Hiking The Kilauea Crater Park
The 18th most popular hiking trail in Hawaii.
Sunday 24 July 2016 04:00 GMT
Southwest of Hilo in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Kilauea Crater area has numerous hiking trails worth exploring.
To reach the trailhead from Hilo, head south on SR11. Near milepost 29, keep an eye out for the entrance to the National Park on the left or south side of the road. After entering the park, stay to the right towards the Visitor Center and park there.
Here are some notes on adventuring in Hawaii. First, unlike mainland forests, the tropical island forests can grow very dense and can mask dropoffs. Plus, the trails can be very wet and slick most of the year (December to February is the main rainy season, but expect rain all year round). Stay on the trail to avoid disorientation. Second, speaking of disorientation, be aware that most Hawaiian topographic maps use the Old Hawaiian Datum. When trying to use the latitude/longitude from those maps with a GPS unit, you will think you are 0.4 miles south/southeast of where you really are. Kind of important in a dense jungle. Third, the bacteria Leptospirosis is found in the local waters and mud. It causes flu like symptoms within 2-20 days of contact, and can be fatal if not treated with antibiotics. Fourth, when hiking about, walking sticks can be very helpful for stablity in the slick conditions, for probing mud hole depths and clearing webs of the tiny crab spider.
Overall, Kilauea Crater Park is the 18th most popular hiking trail of all 45 hikes in Hawaii. Several of the better hiking trails are nearby Kilauea Crater Park including HiIlawe Falls, Mauna Loa Trail, Kulani Forest Trail System, Napau Crater Trail, Ala Kahakai Trail and Muliwai Trail / Waimanu ValleyPololu Valley Trail.