In this case, I highly recommend that you go with a tour group our of Hanga Roa as the guides will know the history well, and will be able to tell you what you are seeing. You still can visit on your own, however. Drive, take a taxi, or ride a mountain bike from Hanga Roa along the South Coast Road. Right near Ahu Tongariki (huge line of statues), is a gravel road heading north to Rano Raraku. A second trailhead is located just east of here and at a place called Ara O Te Moai. There is a picnic/campground here as well. This place is about 18kms/11 miles from Hanga Roa.
From the trailhead near Ahu Tongariki, follow the well marked trail north and towards the peak. The trail will climb the slopes of the peak and then traverse north and below the base of the west side of the cliffs that guard the summit. You will pass many statues along the way. The statues are at various stages of completion; many are complete, but some are still embedded in the cliffs of the peak and were never finished. Along the main trail described on this page, you will pass 70 standing statues, and 30 lying face down on the ground. The largest of the statues was never finished and remains buried in the cliff. It is 20.6 meters/68 feet long. Plan to spend lots of time here as it’s one of the most fascinating areas in the world, archeologically.
The trail then climbs very steeply up to the crater rim where you can view a lake in the crater. There are more statues that you will see from this overlook that are just below the crater rim between the two highest summits. To reach the true summit from here, follow the trail south and along the rim to the summit, enjoying the fine views.
Once you are at the summit, retrace your steps to the crater lake overlook. From here a steep trail descends directly to Ara O Te Moai (Way of the Moai) and a campground and picnic tables. If you went with a tour group, they will likely pick you up here. If not, you can follow the track back to the trailhead you started at.
This entire hike is probably only 3-5 kms/2-3 miles, but it takes a while since there is so much to see.
A good pair of boots in needed, as is sun protection.