The tour also visits Kaumana Caves, Kilauea Iki, Volcano House, and Steaming Bluffs, and includes a two-mile hike on partial pavement and a one-mile hike on black lava plus shorter walks.
Exploring Hawaii Island’s explosive side on foot is what this tour is all about. Hike Kilauea lava flows dating back to 1881 up to the historic flows of 2018. First, you’ll travel across Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two of the tallest and most massive volcanoes on earth. Your National Park Service certified guide will discuss the volcanology, geology, and history of these monstrous wonders, as well as providing in-depth narration on the various lava flows and flora and fauna that you’ll be passing by.
Explore Kaumana Caves, part of the lava tube system that brought lava as close as 1.5 miles from downtown Hilo in 1881. Take a peek inside the dramatic cathedral-like space, before taking a quick drive through quaint Hilo town where you’ll drive along the historic waterfront before stopping at KapohoKine Adventures store to pick up supplies.
You’re headed to Mackenzie State Recreation Area next located along the Puna Coast, the location of the historic eruption of 2018. The highway here was closed by the marching 40-foot wall of crumbly a’a lava as it continued to the sea. Take a hike along the now-closed highway, and then follow the lava flow through the pine forest to the altered coastline and cliffs overlooking the new black sand beach.
Isaac Hale Beach Park is next. Lava floes encircled this popular park, miraculously sparing the infrastructure while completely destroying everything around it. Be sure to check out the boat launch ramp, now sitting in a pond cut off from the ocean by a natural berm of lava. Don’t forget to look for steam still rising from the cooling lava as you drive across it, along with the infamous “Fissure 8” erupting in the heart of Lelani Estates subdivision. Picnic-style lunch is served here at the park weather permitting.
Next travel to the crown jewel of the Big Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Briefly visit the Kilauea Iki Overlook before heading off on foot down the paved road to Keanakakoi. Check out the activity here from the historic 2018 eruption which buckled the road and caused cracks and sinkholes. You’ll get a birds-eye view of the Kilauea Caldera and the enormous Halema’uma’u Crater, along with views of the trail you will take into the Caldera. This trail has been used to hike into the caldera since being established in 1846. Mark Twain was once rescued by native guide Alex Lancaster using this trail.
It’s about two miles roundtrip taking you past the famous Sulphur Banks, through ancient forests of tree ferns, some as old as 1,000 years. Look for native birds, such as the yellow ‘amakihi and the red ‘apapane. Huge boulders came to rest here during ancient rock slides and eruptions. Look for marks left by previous visitors such as Benjamin Boyd, a Scot, and John Webster, a California artist, from back in 1851.
Reaching the floor of Kilauea Calder, there is an incredible rock slide to your left, evidence of the 2018 eruption, and Halema’uma’u Crater before you. The Crater increased in size during the eruption with the lava lake draining out of it leaving behind an enormous 1,000-foot deep pit.
You’ll enjoy a hearty dinner before returning to your hotel.