Hikes on the Big Island of Hawai‘i

The Big Island of Hawai‘i is the largest Hawaiian island (as well as the largest island in the United States). The volcanic island covers over 4,000 square miles, but is only home to a fraction of the Hawaiian population, leaving lots of outdoor spaces to explore. Explore the Big Island’s dramatic beaches, gushing waterfalls, historic sites, and evolving volcanic features.

A rugged coastline circles the island, lined with tide pools that host sea turtles and tropical fish. The island’s interior is covered with volcanic landscapes and rainforest-draped ravines. Waterfalls are abundant, including ‘Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls. On the north side of the island, Waipi‘o Valley is a special place to visit.

Five shield volcanoes make up the Island of Hawai‘i: Kohala, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualālai and Kīlauea. The largest volcanoes are Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, each rising to over 13,000 feet tall. The summit of Mauna Kea is the tallest point in Hawai‘i, at 13,802 feet. Visit Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park to see how Kīlauea Volcano has changed and is changing the land. The Big Island of Hawai‘i is the youngest of the Hawaiian Islands in geological terms and continues to grow from volcanic eruptions.

Akaka Falls Hawaii
‘Akaka Falls on the Big Island of Hawai‘i

Hiking the Big Island of Hawai‘i

This collection of trails on the Big Island of Hawai‘i is arranged from north to south. The table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next hike. Each trail links to its own report complete with photos, GPS maps, elevation profiles, directions, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these day hikes. An interactive map is also provided.

TrailDescriptionDistance Location
Waipio Valley Hike100Waipi‘o Beach & Muliwai Trail Overlook
This hike plunges into fantastically-wild Waipi‘o Valley, crosses a remote black sand beach (framed by cliffs and waterfalls), and climbs to a stellar view overlooking the ocean, beach, and valley.
4.88 miles
1300 feet
Puako Petroglyph Archeological District180Malama Trail
This short hike visits rare rock carvings in Puakō Petroglyph Archeological District on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawai'i.
0.2 - 1.2 miles
30 feet
Kalahuipua'a Trail and Fishponds Loop200Kalahuipua‘a Trail and Fishponds Loop
This action-packed hike explores a lava field with a lava tube shelter and impressive fishponds along a gorgeous coastline.
1.7 miles
35 feet
Kiholo Bay Wainanalii Lagoon Hike220Kiholo Bay & Wainanali‘i Lagoon
This coastal hike in Kiholo State Park Reserve has non-stop ocean views, crossing tide pools and beaches on the way to a turquoise lagoon.
2 miles
15 feet
Akaka Falls Hike300‘Akaka Falls
This short loop slips through a tropical valley to bold views of a 442-foot single-drop waterfall.
0.55 miles
115 feet
Rainbow Falls350Rainbow Falls
This short hike around Rainbow Falls Lookout explores a viewpoint facing a lovely waterfall and also ventures up to the top of the falls.
0.2 miles
40 feet
Kaumana Caves Hike400Kaumana Caves
This underground hike explores lava tubes on the edge of Hilo, created by an 1881 eruption of Mauna Loa.
1 mile
50 feet
Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park430Royal Grounds – Pu‘uhonua Loop
This loop on the coast south of Kona explores Hawaiian royal grounds and a place of sanctuary in Pu‘uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park.
0.5 mile
15 feet
Kipukapuaulu Trail Hawaii500Kīpukapuaulu Trail
This nature trail loop visits a forest oasis within the lava flows below Mauna Loa.
1.2 miles
185 feet
Sulphur Banks Steaming Bluff Loop505Sulphur Banks Trail - Crater Rim Trail Loop
This hike tours a colorful hydrothermal area and looks into Kilauea Caldera from Steaming Bluff.
1.6 miles
50 feet
Crater Rim Drive Keanakako'i Crater Overlook Trail Hawaii515Keanakāko‘i Crater & Overlook Trail
This hike follows eruption-damaged Crater Rim Drive to views into Keanakako'i Crater and the far grander Kilauea Summit.
2.15 miles
100 feet
Hawaii Petroglyphs Trail525Pu‘u Loa Petroglyphs Trail
This hike in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park traverses an old lava flow to a boardwalk loop within a special area of preserved petroglyphs.
1.4 miles
25 feet
Holei Sea Arch530Hōlei Sea Arch
This brief hike in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park crosses a basalt bluff to a landmark sea arch extending into the ocean.
0.1 miles
15 feet

Points of Interest on the Big Island of Hawai‘i

Waipio Lookout HawaiiWaipio Lookout
This viewpoint on the rim of Waipi‘o Valley provides a great perspective over Waipi‘o Beach and the beautiful coastline on the north side of the Big Island.
Tree MoldsTree Molds
See molds cast by a lava flow at the hollowed sites of old trees.

The Big Island of Hawai‘i

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Crater Rim Drive Hike Keanakakoi Crater Keanakakoi Overlook Trail Keanakako'i Crater Hike Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Big Island Kilauea Summit
In the summer of 2018, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park experienced the most dramatic volcanic activity in it's more than century long history. Land considered stable was humbled and demolished. When the earth stopped exploding and when the shaking of 60,000 earthquakes ceased, Crater Rim Drive, the road that ringed Kīlauea, was ruined in many places. Although the north and east sides of... Read more.
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Tagged with · National Parks · Volcano · Volcanoes
Distance: 2.15 miles · Elevation change: 100 feet
By: Published: Last updated: June 13, 2019
Kipukapuaulu Trail Forest Hike Nature Trail Loop Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Filled with bold volcanic features and landscapes reinvented by eruptions, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park might seem an unlikely place to find a deep-rooted forest packed with plant diversity and a thriving bird population. Kīpukapuaulu rises like an oasis, framed the less-fertile lands forged by more recent lava flows. Kīpukapuaulu Trail is a 1.2-mile long nature trail loop with 185... Read more.
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Tagged with · National Parks · Nature Trails · Volcano · Volcanoes
Distance: 1.2 miles · Elevation change: 185 feet
By: Published: Last updated: June 13, 2019
Tree Molds Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Lava Tree Molds Hawaii
Trees grow big and strong, but they are outmatched by the forces of lava. A tree's last stand against a lava flow can result in a tree mold - a hole in the surface of hardened lava where a tree once stood. Tree molds provide information about lava flows and preceeeding forests. See tree molds with your own eyes at a spot near the entrance of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. A tree... Read more.
Tagged with · Lava · Tree Molds · Volcano · Volcanoes
By: Published: Last updated: July 2, 2021
Sulphur Banks Trail Kilauea Crater Rim Trail Loop Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Hike Hawaii
Kīlauea Volcano underwent major transformations when it erupted in the summer of 2018. See changed landscapes in and around Kīlauea Caldera from Steaming Bluff, where steam escapes from hot spots just below your feet! Behind the bluff, a hydrothermal area called Sulphur Banks displays colorful mineral deposits, accompanied by eggy smells. Sulphur Banks Trail – Crater Rim Trail Loop... Read more.
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Tagged with · Hydrothermal · National Parks · Nature Trails · Volcano · Volcanoes
Distance: 1.6 miles · Elevation change: 50 feet
By: Published: Last updated: September 9, 2019
Holei Sea Arch Trail Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Basalt Arch Pacific Ocean Sea Arch Hike Chain of Craters Road Hawaii
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park protects a changing landscape. This is true from the eruptive developments at Kīlauea Caldera all the way down to the ocean erosion at Hōlei Sea Arch. How much longer will this 90-foot tall bridge of basalt withstand the surf? Take a short walk - 100 yards each way - to Hōlei Sea Arch and see it while you can! Hōlei Sea Arch is 22 scenic miles from... Read more.
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Tagged with · Arches · National Parks · Ocean Views · Volcano
Distance: 0.1 miles · Elevation change: 15 feet
By: Published: Last updated: June 13, 2019