This hike was one of the highlights of our visit to the Big Island! We followed the recommendation from “Hawaii: The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook” and started this hike headed counterclockwise from the overlook at the parking lot. The first 1.2 miles were a steady decline into the crater with lush rainforest and breathtaking views along the way. When you reach the crater floor you feel like you’ve stepped onto another planet. Amazing! Hiking across the crater floor got pretty windy at times and I was glad to have a light sweatshirt to throw on because I get cold easily (it was in the low 70’s in June). Once we reached the other side of the crater and began our ascent back to the overlook I realized that I should have packed an energy bar or some other light snack. We were already about 1.5 hours into the hike at that point. Despite stopping a lot to take pictures we definitely had used a lot of energy. We did bring water which is great, but don’t drink too much because there are no bathrooms along the way and the full hike is about 4 miles (~2 hours). This is an overall FANTASTIC hike that I recommend to anyone who is in generally good fitness condition. The guidebook said this hike is ‘moderate / easy’ but I encourage you to rethink doing the full loop if you tire easily or have physical challenges.
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