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“Trail to Pu'u O'o vent/lava (Captain's Trail)” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Pu'u 'O'o Trail

Pu'u 'O'o Trail
Saddle Road, near mile marker 22, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI
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Ranked #14 of 38 attractions in Hilo
Type: Hiking Trails
Attraction Details
San Diego, California
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Trail to Pu'u O'o vent/lava (Captain's Trail)”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2013

This review is for the trail leading to the base of the source of the current lava flow - Pu'u O'o crater/vent. It's called Captain's Trail, and it is one of the top adventures detailed in the Big Island Revealed book, as well as the review below in January 2013.

First off, the trail is officially closed by the County/State as stated by a sign at the trailhead. The hike is mostly through rain forest, which is quite pretty, but it goes on and on for almost 4 miles, or 2.5 hours. Despite some muddy conditions, it was fairly flat and not too strenuous. It ends where the forest meets an old lave flow, where you can then see Pu'u O'o before you. Signs stress it is prohibited to continue further, and, taking the author's advice, we did not proceed further, despite the presence of a smaller trail leading to the summit.

The view of Pu'u O'o was not extraordinary, as it looked pretty much like a dirt mound, and the steam from the vent was barely visible, as it is on the other side (the south side). So, we could not see bubbling lava at the crater or flowing lava.

Overall, I do not recommend this hike. The payoff is not worth the long hike and ignoring the trail closure signs. The only other person out there was a hunter chasing wild pigs with his hunting dogs, which was somewhat unnerving as hikers (and it smelled like he was smoking weed too!). If you do decide to go, do make sure to check air quality conditions/forecast to ensure the vent fumes are not blowing in your direction (North).

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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26 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Brampton, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Pu'u Trail”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

What an experience, walking in the middle of a crator, seeing the masses of lava everywhere around. Some areas have smoke coming out from below. Wanderful reminder that this baby is still cooking below our feet.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, United States
1 review
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Response to “Best day hike ever” Puu Oo Vent Hike”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2013

Let me start with "Stay Away From This Hike". I can't stress enough on how dangerous it is and on how lucky these people were. I've hiked there about 100 times give or take. I know it well. There are so many things that could have gone terribly wrong. First and foremost the vent overflowed in a big way right where they hiked up. Its done it numerous times since they're hike and so suddenly and large no one could have ever out ran them. Then add in whiteouts that last for hours and even days. Throw in a sudden flow and well, you get the picture. Were they prepared to spend the night if needed? It gets down into the 40's up there in the winter with strong winds and rain. Do you know the vents flow patterns? Among other things? The forest hike can also change in minutes. Strong winds routinely knock large trees down making the trail virtual disappear. Its very easy to get turned around and many do get lost in there. Its actually close to 5 miles one way through the forest. Its not an easy hike nor is it a typical trail. Just because its in a book doesn't mean anyone should be attempting this hike. Stick with the easy to reach lava flows on the lower flats by the ocean. Stay safe and live to tell about a great lava flow experience by avoiding this area and hike. I can see why Trip Advisor won't make this a separate category. No one should be hiking up there. I have over 21 years experience hiking there and the most important thing I know is when not to go. Take a heli tour.....Or hike the flats with Dave Ewing.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WI
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“A hike through different habitats”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

Hiking over lava, then into an oasis of tropical plants and native birds, then out again into a meadow, back into a woods. Very different air temps and humidity levels. Great views of Mauna Kea.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Jack Jeffrey rare bird trek”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012

This was the most amazing thing we have done in Hawaii - we saw several species of birds on the brink of extinction in the most wonderful Hakalau Forest.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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