Hidden Craters Hike: Hualalai Volcano Above Kailua-Kona
Looking to explore a volcano without doing a 12-hour trip to Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park? Venture onto private land behind 3 locked gates to explore the upper slopes of Kona’s very own volcano – Hualalai. This journey provides intimate, unique access to the site of multiple volcanic eruptions from the 1800s, all within a short distance. Explore a unique lava tube and capture scenic views of the coastline.
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Hidden Craters Hike Tour Highlights
- Duration: 5-hours
- Rated: moderate, ages 8 and above
- Max group size is 10
- Exclusive private access onto Hualalai volcano and into a native forest
- Take pleasure in a 3-4 mile hike through untouched cloud forest with incredible vistas of the Kona coast.
- Stand on the edge of precipitous volcanic craters that plunge deep into the earth below
- Climb through a segment of a lava tube
- Tour departs from Hawaii Forest and Trails Headquarters (click for directions), 12-minutes north of Kailua-Kona
- Leaves early in the morning and is not offered daily
Click the Book Online button to find a time that works best for your group!
Hidden Craters Tour is a wonderful option to hike a volcano without the all-day drive to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. If Volcano Unveiled Tour seems like too much, we recommend this tour.
Hidden Craters Tour by Hawaii Forest & Trail
Venture onto private land behind 3 locked gates to explore the upper slopes of Kona’s very own volcano – Hualalai. This journey provides intimate, unique access to the site of multiple volcanic eruptions from the 1800s, all within a short distance. Explore a unique lava tube and capture scenic views of the coastline.
The total tour length is approximately 5 hours round trip as the tour departs from Hawaii Forest & Trail headquarters, 12-minutes north of Kailua-Kona. A convenient location if staying near Kailua-Kona or on the Kohala Coast.
Restrictions: Guests should be able to hike on uneven or rocky terrain. You may encounter cool and wet conditions. Other tour restrictions may apply.
What to Bring & Wear: Comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and a light sweatshirt or jacket.
Still on the fence about taking this tour? Let interpretative tour guide Mateo give you a taste of what to expect.
Erica and I are big fans of Hawaii Forest and Trail for their types of tours and knowledgeable guides. Check out these other tours they offer.
- The Best Stargazing Tour on the Big Island
- Big Island Waterfall Hike is the Kohala Waterfall Adventure Tour
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Guided Tour: Volcanoes Unveiled
FAQs: Hidden Craters Hike (Guided Tour)
What is included?
Trail bar snacks and water refills. Please bring your own reusable bottle!
Is Hualalai Volcano active?
Technically speaking, yes. Hualalai’s last eruption ended in 1801 so it is considered active. However, magma is not close to the surface so you won’t see any geothermal activity.
How much hiking do we do?
3-4 miles along uneven terrain with some steep inclines and declines.
What should you bring and wear on the hike?
Wear comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and a light sweatshirt or jacket.
Is there an elevation gain?
The tour ranges from sea level to 6,000 feet. You will meander on a single-track trail through native forest with an elevation change of approximately 800 feet. While exploring the lava tube, expect to descend and ascend approximately 30 – 40 feet.
How many different volcano features will you see?
Along the tour, you’ll see 200-year-old lava flow, spatter cones, fissures, and collapse pits.
Do we need any special type of equipment to explore the lava tube?
The lava tube you’ll visit is perfect for the casual adventurer. With your guide, you’ll descend via earthen steps with a rope to assist and there’s enough ambient light to see all of the major features inside the cave.
About Hawaii Forest and Trail Team
Try to find another tour company with better reviews than Hawaii Forest and Trail. Even their sister company, Kohala Zipline, knocks it out of the park with reviews and A+ experience. We trust them with your Island of Hawaii vacation.
Rob Pacheco has a passion for the natural world of Hawaii. It is a passion that began almost as soon as he stepped off the plane here in 1990 and quickly realized that these islands contain diverse and unique ecosystems rivaling any place on earth.
Because of its isolation in the middle of the Pacific and its volcanic geology, Rob realized that Hawaii is a place unparalleled for studying evolutionary biology, extinction, endangered species, and conservation. It is a place where the fundamental lessons of creation and earth sciences could be seen, experienced, and understood.
At the same time Pacheco, who had worked as a naturalist on the mainland, concluded most residents and visitors were only seeing Hawaii’s beautiful scenery and had little knowledge of Hawaii’s natural history. Pacheco decided to combine his passion with a vision: to share his passion for natural history with others and to help conserve Hawaii’s endangered environment by educating them about it. It was a vision that fit well with the growing worldwide interest in eco-tourism. Soon thereafter, and with the help of his wife Cindy whom he had met in Kona, the idea for Hawaii Forest & Trail was born.
One of the integral ideas the Pachecos instituted was to establish partnerships with private landowners that would allow tours to places with wild and remote native ecosystems that had been previously inaccessible. Hawaii Forest & Trail is one of the few tour companies allowed access to private lands and controlled-access wildlife refuges.
Another important element Pacheco built into Hawaii Forest & Trail was the practice of having knowledgeable and qualified guides. In 1993, when Hawaii Forest & Trail began offering its first adventures, Pacheco was “the only guide” for every trip.
Since then he has built up a team of guides with strong academic backgrounds in biology, geology, Hawaiian culture and history, and extensive natural history field experience. It’s not enough for the guides to simply “know things”, they must also have a real passion for Hawaii’s natural world and enthusiasm for sharing it.
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