The Big Island in Hawaii really does have some exceptional hiking trails that are some of the best ways to explore the landscape of the islands. Whether you are just up for a stroll to admire the amazing scenery of the islands or love hardcore treks, the beautiful hikes on the Big Island will definitely be a good option.
There is literally so much you that is waiting for you on these hike trails: rainforests, sandy beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes, gardens, and petroglyphs to name a few. Below, we have compiled a list of the best hikes you can take as well as what you should expect from it and what makes it special. Some a strenuous or moderate while others are more leisurely strolls, so you can take them according to preferences.
10. The Kipuka Puaulu Trail In The Volcano Region
The word ‘Kipuka’ implies a land that was lava at one point and was even surrounded on every side by recent lava flows. When such areas are left undisturbed for a long time, they turn into an ecosystem that attracts a lot of different species. The Kipuka Puaulu Train is also known as the Bird Park. There are old fern and ohia tree forests in the region that have become a home for many of the birds on Big Island such as the colorful and beautiful Khalij Pheasant.
It is a 1-mile hike that takes around 30 minutes to complete at a stroll level. The trailhead has barbeque pits, picnic tables, and a restroom for the perfect picnic.
9. Napau Crater Trail In The Volcano Region
The Napau Crater Hike zigzags through the now smooth Pahoehoe lava that flowed through 1974. The a’a lava field is also jagged with black rocks that look stunning against the green scenery. The trail does require a permit though and is around 7 miles long. The first leg of your journey of around a mile takes hikers straight to the Pu’u Huluhulu. There is a cinder cone draped by trees but the surroundings are all barren (pretty stunning still though).
The area experienced the second-longest flank eruption of Kilauea. You should make sure to follow the reflective markers along the trail that have been set across the now cool lava.
8. King’s Mamalahoa Trail And Petroglyphs In The Kohala Region
The King’s Trail has petroglyphs that have been preserved by the Big Island’s authorities. There are around 30,000 carvings of people and animals that still show up in the pahoehoe lava flow that were made by the ancestors of Hawaiians.
We recommend bringing water and wearing sturdy shoes for the hike.
7. Chain of Craters Road In The Volcano Region
Definitely one of the most unique experiences for hiking, the Chain of Craters Road is an 18-mile road. It travels up to around 4,000 feet elevation about sea level. The route is quite scenic with the volcanoes of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in a distance. There are many different hiking trails along this road that will take you through breathtaking areas. You will be able to walk through various craters with petroglyphs and lava flows.
6. Papakolea Green Sand Beach Hike In The South Kau Region
One of the most beautiful hikes on the Big Island, you will be able to take in one of the only four beaches with green sand in the world. The Green Sand Beach has semi-precious, greenish stones called olivines that come from the cinder cone, Pu’u o Mahana.
The hike is of 2 miles along different ruts that lead to Green Beach, which is quite a secluded area too.
5. Pololu Valley Awini Trail In The Kohala Region
The Pololu Valley can be accessed through 270 Highway. The Awini Trail along the road leads to the Pololu Valley beach that is known as the black sand beach. The hike is for lasts for around half an hour. The best part can be sinking into the cool ocean water of the beach after your hike.
4. Makalawena Beach Hike In The Kohala Region
Makalawena Beach is definitely a bit of work to get to. The secluded beautiful white sand beach is surrounded by lumps of lava rock that is a reward for the hike you need to take to get there. There are gorgeous palm trees and others that stand along the dunes on the northern side of the beach. You will be able to spot some wild chickens in the area as well as some picnic tables.
3. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden In North Hamakua
The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is known as the most beautiful botanical park in the world, which is why all visitors should definitely go there. The preserved rainforest is truly a stunning location. You can go through the forest with the aid of a map that will take you through the different sections of the lush wonderland.
2. Akaka Falls State Park In The North Hamakua Region
The Akaka Falls State Park lie on the northeastern side of the Hamakua Coast. It has two shimmering waterfalls surrounded by delightful tropical lush greenery. The stroll-level hike of the Akaka Falls is definitely as beautiful as the falls at the end. You can follow the paved pathway that flows through small waterfalls, babbling streams, and amazing greenery.
1. Kilauea Iki Trail In The Volcano Region
When you reach the Kilauea Iki area, you will be able to see the light trail that travels across the crater floor. From the high point of 400 feet, you will be able to see small specks of other hikers on the path too. The hike is a 4-mile loop that can take up to 3 hours. The hike starts at the crater’s rim then dips down and across the cool lava floor before going back to the overlook site. You will be able to go through a jungle with graceful ferns and ohia trees from the trail.
We hope you have a great time exploring the beautiful hikes on the Big Island!