Watersports

Volcano lovers won’t want to miss this Hawaii Island tour

KapohoKine Adventures’ Elite Volcano Hike tour showcases the destruction and creation of the Big Island’s volcanoes.

Among the many fascinating natural wonders of Hawaiʻi, volcanoes stand above the rest, literally. But they are not limited to spitting lava.

If you want to know more about volcanoes in Hawaii KapohoKine Adventures‘ Elite Volcano Hike Tour. This six-hour educational adventure begins in Hilo and takes you on foot to areas of the island of Hawaii that have been affected by eruptions, old and new. This includes places in the path of Kīlauea’s most recent eruption, which began in 2018 and lasted for months, destroying more than 700 homes and devastating residential areas in nearby Puna.

The Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo.
Photo: Courtesy of Grand Naniloa

If you are staying at Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo, the tour operator will pick you up there in one of its shuttles. Your first stop on the tour, which will be led by a certified Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Service and Wilderness First Aid guide, will be the Mackenzie State Recreation Area, where you will then proceed to a hike along a now closed highway that was devastated by the Kīlauea eruption in 2018.

After walking part of the two-and-a-half-mile trail, past 40-foot-tall friable a`a (lava rock) walls, and through a lava-cut pine forest, you will come to Isaac Hale Beach Park, which has miraculously survived the eruptions. Even better, a newly formed black sand beach has emerged there, with its beautiful obsidian sand best enjoyed in person, and KapohoKine Adventures will make that a little easier by offering a picnic-style lunch.

Your adventure begins in front of the Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo, a DoubleTree by Hilton.
Photo courtesy of KapohoKine

Next stop is Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, a 323,431-acre park that includes two active volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. The park was closed for an unprecedented 134 days last year; most of it reopened on September 22, 2018, after months of eruptions, seismic activity, and lava flows from Kīlauea. Cracks and sinkholes left by historic 2018 eruptions are now part of the tour. Visitors will also have the opportunity to drive the paved road to Keanakākoʻi, which offers epic views of the Kīlauea Caldera. The tour continues for approximately two miles (round trip) past the famous Sulfur Banks to the caldera floor. Along the way, you’ll see Halema’uma’u Crater, which, although no longer filled with lava, has expanded significantly after numerous collapses of its crater walls. Nature lovers will also appreciate the native birds, such as the yellow ʻaʻamakihi and the red ʻapapane, both found in the area. You’ll also visit the historic Volcano House for panoramic views of the vast volcanic landscape.

The final stop is Volcano Winery, the southernmost winery in the United States. The winery grows grapes in the crisp air of the high hills of Volcano Village on the slopes of Mauna Loa. It was started in 1983 by a retired Oʻahu veterinarian, Lynn “Doc” McKinney. Today, Volcano Winery offers a wide range of premium wines. Your tour includes a sampling of up to eight wines, from sweet to dry, and a private glimpse of the farm’s vineyard. The tour concludes with a Hawaiian-style barbecue, which, along with a complimentary glass of Volcano Winery, can be enjoyed in the winery’s outdoor seating area.

For more information, visit the KapohoKine Adventures website or call (808) 964-1000. Conveniently located in the hotel lobby, guests of the Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo, a DoubleTree by Hilton, can book tours on-site.