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Review Highlights
Wonderful hike through lava and forests

Saw Hawaiian hawk and 'Elepaio and 'Apapane et al. in kipukas along the hike with our guide from... read more

Reviewed April 22, 2018
wej86
,
Flagstaff, Arizona
Hike to see ocean lava entry

This is the vent that lava is flowing from into the ocean and you can drive up to a certain point... read more

Reviewed July 5, 2017
rayrest
,
Ashford, United Kingdom
via mobile
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24 - 29 of 49 reviews
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Long drive to get there, but definitely a site to remember! Broght home tons of gorgeous pictures and lovely memories.

1  Thank ginakLongmont_CO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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).

16  Thank tSanDiego
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

5  Thank radscasters1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

21  Thank Bryan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

1  Thank Mikelly920
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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