ApproachTake the Glenwood Road between the 19 and 20 mile markers on Highway 11. Go 3.5 miles to the end of the road where the trail begins.
WarningThis trailhead is notorious for robberies. Please see this photo and heed the warning.
Route DescriptionThe Ka-hau-a-Le'a Trail was cut by the state in 1990 to provide the quickest access to Pu'u O'o. Although it is not publicized by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (because they have no control over it), this is the only safe way to see Pu'u O'o. It is a legal, public trail.
The trail goes through an amazing rainforest, and drops you off promptly near Pu'u O'o. It is about 4 miles from parking to the end of the trail, but it will take you a while to hike it. The trail is muddy, wet, and slow going.
The end of the trail drops you abruptly one mile from Pu'u O'o. Only fools and geologists proceed any further. You are risking your life to proceed.
Note: You are upslope and upwind from Pu'u O'o, so you should be fine hiking. However, if the prevailing winds are blowing toward you as you hike, you should turn around and try again. Pu'u O'o spews lots of Sulphur Dioxide into the air, and it is possible to choke if the wind isn't cooperating.
Aerial view looking southwestward shows the active vent within Pu`u `O`o crater. Lava often poured from the vent across the sloping crater floor and drained into the pit at the opposite (downrift) end of the crater. Several times in 1997, lava filled the crater and spilled over the east rim, draping the east flank of the cone with bright silver pahoehoe (lower left). Photograph by J. Kauahikaua on October 2, 1997
Essential GearSturdy, waterproof boots. Gaiters will be appreciated. Standard hiking gear.
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