Tour Summary: Hike through the untouched cloud forest of the Hualalai Volcano with incredible vistas of the Kona coast to explore volcanic craters and climb through a segment of a lava tube, and end your adventure with a tour + sampling at Kona's newest brewery.
- Take a 3-4 mile hike through native untouched cloud forest with incredible vistas of the Kona coast.
- Stand on the edge of precipitous volcanic craters and fissures
- Climb through and explore a segment of an old lava tube
- Experience volcanic landscapes comparable to those in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park while staying close to Kona
- Reward yourself after the hike with a tour of Kona’s newest brewery and enjoy a sampling of locally made beers, ciders, and/or non-alcoholic energy drinks.
Important: Guests on this tour should be able to hike on uneven or rocky terrain for approximately 3 miles.
|$177.14||$153.20 (ages 8 to12)|
Tour Provider: Hawaii Forest and Trail
Tour start time: 07:30 am
Duration: 7 hours
Departure from: Kailua Kona
Pick-up available? Yes! From several locations between the Hawaii Forest & Trail headquarters in Kona and the Waikoloa & Kohala coast resorts. More details available during the booking process during the "Where are you staying" step.
Included: Deli style lunch with assorted soft drinks, juices and bottled water during the hike. Tasting of locally made beers, ciders, and/or non-alcoholic energy drinks after the hike.
Cancellations: Cancellations: Customers will receive a full refund with 48 hours notice of cancellation. Private tours: Customers will receive a full refund with 72 hours notice of cancellation. Cancellations within the cancellation period and “no-shows” will be charged the FULL AMOUNT of the tour.
You can read more about this activity in our Volcanoes guide.
Explore the misty Kona cloud forests and hike to a hidden crater on private lands on the Hualalai volcano. You will be taken off-road by your expert interpretive guide, drive through multiple locked gates, and then proceed by foot to a 6,500 foot elevation to see the stunning sights of black lava flows and native dry land forest.
The landscape you will explore was created in 1801 during the Kaʻūpūlehu eruption and boasts magnificent coastal viewpoints and stunning lava formations such as a 200 year old lava flow, spatter cones, fissures, collapse pits, and a lava tube which you get to explore yourself. The cloud forests quiet and serene, and are known to be a great spot for bird watching.
After a few hours of hiking the tour ends in Kona with a well deserved refreshing reward at Kona’s newest brewery, Ola Brew. You will get a tour of the brewery and will get to sample the beers and ciders they produce (21 years and over).
Why is this tour a local favorite?
his hiking tour provides unique access to volcanic sites on the upper slopes of the Hualalai volcano. You can see Mateo, one of the expert interpretive guides that lead this tour, explain why the hidden craters hike is one of his favorite tours in the following video:
History of the Kaʻūpūlehu Crater
Hualalai is the westernmost of the three active volcanoes on the Island of Hawai’i and volcanic eruptions have occurred on average every few hundred years from its summit and rift zones. The Kaʻūpūlehu Crater formed during the last eruptive episode of the Hualalai volcano at the beginning of the 19th century from multiple vents. Many flows were produced during this eruption but only two of these were active enough to reach the ocean: the Hu’ehu’e flow (the one that you cross while driving between Kona and the airport) and the Ka’upulehu flow (coming from the Kaʻūpūlehu Crater).
Fun fact: These eruption took place slightly more than 20 years after initial contact with the Western world. Life was different then, which is interesting to reflect upon when visiting the crater.
Hawaiians still lived in villages at the Hualalai shoreline and labored in up-slope agricultural areas. Fishponds, a unique Hawaiian inventions for aquaculture, were common along the coastline. And, last but not least, Hawaii was still independent and was ruled as a monarchy under the leadership of Kamehameha.
Read more about the Hualalai eruptive history in this 1996 USGS report titled “The most recent eruptions of Hualalai Volcano, Hawai’i: an annotated bibliography“
Hawaii Forest & Trail is a highly respected local tour company that has operated on the Big Island since 1993. They have gained access to private and restricted lands and are widely recognized as a tour company that has passionate and knowledgeable interpretative guides, all of which translates into consistent stellar reviews from their past guests.
Hawaii Forest & Trail is fully certified by the Hawaii Ecotourism Association. This means that their tours are eco-friendly, culturally educational and operate as sustainable as possible.
The HFT staff are picked to have 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.
Giving back to the community
The vision of Hawaii Forest & Trail is to share the splendor of Hawai’i and inspire a deep connection with our natural world. They donate a small amount ($1 per guest) to a fund that makes donations to non-profit organizations whose mission and work aligns with at least one of the following criteria:
- benefits the conservation of Hawaii’s native ecosystems, species and landscapes.
- promulgates the understanding and practice of Hawaiian culture and the dissemination and understanding of Hawaii’s natural and cultural history.
- promotes and facilitates an appreciation and interaction with nature, especially programs that are youth oriented.
It is the intent of the fund to give preference to entities who are based or whose work is performed in the communities where they operate tours.
We are affiliate partners with Hawaii Forest and Trail meaning that we receive a percentage for each successful booking made through our website. This happens without any additional charge to you! (read more on the use of those links on our website here).
By booking tours through our website you support LoveBigIsland.com and help us to provide you and future visitors with free and high quality information about the Big Island. Thanks, you guys are amazing!