Best Hikes: Big Island of Hawai’i
This list of best hikes is geared toward a first-time visitor to the Big Island.
Pololū Valley - Kohala - A short hike to a picturesque valley on the dramatic Kohala Coast. (Pololū Valley is the header photo for this website).
Kīholo Bay - Kohala - Calm, beautiful turquoise tidepools and lots of wildlife.
Makalawena Beach - Kona - This is probably the best beach hike on the Big Island.
Kealakekua Bay - Kona - This hike travels to gorgeous Kealakekua Bay, the site where Captain Cook landed on Hawai'i. Kealakekua Bay has excellent snorkeling.
'Akaka Falls State Park - Hāmākua - This short stroll overlooks one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Hawai'i.
Waimanu Valley - Hāmākua - One of the most remote and most beautiful places in Hawai'i. This extreme dayhike or backpack requires substantial effort.
Kalōpā State Park - Hāmākua - The best rainforest hike on the island.
Mauna Kea - Saddle Road - Climb above the clouds to the highest point in Hawai'i, 13,796 feet above sea level.
Kīlauea Iki - Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park - This is a great short hike that travels through a pit crater near erupting Kīlauea Caldera.
Papakōlea Green Sand Beach - Kaʻū - Green sand beaches are extremely rare in the world. Hike to this unique geological feature along the southern coast.
Kaumana Caves State Park - Hilo - A short, easy walk to a lava tube cave.
The Puna Trail - Puna - Travel through a lush rainforest to Hā'ena Beach, a protected sandy expanse on the otherwise cliffy Puna Coast.
Best Big Island Backpacking Destinations:
The Big Island doesn't have very many options for backpacking, but it makes up in quality what it lacks in quantity. The three options below are excellent and very unique.
Mauna Loa - The hike featured on this website is a dayhike to the summit of Mauna Loa, but there is longer route that requres 3-5 days. See the National Park's Mauna Loa page for information and permits.
Nāpau Trail - This 12 mile round trip in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park travels to the edge of Nāpau Crater where there is a primitive campsite. Nāpau Crater is the closest vantage point on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, the current volcanic eruption site. Permits for camping are available from the National Parks Service.