Kīlauea Iki Trail
Kīlauea Iki Trail
5
About
A moderate 4 mile hike into a an old volcanic crater.
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
See what travelers are saying
  • Ron R
    Saint Paul, Minnesota112 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Good workout and cool experience
    We successfully followed the counter clockwise recommendation of others but it would have been just fine to go clockwise. Around 4 mile hike with definitive descent and ascent elements along with hike on crater base. Easy to access from lava tube. Lava tube parking lot usually quite busy so park at trailhead parking lot.
    Visited May 2023
    Written May 21, 2023
  • Sarah B
    Boston, Massachusetts152 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unforgettable experience
    A great hike and walk through another planet on the lava field in the crater. Recommend hiking down from the main trail head and up the thurston lava tube side vs starting at the tube because of the intensity of the trail. This gives you a steep path down and gravity helps you, and a gradual, forested path back up, vs trying to go up a brutal, rocky path.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 12, 2023
  • REEMaryland
    23 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unreal hike around and across one of the craters of Kilauea.
    Moderate length hike with somewhat challenging, steep ascent/descent at the west end of the crater, but very much worth it to walk across a lava lake that had last erupted in 1959. We started by hiking around the northern rim of the crater. The occasional views into the crater are striking, made more remarkable by the sight of people hiking across the crater floor. We appreciated getting a glimpse of the hike to come. We stopped for a quick peak over the main caldera at Byron's ledge, then descended down into Kilauea Iki. The geology of the crater is amazing. The west end of Iki is dominated by ʻaʻā lava. About 1/4 of the way across the lava becomes smooth pāhoehoe. The bottom of the crater is quite alien and the transition of the lush jungle of the rim to the nearly barren crater floor is breathtaking. Various sections of the crater floor show the heaving and settling that occurred after the lava cooled. Be sure to take a hat, sunscreen, and water. There is no shelter in the bottom of the crater. There is also no bathroom, so be sure to make a pitstop at the parking lot.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 1, 2023
  • smhr
    Pickering, Canada277 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful hike. Must do if you are in the Big Island
    Its a long hike but definitely worth it. For the hike, you need to be in decent physical shape but not necessarily in great shape. The path is steep. It took us about an hour to go down the base of the crater and come back up. Along the way, you will find amazing plants. I will strongly recommend to not rush it and take in the scenery. The hike is beautiful. For parking, you may want to park at the Lava tube because the start of the hike and the lava tube are easily accessible from there. Even if you park at the lava tube, you should hike to the iki trail's parking lot as there are a no. of look out points along the way. Its about 15 mins to get from lava tube to Iki trail's parking lot. The Iki trail is within the Hawaii Volcano National Park. So the entrance fee of $30 that you will need to pay at the park's entrance is all that's needed. The entrance fee gives you access to the park for 7 consecutive days.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 14, 2023
  • CMelissa
    Vancouver, Canada149 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unique hike - highly recommended
    Incredibly unique hike through a diverse range of ecosystems and volcanic landscapes. Pick up a guide book for the trail for $2 at the Visitors Centre. The moderate hike takes 2-3 hours depending on pace and how many stops/photos you take. The lava tubes are along the route, so recommend the short walk through the tubes as well. Highly recommended to experience the crater first hand while you're in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park!
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 7, 2023
  • Monty D
    15 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Hiking a volcano
    The Kilauea Iki Trail was as impressive as I had hoped. You’ll start at the trail head and have 2 choices: down through the rain forest to the volcano floor or along the rim. Going down the volcano side, through the rain forest, is a bit of a trek. It’s somewhat steep and nothing is level – it’s all down: when going down and it’s all up: when going up. On this morning it was cool, but I can see it turning hot – bring water! The forest had a calming effect for the hike and every once in a while, there was a view. Along the rim, there a fair amount of vista views – the trail was relatively flat, but I’d still wear good hiking shoes. Check out my pic of the caution sign. Also I have a pic of my foot alongside of a steep edge of the trail – no railings here. At the bottom of the volcano, see my pics. it was like being on the moon: desolate and eerily quiet. In one my pics, you can see the trail beyond my hat. This is an interesting and diverse trail that you won’t find in many places.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 10, 2023
  • ClosetGearhead
    Loei, Thailand3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Like a different planet!
    This is a must-do in Hawaii Volcano National Park. It’s as close to what I imagine walking on Mars, or the moon, would look like. Hiking boots would be best, but tennis shoes will do. Definitely start in the west, rather than the east, as the west side is quite steep and rocky. Going up those rocks and huge steps will definitely be harder than going down them. Also recommend starting early in the day, as the sun can be quite brutal across the crater. We started at 7:45, finished at 9:45. Very rewarding hike.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written January 29, 2024
  • Mike P
    Anchorage, Alaska1,798 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great Hike
    This is a great experience! Walking clockwise, you switch back down, approximately 600 feet to reach the floor. Walking across the floor is easy until you reach the other rim. You climb up a series of stairs, and switch backs to reach the top.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written January 31, 2024
  • Glw31416
    4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    An Unforgettable Moderate Huke
    A hike that shouldn’t be missed. Go early to get a parking space. We went counter clockwise which is the best direction. Don’t miss the Lava Tube at the rim. You can also park at the Visitor Center which adds some flat length. 400 ft vertical elevation change and uneven surfaces makes it a moderate hike. Lots of families so it is not hard if you are in fair shape. Rain forest at the top and desert at the bottom so wear layers. The National Park is chilly most of the time at the rim. Bring water for the hike.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 11, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles1,485 reviews
Excellent
1,253
Very good
209
Average
20
Poor
3
Terrible
1

lynette_cypress
Boise, ID438 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021
My son had done this hike a couple times and highly recommended it. I'm so glad we did it! It was fantastic. You start at the rim and walk through the rainforest, then down to the crater and across the "lava lakebed". You can see up close how the lava cooled, buckled, sprayed. There are still a few steam vents you can walk to, and the neat stacked-rock cairns that mark the way.

I recommend parking at the trailhead and taking the trail in a counterclockwise route. There are brochures available with interpretive info for each of 15 markers along the trail that provide additional, fascinating stories on the eruption, research, flora and fauna. There are also more stairs on the descent going that way and a more gradual series of switchback trails coming back up.
If you have hiking boots, they'd be ideal. Tennis shoes are fine, but mine were a little thin for the rocky terrain. The rubber soles were imperative. I wouldn't go if I had only flip flops (or "slippahs" in Hawaii) - too many slopes and rocks.
Also bring water, sunscreen (no cover down in the crater) and layers (can be 55 or 60 and shady at the rim and 70-75 on the bottom.)
Written April 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Carl P
Wellington, New Zealand24 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
This is one of the most interesting and unique trails I've ever hiked. Walking across the solidified lava lake at the bottom of the crater is fascinating. It's a.steep climb down 400 feet into the crater (and 400 back up at the end), but the experience is very much worth it. One.of the best short.hikes I've ever done!
Written February 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AshBernadette88
Huntsville, AL1,608 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2022
My husband and I did this hike early in the morning, right after sunrise, and it was quite the site to behold!

From the trailhead, the hike descends about 400 feet through lush rainforest (complete with colorful, tropical birds!) onto the caldera floor. The lush foliage gives way to an alien world of hardened lava flows...it's very strange, but beautiful at the same time! After walking about 2.5 miles across the caldera floor (this area is MUCH larger than it appears at the parking lot), you'll enter more lush rainforest and ascend 400 feet to the crater rim. From there, it's another mile (ish) back to the parking lot.

This hike isn't very challenging but is longer than it appears. Make sure to bring some water!
Written March 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

wohdonkey
Newark, OH2,012 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Couples
This was one of our favorite hikes we did while exploring Volcano National Park. It’s amazing to be able to hike down to the crater and walk across it. I recommend starting on the right side of the trail and going counter clockwise, we didn’t do this and it made it much harder to follow the markers on the crater. This is a 4 mile loop trail. We wore tennis shoes which were just fine for us but make sure you take plenty of water. I would also recommend going earlier in the day to avoid the heat as the crater part of the trail has no shade, but you do hike through the rainforest to get down and then again to come back up. This is a must hike while visiting the park!
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lisa B
Chicago, IL60 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Fairly easy hike for young and old - tennis shoes, sunglasses, light jacket in case of rain, and a bottle of water and you're all set. I recommend starting on the right side of the trail and going counter clockwise, we didn’t do this and it made it much harder to follow the markers on the climb back up. Either way works though. Very little elevation change ~400 ft. We went on an overcast day so it was very comfortable - I can imagine a sunny day could get quite hot down there.
Written February 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alexis C
Chicago, IL61 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
Great easy hike and a definite highlight of Volcanoes National Park! I started the hike around 7 AM and was the only person on the trail until the very end. Highly recommend starting as early as possible (especially if you're staying in Volcano) to avoid the crowds and the heat. Walking across the crater is surreal and gives you a whole new perspective on the size and power of volcanoes. As others have mentioned, follow the stacks of rocks placed along the crater to find the trail on the other side.
Written September 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

bluesea182
Washington DC, DC240 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Couples
Absolutely amazing hike!! There are several shorter hikes with great views, but the main hike makes a loop through the middle of a volcano crater. It’s stunning and such a neat experience. We went at around 3:30 pm and the light was perfect for photos. Such a terrific activity - great time and great memories!
Written January 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stephanie F
Denver, CO60 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023
This travel can be circumnavigated in either direction. We read its best to hike counter-clockwise, and yet we were disoriented and followed the trail clockwise. Doesn't matter. Coming from Colorado, hiking a nearly 4-mile trail at 4000 ft through forest and caldera was not particularly difficult. There are somewhat steep, but shaded steps carved into the first mile or so of the trail, with 15 markers (be sure to grab the corresponding booklet at the visitor center) along the path describing flora, fauna, and volcano attributes (e.g., crater rim, steam vents, lava lake migrations). The center mile takes you into and eventually out of the caldera, which is hot, dusty and often uneven. The final mile or so returns you to the shaded forest area above the 1959 lava lake (it took 30 years to cool!) with railroad tie steps and exposed root pathways.

When I visited in 2017, it was cool, raining and wet. January of 2023 was hot, full-on sun and dry. Be prepared for either with water. Both visits were hiked in tennis shoes.
Written January 15, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Madelinejane
Indianapolis, IN101 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2022
You better be in the mood for some exercise if you take this trail. Demanding, takes at least 2 hours, and once you’ve hiked about 25% of it, it becomes the same thing over and over. Too bad there is no way to abbreviate it, because 1/4 of the hike would be very cool, but the whole thing becomes punishing. You are going 400 feet down (equivalent to a 40 story building) on switchback trails, and then a long walk across the crater, and then climbing 400 feet back up (like climbing 40 flights of stairs). This is old lava, so your aren’t going to see any actual volcanic activity. At one place we stuck our hands in and you could feel some hot air coming out, but there isn’t any steam or gases or anything like that. It would be nice if someone dropped you off at the Thurston Lava Tube and then picked you up at the Visitor Center or the parking lot and you could at least cut off a little of the distance.
Written February 7, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

smhr
Pickering, Canada277 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
Its a long hike but definitely worth it. For the hike, you need to be in decent physical shape but not necessarily in great shape. The path is steep. It took us about an hour to go down the base of the crater and come back up. Along the way, you will find amazing plants. I will strongly recommend to not rush it and take in the scenery. The hike is beautiful.

For parking, you may want to park at the Lava tube because the start of the hike and the lava tube are easily accessible from there.

Even if you park at the lava tube, you should hike to the iki trail's parking lot as there are a no. of look out points along the way. Its about 15 mins to get from lava tube to Iki trail's parking lot.

The Iki trail is within the Hawaii Volcano National Park. So the entrance fee of $30 that you will need to pay at the park's entrance is all that's needed. The entrance fee gives you access to the park for 7 consecutive days.
Written November 14, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 1,293
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Kīlauea Iki Trail - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

Frequently Asked Questions about Kīlauea Iki Trail




All things to do in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
RestaurantsFlightsTravel StoriesCruisesRental Cars