This is one of the most popular hikes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii.
It loops around traversing a collapsed pit crater then drops down 400’ and crosses a solidified lave lake from a 1959 eruption which filled the crater with 400’ of molten hot lava. Lava lakes cool one foot a year so you’ll experience hot steam emitting from cracks due to the rain water reaching that depth.
If you hike counterclockwise from the Kilauea Iki parking lot you’ll have a few opportunities to view the crater floor where you will soon be hiking.
The hike begins in a rare native Hawaiian forest about 500 years old then abruptly changes with hardened lava which takes many interesting forms. The 500’ high red cinder cone is evident of where the spatter spewed nearly 2000’ up with fantastic displays of Volcanic fury.
After crossing the crater floor, there will be gentle sloping switchbacks until you reach the main road. Use the crosswalk and continue into the Nahuku lava tube again hiking counterclockwise to get a deeper understanding of how Hawaii’s islands have been created.
Return using the crosswalk and head right on the sidewalk and follow the signage to return to Kilauea Iki parking lot (about 1/2 mile).
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