Lava Tree State Monument
Round Trip Mileage: 0.75 mile
Elevation Gain: 75'
Lava Tree State Monument provides a quick diversion while exploring the Puna District of Hawai'i. Lava trees occur when rapidly-moving lava envelops a living tree and then hardens in the cast of the tree before burning the organic content. This leaves odd lava formations with hollow cores. Lava destroyed this area in 1790. Frankly, there are much better lava trees elsewhere on the Big Island, but this state park's lure is more to experience the lush rainforest. The Monument is open during daylight hours. There is no entrance fee. There are restrooms at the parking area.
Trailhead: From Hilo, take Hwy. 11 south toward Puna. Near Kea'au, turn south on Hwy. 130 toward Pahōa. At Pahōa, turn east on Hwy. 132. Follow Hwy. 132 for 2.7 miles past Pahōa and find the signed Lava Tree State Monument on the north side of the road.
Gear: Standard hiking gear. Don't forget a raincoat.
Hike: Just follow the paved trail in either direction in a large loop. The ground in the area has many cracks and holes, so stay on the trail.