Blue skies……sunshine……..sea breezes….volcanoes….rolling hills….mountains…….ocean..……nature all around you…..go TAKE A HIKE …..Big Island of Hawaii!

If you are moving to the Big Island of Hawaii and love to hike like me, then you are going to enjoying moving to the Big Island.


 Yes, after moving here we really fell in love with the many different hiking opportunities so lets go……

Hiking on the Big Island is magical, invigorating, jaw dropping and a great way to see the island AND get some exercise.

Before I give you my TOP 5 hikes:

I want to make sure are prepared and what to pack for your hike.

   ALWAYS pack water! You are in a warm tropical climate and you will be sweating. You don’t want to get dehydrated

Wear good walking or hiking shoes! You will be on volcanic terrain and rocks. You need good footing.

I have seen people in flipflops  aka slippahs and that is a disaster waiting to happen! When you fall on lava rock, you will definitely get hurt.

   Have a trail map. Many hikes will be through dense vegetation and you may loose track of where you are. Either a trail map or TRACK my steps on your phone will help keep you from getting lost.

Snacks: if you are hiking for a couple hours or more: snacks to replenish your energy is always good.

 Sunscreen and a hat! You are going to be in the sun and need some protection from getting burned!

 Where to hike: do you like ocean trails and black sand, white sand, and green sand trails, historical trails and petroglyphs, volcano trails to a crater floor, lava lakes, rainforests, high alpine trails…………we have it ALL on the Big Island!

As a trail guide resource: I use All Trails, 

My Top 5 Trails

  1.    Pololu Trail and the Honokane Nui Lookout, Kohala Coast:4.5 miles, moderate difficulty at the top of the island, views of the ocean, a black sand beach, the Kohala coastline and cliffs, ironwood forest, wild guava trees, lush valley and mountains, and the island of Maui across the ocean. The Pololu Valley is where they filmed Jurassic Park II so the views of the valley are lush green and gorgeous
  2.    Papakolea Green Sands Beach: hike along the ocean on the southern most part of the island to a beautiful green sand beach, one of the rarest beaches in the world! The hike out to see the green olivine crystals on the beach is a once in a lifetime experience. The beach is considered to be the MOST southern tip of the United States.

It is an easy hike 6.3 miles total RT along the coastline.

Make sure to bring water, sunscreen and a hat because you are completely exposed with NO shade along the ocean.

Also, we bring our swimsuits, bogey boards to swim in the bay. It is a gorgeous bay with rolling waves.

We also bring snacks because we make this an all day event.


  1.    Kilauea iKi Hike and Crater Rim Trail at Volcanoes National Park: hike thru a crater near the erupting Kilauea Coldera. 3.3 mile loop.

The hike takes you from the Kilauea IKI Overlook parking lot along the northern rim of the crater and thru dense rainforest. There are numerous viewpoints of the craters lava lake. Once in the crater, you can easily follow the path thru the middle of the lava lanke to the end.The hike back up to the top, you’ll arrive at the Nahuku Thurston Lave Tube parking lot. And then continue along the pathway in the rainforest back to the Kilauea Iki Overlook.


  1.    Captain Cook Monument Trail: 4.1 miles with a hard elevation change of 0ver 1200 feet to climb back up. The trail goes thru bushes, tall grasses and trees which open up to incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and Kealakekua Bay below. The trail ends up at some of the BEST snorkeling on the island, dolphin, manta ray and whale watching…..so bring your bathing suit and snorkeling equipment. But…Most importantly….bring WATER and sunscreen!  This is a great all day adventure with the combination of hiking, snorkeling, swimming so plan on bringing lunch or snacks too.

Also in the bay is the Monument built in 1874 to commemorate Captain John Cook. It has historical significance but really…most people are here for the incredible snorkeling. This bay is ONLY accessible by this hike and by boat ….tour boats go out of the Kona marina a couple times a day. This is one of my favorites because I love the combination of hiking and snorkeling!


  1.    Pu’u Kalepeamoa Sunset Hill Trail, Mauna Kea Visitor Center:  1.6 miles RT…..if you go late day, watch the sunset with a cloud inversion on the highest peak in the world.

Mauna Kea is the highest peak in the world when measured at the base under the ocean. While the hike to the Summit is challenging, and very cold and windy….the easier and just as rewarding hike is up Sunset Hill Trail near the visitor center.

This has some of THE most panoramic views of the island from atip the hill south of the Mauna Kea Visitor Center. The trail starts across the highway from the Visitor Center and leads up the hill to a viewing point. Have a seat on one of the rocks and wait for the skies to change color as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean. After the sun goes down,…..enjoy the “blue hour” ….where you can enjoy the impressive view of the stars overhead.

Make sure to bring a jacket! Weather is cooler at elevation and winds are likely.

A headlamp or flashlight are necessary when hiking back down.


These are MY top 5 hikes on the Big Island…but, there are hundreds of other hikes ….

Check out:

Akaka Falls State Park for waterfalls, the King’s Trail for Petroglyphs , Chain of Craters Trail,  Makalawena Beach Hike, Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden


I hope you have the chance to check out some of the incredible hikes thru various ecosystems on the Big Island: green sand, black sand, volcanoes, petroglyphs, rainforests, waterfalls….they are worth your time and energy….and, I forgot to mention….most are free!


We hope you liked this information about hikes around the Big Island of Hawaii and if you have any questions reach out anytime at 808-300-9099


Posted by Stephen Proski on
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