With approximately 20 volcanoes ranging in age from 400,000 years to 5.1 million years, the Hawaiian Islands are full of fascinating history of volcanoes, and incredible landscapes formed from flowing lava. From underground lava tubes in
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to stunning landscapes carved into the coastline – like Oahu’s Lanai Lookout – nowhere will you find cooler lava formations than Hawaii. These 10 diverse hikes will lead you to some of the state’s most magnificent volcanic remnants.
Thurston Lava Tube
This 500-year-old lava cave within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a stunning geographic feature formed when a river of lava gradually forms walls and a ceiling. When the lava flow stops, the remaining lava flows downhill, and you are left with a tunnel.
Diamond Head Crater
This iconic Hawaiian hike is perhaps the state’s most popular destination, known for its sweeping views of Honolulu. But not everyone knows that the crater was once home to Fort Ruger, the first United States Military reservation on Hawaii.
Situated between Halona Point and the Halona Blowhole, this small volcanic + rocky cove is perfectly picturesque, and has been featured in films like Pirates of the Caribbean and 50 First Dates. Despite its Hollywood fame, the only way to reach the stunning cove is via a rocky and slightly treacherous hike. The lava formations found here are unreal, and you can even check out a lava tube. Don’t forget to check out the nearby Lanai Lookout while you’re at it.
Hana Lava Tube
Also known as Ka’eleku Cave, the lava tube is the most accessible formation of its kind on Maui, and visitors are able to explore approximately ⅓ mile of the large cave. The lava tube is far less crowded than its Big Island cousins, but just as magical.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s Thurston Lava Tube gets all the credit, but Kaumana Cave, located near Hilo, is certainly worth the visit. The skylight entrance drops into two miles of pitch-black caves, complete with stalactites and stalagmites, as well as vines and roots falling from the cave’s roof.
Kilauea Iki Trail
This four-mile loop trail, which is the remains of a massive 1959 eruption, is wildly popular among Volcanoes National Park visitors. The trail – which takes hikers through lush rainforests, near active steam and sulfur vents, and across a solidified lava lake – was voted as the Big Island’s favorite scenic hiking trail by Hawaii Magazine.
Lava Tree State Monument
A 17-acre park that features a forest of lava trees, the result of a lava flow in 1790 that swept through the forest, leaving behind lava molds of the tree trunks. The park is free to visit, and features a 0.7-mile loop path and picnic tables.
Maui's Dragon Teeth
Though not much of a hike, these volcanic formations are found on the edge of the Ritz’s golf course. The jagged, gray rocks were formed hundreds of years ago when wind gusts from the ocean forced lava to harden towards the sky. This intriguing scenery looks like something out of a science fiction or fantasy novel, does it not?
Though the journey to reach these picturesque tide pools is short, it can be slippery, and the pools themselves can be dangerous - we'd maybe stick to just teens + adults on this trail for that reason.
Sliding Sands Trail
With various hiking trails and miles of fascinating terrain to explore, Haleakala is paradise for explorers. Check out the 10-mile sliding sands trail that takes you from Haleakala’s summit to the Paliku Cabins, descending through several miles of loose cinder.