The majestic island of Hawaii has long been recognized as a heaven for hikers. Whether you are looking for a short stroll or a challenging and dangerous trail through fields of lava, scenic trails or historic trails, there is something for everyone while hiking in Hawaii. Perhaps the most scenic and dangerous option for hiking in Hawaii is climbing up the Haiku Stairs to reach the magical summit of Puu Keahiakahoe so you can look at the might and glory of the Koolau mountain range. Known as Hawaii’s Stairway to Heaven, be warned though, going up these stairs requires a $1 million insurance policy! Thankfully, not every hike is like this one.
The best thing about hiking in Hawaii is that there are just so many options to choose from. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is THE place to start a hiking adventure with more than 150-miles of trails open to you. Beginners can enjoy a taste of hiking in Hawaii by going on a day hike through the Na Haku (Thurston Lava Tube) or the Chain of Craters Road, or the volcanic fields at Kalapana to enjoy the majestic sight of lava flowing into the sea. If you are an experienced backpacker looking for more adventurous hiking in Hawaii options, head to the Kilauea Visitor Center to obtain permits, maps, and requisite information from the ranger so you can embark on an overnight hike into the park’s backcountry.
Other popular options for hiking in Hawaii include the King’s Trail or the Ala Kahakai National Historic Rail on the Kona Coast, and the Pololu Valley Lookout in North Kohala. If you are hoping to capture an unforgettable tropical vista while hiking in Hawaii, choose one of these top scenic trails here.
Embrace the Visual Splendor of Waterfalls
Hawaii is a land that boasts many high waterfalls. However, not many of the higher falls are easily accessible. If the beautiful Hawaiian sun glinting off the busy waters is a picture that excites you, head to Akaka Falls Loop. Akaka Falls State Park covers more than 65 acres of land, and boasts two enthralling waterfalls. While the Kahuna Falls are 100-foot, the one you should be aiming at is the Akaka Falls which is a stunning 442-foot. For a waterfall of this height, the Akaka Falls are quite easy to access, and should make it to your hiking in Hawaii itinerary. Not only is the hike to the waterfalls a short one (0.4-miles of paved footpath loop), but it also happens to be a very scenic route. The footpath loops through a sylvan rainforest complete with bamboo groves, ferns, and beautiful wild orchids. This is a must-visit location while hiking in Hawaii.
Enter a Lava Tube
Nestled in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you will find plenty of difficult hikes that are great for those in top physical condition, but there are many easy-breezy hiking in Hawaii options for novice hikers too. One such beautiful scenic trail in the Park is the 20-minute hike that takes you to the 500-foot long Thurston Lava Tube that once carried red-hot molten lava. This lava tube was formed many hundreds of years ago owing to a big volcanic eruption at the summit of the Kilauea Volcano. The lava tube was discovered in 1913 by Lorrin Thurston who was a publisher at the local newspaper. The walk is through a radiantly thick fern forest which offers some scenic views, through the Thurston Lava Tube or Na Haku, as it is known in Hawaii, and out through a collapse in the roof of the tube.
Whether you’re an expert hiker or novice, here are a few views that are worth climbing for.
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