Hiking on the Big Island Hawaii

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One of the things that really attracted us to the Big Island when selecting which floating piece of Hawaiian paradise we would visit, was the opportunity to pursue a wide variety of outdoor activities. Not only are there great beaches on the Big Island, there are also amazing hiking trails.

Being a family of avid hikers, we always want to weigh out the amount of challenge and effort a particular hiking trail requires, with the quality of the scenery along the way or the final pay-off at the end of the journey. And with soaring peaks, rushing streams, sprawling valleys and volcanoes to explore, the Big Island is a hiker’s paradise! Here are a few of our favorite hikes from our recent trip.

 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park

Exploring Volcanoes National Park is a must see attraction when visiting the Big Island. For only $10 per vehicle, you receive a 7 day pass to wander the giant park at your leisure. There are numerous hiking trails through forests, along active steam vents, across massive craters and through lava tube caves.

Kilauea_iki Crater

Super interesting and educational for both young and old, one day is nowhere near enough time to really get an appreciation for everything this park has to offer. Being able to basically witness the lifecycle of our earth up close and personal is a fascinating experience.

Lava TubesThurston Lava Tube

Waipio Valley

Waipio Lookout

Probably one of the most picturesque areas on the Big Island, visiting Waipio Valley gives you an opportunity to discover an area that seems untouched by time. While hiking the paved road down to the valley is not super difficult (although many people choose to hire a local with a pickup truck or a tour operator for a lift), you are rewarded with absolutely stunning views.

Waipio Valley

Just remember you do have to hike back up, so conserve some energy when exploring the valley. It was a lot of fun to cross the stream that feeds into the ocean and to explore the beach and surrounding forest. Great place to spend a full day.

Waipio StreamWaipio ViewWaipio Hike

 Pololu Valley

Pololu Valley

Another spectacular area for hiking. This little adventure also involves descending into a fairly deep valley (unlike the paved road at Waipio Valley, this trail is more of a traditional rough and rustic rock and dirt pathway).

Pololu Valley ViewPololu

If you have children, there are some fun little swings and natural jungle gyms to explore next to the beach. If you’re feeling energetic, there are trails that lead you up and around the shore side peaks for some incredible views. But again, remember to save some energy for the hike back up!

Pololu FunPololu Hike

For a fun little hike, I want to mention that we had passed this gaping hole right next to Highway 19 on numerous occasions while driving back and forth from the various beaches on the west coast.

Highway 19 Lava Tube

We noticed a few cars parked around and people taking pictures in front of the hole. What we didn’t realize, was the hole actually enters a rather lengthy lava tube! It was pretty fun to explore and is worth stopping to check out for a quick hike. For now, back to the cage.

19 Lava TubeHighway 19 Lava Tube Hike