
A great Hawaii
giant lava cave,
which a river
on its way to
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