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“Big Island Must”
Review of David Ewing Lava Walking Tours - CLOSED

David Ewing Lava Walking Tours
Attraction details
Woodland, California
Level Contributor
27 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Big Island Must”
Reviewed September 7, 2013

This was on my bucket list to do, see hot lava up close & personal. I was having a hard time deciding which way to see it, by boat or by walking out to it & I'm so glad I choose to walk out to it. We took the tour that started about 1 1/2 hrs before sunset so we got out to the lava just as the sun started to go down. AMAZING it was , no words can describe the beauty & tranquility you see & feel watching ground being made right before your eyes. You get to stay for about an hour or more & also see it going into the ocean, which is way cool to, be for us the best part was watching it flow like honey towards you and feeling the intense heat coming off of it. They will provide you with water and flash lights. Make sure to wear long pants and tennis shoes at least so if you do fall down you will not get cut quite so bad. There was 2 people who fell when we went out & they got cut up pretty bad.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank walkingnsunshine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

29 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Huntington Beach, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Not what I expected...”
Reviewed September 2, 2013

So I was more nervous about this walk than any other activity on the island -- I was expecting spewing, splashing lava, noxious fumes, craggy, razor-sharp lava shards just waiting to cut me up, and vast fields of oven-hot, thin-crusted lava ready to just give way under my feet (funny I still wanted to go, though). Plus, I have some back problems that long walks seem to exacerbate. But it turned out to be way less treacherous (yet even more amazing) than I imagined.

David didn't lead the walk that night, but a young guy named Skyler (Schuyler?) did. He said he had done this walk over a hundred times and assured me that my fears were unfounded. The hike out across the field wasn't too bad and it was really cool to see the different lava formations. We were able to see a leeeetle bit of lava flowing near the oceanside. I didn't see any actually fall in, though. There were several boats hanging out there, waiting for the flow. I hope they were able to see something interesting on that side.

We then took a turn and walked over to an area where the lava had recently broken through and caused some surface flow. It was almost dusk and there were already quite a few other lava-seekers gathered near the site. After the sun set, we were able to see the total effect of the glowing lava! Oh man, it was a near full moon night and the red, hot lava was just OOOZING and gloomping and flowing out of crevices all over the place!!! It was totally mesmerizing! We were able to stay for good long while before heading back.

Now the walk back -- it seemed really lonnnnnng -- still, I would've liked the group to have gone a bit slower, as I kept lagging behind and they had to keep stopping to wait for me. But it was ok and we got back at around 9:30pm, just as planned.

This was definitely one of my Top 2 amazing experiences/sites/activities on the Big Island (and probably even one of my TOP 10 anywhere)! We were thankful for being blessed with such an exceptional experience!!

Visited August 2013
2 Thank McBeanOC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“A once in a lifetime chance”
Reviewed August 20, 2013

If you want to see lava while you are on the Big Island- you won't currently find it in the Hawaii Volcano National Park. The flow is currently outside the park. You can visit it by hiking their. David Ewing is a guide whose house is right on the lava flow. He is extremely knowledgable. You can attempt to find the flow from the public view area- but it is not wise. It is a 2 mile hike and there is no real way to track your route. Far better to spend the money. Yes it is pricey, but when you consider you are hiking for 4-5 hours- it really becomes a bit more reasonable-sort of. The hike leaves from his house- which if you are in HVNP you should allow at least 45 minutes travel time. You should definately wear SNEAKERS or HIKING BOOTS- the lava is sharp and you have to scramble over it. Pants and gloves will help protect you if you fall. The pace is moderate but he does have an assistant who will move slower. I found this helpful as climbing around rocks is not my thing. You stop many times for him to talk about the flows and the changes to the land. Bring at least 2-3 liters of water. As you move along you will find your feet get hot- and guess what- you are standing over the lava tube. We were very fortunate that the lava tube was putting out lava on the surface- we were able to poke at it and make it flare up and get such a sense of what was running in volumes under our feet (and boy do your feet get hot!). You can feel the heat radiating all around. We then journeyed to the coastline and watched the lava flow into the ocean. That was truly a magnificent site- new land being formed right before our eyes. If you have ever seen a nat. geo documentary on lava pouring into the ocean- this is exactly what it looks like. You stay until dark so you can really see the changes in the color and intenstity. You hike back in a single line via flashlight and the stars. Remember if you are looking up at the stars to stop so you don't trip and fall. The walk out is shorter because of a direct route. This is something that you just can not see anywhere else and in that perspective the 100$ is really pretty good. David runs a fantastic operation- and has plenty of safety back up for slips and falls.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank kajmm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Most memorable experience on the Big Island”
Reviewed August 9, 2013

When we asked at our most awesome hotel in Hilo, The Dolphin Bay Hotel, how best to see lava, they recommended David Ewing for a lava tour. When we found out it would be $100 per person, we decided to try to go out on our own to see the lava. Well, we discovered that you can't, or shouldn't! The lava flow stretches over miles with little variation in the scenery, so it is easy to get lost out. People have hiked out on the fields, lost their way and died of dehydration and exposure. Also, to see the lava, you have to go at night on the pitch black lava fields. So reluctantly, we forked out the money and went with David. It turns out, the money was well worth it as this was the best experience on our entire trip! To begin the tour, David told us to meet him at his house, which is built right next to the lava flow. That in of itself was fascinating to see. Contrary to what a previous reviewer wrote, David opened his house to us and invited us to use his bathroom. David himself is a great guy - we immediately liked him. He is talkative, friendly and knowledgeable about the area. The hike out on the lava field to where the lava was flowing into the ocean was a few miles and David regaled us with interesting facts and stories the whole way. He made sure everyone in our group of 15 learned a great deal about the volcanic activity and was having a good time. The young man who also accompanied our group was equally outgoing. Our family of 2 adults and 2 teenage girls managed the approximately 4 mile hike just fine, but it is not for people who are out of shape or not used to walking fast on uneven terrain. I wouldn't take young children as it is easy to fall in cracks in the lava flow. Wear closed shoes as the newly formed lava is as sharp as glass.

Visited July 2013
2 Thank Swift_Jimmy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newbury Park, California, United States
Level Contributor
20 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A MUST DO. Don't miss the best experience you'll have on the Big Island.”
Reviewed August 3, 2013

My favorite thing about visiting the Big Island is the lava. To put a little perspective on this review, this is my third time hiking out to the lava flows and every time has been different. This time our group consisted of: my husband and two of our children (17 & 12), my sister in law and her adult daughter. David Ewing and Skylar were our guides.

I hiked out to the lava back in 2010 with David Ewing when visiting with my mom. He was very knowledgeable and safety aware and therefore I wanted to go with him again. We didn't get the great show in 2010 that we got last week due to an unstable lava bench that made the ocean entry visibility poor at the time, other companies had people hiking in these areas and David assured us that it was NOT safe. I knew if I went back this is who I wanted to hike out with.

Back to July 2013! You meet David at his house in Kalapana. This is an experience in itself, you are meeting someone who LIVES on the lava field, whose house was threatened by the lava and knows the daily ins and outs safety wise of living in such a place.

Departing at 4pm is perfect, you really get a feel for the topography and can see everything easily. David stops at various points to explain when the particular flow you are walking on came through, answers all questions and adds personal stories which really makes those on the tour connect with the experience.

The lava is different every time so you never know what you will get and must expect that.

Here are some notes in no particular order to help you prepare:
**Wear jeans, if you slip the lava is sharp and unforgiving.
**David does supply flashlights but if you prefer to have your hands free bring a small LED headlamp.
**I highly, highly recommend bringing binoculars. You will get an amazing view of the ocean entry since currently you are high on a cliff viewing.
**They do pass our Cliff Bars but you may want to bring a small snack too.
**Bring enough water.
**Don't wear your favorite sneakers, the lava is pretty hard on shoes, all-terrain sneakers are by far the best.
**For someone like me who is not a pro photographer, take the bulk of your photos at dusk, they come out much better.

I would rate the hike - Moderate. If you are someone who is physically active every week this will not be a problem for you. You will hike 5 - 6 miles over VERY uneven terrain. For kids this hike should be a walk in the park. There is no major altitude change just constant uneven ground.

Don't miss out on this amazing experience.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Panbab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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