Hawaii February 25, 2017
The Desert Oasis Hiding In Hawaii That Is Pure Magic
The Hawaiian Islands are world-renowned for their incredible beaches, cascading waterfalls, and lush landscapes, but you’re sure in for a surprise to discover that the Hawaiian Islands – specifically the island of Hawaii – are home to This vast and mysterious land located within the southwesternmost district on the island of Hawaii, the Ka’u desert is home to dried lava remnants, volcanic ash, sand, and gravel – and little else. This is the Ka’u Desert, and while it is rarely visited by tourists, it is an absolute beauty. 10 of the world’s 14 distinct climates, including deserts.
The area lacks vegetation, though it cannot technically be referred to as a true desert because it exceeds 1,000 millimeters (39 inches) in rainfall each year. The rain, however, mixes with the sulfur dioxide released by steam vents, forming acid rain.
Rain evaporates quickly due to the permeable soil, so the desert remains, just miles away from some of Hawaii’s most lush landscapes.
The district contains much of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, as well as Ka Lae - the southernmost point of the United States.
Inhospitable conditions paired with a lack of rainfall, extreme heat, and a severe scarcity of plant life cause most people to overlook the raw - and desolate - beauty that is the Ka’u Desert.
For those adventurous enough to explore this vast, barren and starkly beautiful landscape, you will surely not be disappointed.
The area is a popular hiking destination, with the most popular trailhead beginning near Crater Rim Drive and traversing the desert - crossing over the Great Crack and the Southwest Rift Zone, a major fault zone that looks like a giant groove in the earth - before reaching Kilauea Volcano.
You will also find the popular Footprints Trail, a hike that features the preserved footprints of Hawaiian warriors.
In 1790, during the most devastating eruption in Kilauea’s history, a group of more than 80 warriors was marching through the desert and died from breathing ash while fleeing. These are their footprints.
The crowned jewel of the Ka’u Desert is a little larger than a few footprints, though. A massive chasm in the earth, the Great Crack measures in at eight miles long, 60 feet wide, and 60 feet deep.
This unique volcanic coastline is absolutely breathtaking - and an epic reminder of just how powerful mother nature can be.
Have you ever experienced the beauty that is the Ka’u desert? For more information about the places in this district, check out
South Point, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.