Lava Trees State Monument
Round Trip Mileage: 0.7 mile
Elevation Gain: negligible
Gear: Nothing more than what you carry on a quick dayhike. It rains quite often in Puna, less in the afternoon.
Overview: Lava Trees State Park provides a quick diversion while exploring the Puna District of Hawai'i. While you're driving along scenic Hwy. 132 and wishing you could get out and explore the lush rainforest, Lava Trees State Park appears to allow you to wander around some of the amazing rainforest in the area. Lava trees occur when rapidly-moving lava envelops a living tree and then hardens in the cast of the tree before burning the organic content. This leaves odd lava formations with hollow cores. Lava destroyed this area in 1790. Frankly, there are much better lava trees elsewhere on the Big Island, but this state park's lure is more to experience the lush rainforest. The Monument is open during daylight hours. There is no entrance fee. There are restrooms at the parking area.
Getting to the Trailhead: From Hilo, take Hwy. 11 south toward Puna. Near Kea'au, turn south on Hwy. 130 toward Pahōa. At Pahōa, turn east on Hwy. 132. Follow Hwy. 132 for 2.7 miles past Pahōa and find the signed Lava Trees State Monument on the north side of the road.
The Hike: Just follow the paved trail in either direction in a large loop. The ground in the area has many cracks and holes, so stay on the trail.