Breathtaking Hikes While On Big Island

Visiting Hawaii can be one of the most memorable experiences in your life. If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure while on the Big Island of Hawaii, look no further than its many hiking trails. There is something for everyone, from easy nature walks to strenuous climbs up volcanoes. No matter your ability or experience level, you’re sure to find a perfect hike for you. This article will list breathtaking hikes while on the big island to find the right fit for you!

Makalawena Beach Trail

Makalawena Beach, on the north shore of the Big Island’s North Kohala District, may be the finest beach in Hawaii that is not accessible by vehicle. Several bays out of the Kona Coast with beautiful white sand and palm shade. When heading to this beach, there are two different hiking trails. The first one is a little easier and is just over 1.6 miles. The rough roaded trail passes a few fainter trails and breaks southwest toward Awakee Bay. Then, go another quarter mile to find yourself at the center of Makalawena Beach. The most northwesterly bay is sheltered and extremely quiet. 

King’s Mamalahoa Trail

The trek along the Mamalahoa Trail leads to some of the best-kept petroglyphs on the island. The ancient Hawaiians created almost 30,000 animal and person carvings in ancient pahoehoe lava flows. The trail, built in the mid-19th century for horse travel, stretched 32 miles from Kailua Kona north to Puako. The starting point for the path is between mile markers 77 and 76 when going north on Highway 19.

Signs will guide you to the trailhead after you park at a nearby shopping center. Bring plenty of water and sturdy footwear for the lava walkway. If you are worried about getting lost, historic signs will help you along the route. To avoid the harsh sun during the middle of the day, go early morning or late afternoon. Remember, it is essential not to rub petroglyphs as this can harm them by wearing them away and breaking them apart.

Kilauea Iki Trail

The Kīlauea Iki trail will take you past a verdant ohia forest and down into the Kilauea Iki crater, directly over the floor, past a landscape in boiling fissures. The small ohia shrubs are only beginning to sprout in the cracks of solidified lava that formed the crater floor over 60 years ago during the Kilauea Iki eruption.

The Kīlauea Iki trail is located inside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at the Kīlauea Iki overlook parking lot. About four miles round trip, As you hike the course, you can listen to the soothing forest sounds; birds singing, insects buzzing, and trees blowing in the wind. When you reach the crater, look about on the ground from time to time. You can find tiny green crystals (olivines) between and around the cinders. Just remember only to enjoy their beauty and not try and remove them!

Kalopa Nature Trail

The Kalopa Nature Trail is an intriguing destination on Hawaii’s Big Island, located miles from the island’s major natural park and tourist towns. The park has nearly 6,000 acres and is home to some exotic and magnificent birds. The island’s northern windward side is exposed to ample rain, resulting in a richly diverse and lovely forest.

Visitors can learn about the local flora and fauna of the indigenous forest on this interpretive trek that has 20 numbered stopping points. The thick canopy of the ohi’a trees screens out the sun, making for a pleasant but humid trek. Although the route is only 0.7 miles long, you may spend considerably longer here since so much information is on display. With everything to see and learn, it’s one of the most incredible hikes on the island with the family.

Pololu Valley Awini Trail

The Pololu Valley Awini Trail is a short walk at the northern end of the Kohala Coast, just south of Waimea. The Polulu Overlook is a popular roadside stop for road travelers to enjoy the beauty of the breathtaking Kohala Mountain and Polulu Valley.

However, if you walk just shy of a mile down the Pololu Valley Awini path, you’ll find more spectacular photo opportunities. The valley floor is only .25 miles from the trailhead. It’s a great place to view the majesty of the valley first-hand, and even better, it’ll most likely be empty. You may also continue down the trail a little farther and explore the coast, peppered with lava pebbles that the sea has smoothed.

Napau Trail

Being one of the most extended and most challenging hikes on this list, stretching twelve miles is recommended for more experienced hikers. Marked with spots, the first mile of the route is where you can discover lava flows and the flora and fauna that abound in this region. You can even get a travel guide to enhance your hike for a few dollars!

This long day hike will take you through a variety of terrains. The Napau Trail passes over a vast lava field, goes past many craters, cuts through thick rainforest, and comes to an end at the edge of Napau Crater, which offers the finest perspective of the recent Pu’u ‘O’o eruption. Although this path may be lengthy, it’s undoubtedly one of Hawaii’s most incredible hikes, if not the best.


There are so many amazing things to do and experience when visiting Hawaii. However, hiking one of these trails may be the best way to enjoy your surroundings when exploring the island! Each hike is different in landscape, difficulty, and surrounding area, so one of them is sure to pique your interest. Also, keep in mind that this list is just the tip of the iceberg. With a little more research, you can find many different trails near anywhere you might be staying!

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