Kīlauea Iki hike at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Posted on Posted in Things to Do In Volcano National Park

Kīlauea Iki : 4 miles roundtrip
~1.5 – 2 hour hike

Hike across a solidified lava lake while exploring the Kīlauea Iki crater!

The trail head for this 4-mile loop trail is at the Kīlauea Iki Overlook and Parking area. The Kīlauea Iki trail starts off to the right. During the trail, you walk through unique Native Hawaiian rain forest along the rim of the crater which keeps you shady and cool. Along the trail there are many viewpoints therefore giving spectacular different views of the crater. The trail descends 400 feet down into the crater, hence, you walk across the Kīlauea Iki crater floor. On the opposite end of the crater floor, there are switch backs to exit the crater. Once you exit the crater, either pop into the lava tube for an extra half mile, or continue the trail is to your left for a half mile back to the parking area.  

Did you know?

The highest recorded lava fountain of Kilauea Volcano came from Pu’u Pua’i (lit. gushing hill) which is seen throughout this hike. That particular lava fountain eruption in 1959 reached heights of 1,900 feet (taller than the empire state building) and flowed back down into this crater creating a boiling hot lava lake. The top of the lava lake has solidified, but under the surface the crater is still very hot with active steam vents that pop up through cracks in the crater floor.

Quick Tips:

-The Kīlauea Visitor Center shows historic footage of the 1959 eruption at 11:30 & 2:30 daily so you can see what the crater looked like before and during that eruption. Catch that film before or after doing the hike to see what happened just 58 years ago!

-The National Park Service offers a free PDF trail guide for this hike here.

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