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Kīlauea Caldera Rim Hikes

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Halema'uma'u Crater Erupting

Round Trip Mileage: Some of these hikes are shorter than a mile, but if you want to do the entire Crater Rim Trail to its current end it's about 15 miles, including all the side hikes. There are several ways to mix and match these hikes to customize your day.

Elevation Gain: 995 feet

Gear: If you intend to do every trail on this page, you'll need to gear up for a serious, long dayhike. Some of the shorter trails require no gear.

Weather: NOAA forecast for Kīlauea Caldera

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Map: Topographical Map of Kīlauea Caldera

 

Overview: These hikes are all accessible in the main Kīlauea Caldera section of the Park, which is close to the Visitor Center. The individual trails in this area are detailed individually below, but you can mix or match them in any way to create longer hikes. The Crater Rim Trail used to circle the entire Kīlauea Caldera, but it's now only open from the Jaggar Museum to Keanākako'i Crater, going clockwise. The best way to do these hikes in a long chain would be to park at the Jaggar Museum and hike the Crater Rim Trail all the way around the Caldera until you reach the other closure, doing the other trails as you pass them. A car shuttle or other transportation would help, but you can always just retrace your steps. Some of these trails are paved.

Getting to the Trailhead(s):

  • Jaggar Museum: From the Park entrance, drive Crater Rim Drive past the Visitor Center to the west until the road dead-ends at the current closure at Jaggar Museum.
  • Visitor Center: From the Park entrance, drive about a quarter mile along Crater Rim Drive to the west to the Visitor Center.
  • Devastation Trail Parking: From the Park entrance, drive less than 50 feet and turn south on Crater Rim Drive (do not go toward the Visitor Center). Follow Crater Rim Drive to the intersection of Chain of the Craters Road. Do not take Chain of the Craters Road -- turn right and shortly find a small parking area. Another way to access the Devastation Trail is to turn right shortly before the Chain of the Craters Road intersection to the Pu'u Puahi Overlook parking area. 
  • Steam Vents Parking: From the Park entrance, drive west on Crater Rim Drive past the Visitor Center for about a mile until you see the signed Steam Vents parking area on the south side of the road.

ʻōhiʻa lehua Blossom

The Hikes:

Hapu'u pulu tree ferns and ʻōhiʻa lehua treesCrater Rim Trail: The Crater Rim Trail used to ring the entire Kīlauea Caldera in 11 miles (like Crater Rim Drive), but it has been closed for years due to the current eruption in Halema’uma’u Caldera. It is only currently open from the Jaggar Museum going clockwise to Keanākako'i Crater. A nice long hike would be to use this as the main trail to access most of the trails that follow, and even Kīlauea Iki for a big day. There are ways to do small loops with this strategy, but no big loop is possible with the current closures.

Steam Vents: These are – wait for it – steam vents on the edge of Kīlauea Caldera. This area has a large parking area and a short paved walkway to take a closer look at the vents.

Ha’akulamanu (Sulphur Banks): This odd place has lots of cracks in the ground issuing Sulphur gas that inhibits tree growth. This trail travels through this unusual place for 1.2 miles one-way. Either start this trail from the Visitor Center or drive further down Crater Rim Drive on the north side of the road.

'Iliahi Trail (Sandalwood): This short 0.5 mile trail passes through rainforest, steaming cracks on the edge of Kīlauea Caldera, and has great views of smoking Halema’uma’u Crater. Access this trail from the Visitor Center by carefully walking across the road and then to the west of the Volcano House.  You can combine this trail with the Ha’akulamanu (Sulphur Banks) trail for a 1.5 mile loop back to the Visitor Center.

Earthquake Trail (Waldron Ledge): This trail is so named because it follows a section of the old Chain of Craters road that was damaged by a 6.6 magnitude earthquake in 1983. Access the trail from the Visitor Center. Walk across the street and follow signs to find the trail to the southeast.

Devastation Trail: This short paved trail travels for about a half mile over cinders from the violent 1959 eruption of Kīlauea Iki. This short hike is interesting because it shows how the flora is rapidly reclaiming the lava destruction. You can also find interesting lava features like spatter effects, and Pele’s tears and hair (small glasslike lava and threadlike lava).

Keanakākoʻi: This is newly open. You can park at the Devastation trailhead and then just walk back toward the road and find the closed portion of Crater Rim Drive. You can walk past the closure and continue for 0.7 mile to the Keanakākoʻi Crater overlook. Keanakākoʻi means "cave of the adzes." It is a large pit crater from the 1400s, but the main attraction for this road walk is the view of Halema'uma'u. This is the closest you can currently get to the eruption in Kīlauea Caldera. The road hike is open from 7am to 7pm. Beware volcanic fumes and watch the wind direction.

Halema'uma'u Crater Erupts at Night - From the Kilauea Overlook