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Do we really need to take a tour of the volcanoes??!

west palm beach, fl
posts: 2
reviews: 1
Do we really need to take a tour of the volcanoes??!

We only have one day to dedicate to the park, and it's the main reason I wanted to visit Big Island. The tours I've seen (Forest and Trail seems to be the fave) don't offer a day and night tour combo- I really want to do both. Should we just try to go it alone (we will have a jeep) or will we be able to make the most of our time with a tour?

I'd planned to arrive late morning and stay until dark to see the lava "glow". We're driving from Hapuna Prince Resort, so will be spending a lot of time in the car. We're both in decent shape, but I don't want to kill my husband with TOO much hiking around.

Would love some advice!

Thanks! :)

birmingham, al
posts: 961
reviews: 26
11. Re: Do we really need to take a tour of the volcanoes??!

That's pretty much our same plan Dew. Be sure to do a trip report. I will be looking for it when you return. :)

Los Angeles
posts: 2,053
reviews: 45
12. Re: Do we really need to take a tour of the volcanoes??!

Trust me... I will! In exactly two weeks, this time... OMIGOD, if the flight is on time, we'll be landing at HNL right now, an hour layover, then off to Maui!

Philadelphia...
posts: 609
reviews: 2
13. Re: Do we really need to take a tour of the volcanoes??!

If you're going to do both the Kiluea Iki hike AND the hike out to the lava flow, just make sure you have comfortable and sturdy hiking shoes. I ended up with a terrible blister on one of my toes, and we only made it partway out to the lava flow, because it was too late and rainy, similar to what another poster said. Iki is a little over 4 miles. Add a half mile or so for the Thurston Lava tube, 6 miles out to the lava (depending on where it's flowing at the time), plus a mile or so just to get from where you park your car to begin the hike. You're talking nearly 12 miles of hiking, on top of 5 hours in the car to and from Hapuna. Be prepared if you do it. Take food and lots of water. Take long pants, flashlights, and a rain jacket for the lava flow hike. Happy trails!

Los Angeles
posts: 2,053
reviews: 45
14. Re: Do we really need to take a tour of the volcanoes??!

Will do... I'm pretty prepared and I hike in the Hollywood Hills frequently, so I think I'll be fit and ready to do it.

birmingham, al
posts: 961
reviews: 26
15. Re: Do we really need to take a tour of the volcanoes??!

TH: Didn't realize about all those miles it takes to get to certain spots. We will have to choose. Thats to much work for me especially on vacation.

Philadelphia...
posts: 609
reviews: 2
16. Re: Do we really need to take a tour of the volcanoes??!

Tracy, the distance to the lava changes daily, I think. From what people are saying right now it is 3 miles out one way, which leaves a 3-mile trek back at night if you wait till it gets dark. It was a little shorter (2 miles each way) when we were there, but we got there too late and just weren't prepared to do the hike to the lava. (Had no food and very little water, had started to get blisters from earlier hiking, etc.). If you're uncertain about doing that much hiking, I'd recommend choosing between the Kiluea Iki hike and the hike out to the lava. Even if you don't hike out to see the actual surface lava, you can see the lava glow on the side of the mountain from the ranger's station at the end of Chain of Craters road. That alone is pretty spectacular.

vermont
posts: 48
reviews: 2
17. Re: Do we really need to take a tour of the volcanoes??!

You can hike to the active lava flow during the day, but it wouldn't be near as spectacular as going in the evening. Something else that no one has mentioned is the heat - if you hike it during the day, be prepared for a hot and windy walk. All of that black lava rock really puts out the heat, and if we had walked both directions in the sun it would have been difficult.

Also, if any of you choose to hike it in the evening, time it so that you can go at least one way in the light. On our way back from the lava flow we passed many people just heading out. The rough terrain is a challenge on your feet and legs, and going both directions in the dark would be really hard. We all like to hike and are in good shape, but hiking the Kilauea Iki Trail, Thurston Lava Tube, and into the active lava flow (about 7 miles roundtrip in April once you hike past all of the parked cars) wiped us out for the day!

Colorado
posts: 189
reviews: 8
18. Re: Do we really need to take a tour of the volcanoes??!

It was a one and a half day visit for us but if you time it right, you might be able to do it all in one very, very full day, if you see and hike most of the trails. The hike to the active flow was about 2 1/2 hours away and we still didn't see red lava, it had diverted over the past day or so, so if you don't see it one day, the next day it might change. It's pretty chancy. Make sure you have flashlights (for night viewing), good shoes, gloves and lots of water. We went very early in the morning (like right after sunrise) before it got too hot and it was still hot. It's very primative, IMO. No ranger at the "trailhead" or even a sign up sheet in case you don't return. You are completely on your own. The trail isn't marked so I would have been very, very reluctant to hike it at night. But forewarned is forearmed. It is a long drive from the start of the park to the end of the Chain of Craters road where the hike begins for the lava flow. It took us about forty five minutes to drive to the end from the front gate.