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Aloha Hikes Offer Stunning Scenery

February 5, 2019
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park presents visitors with steamy hiking routes.

A visit to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park can be compared to a visit to the distant past of our planet. Thick forests of tree fern and coconut palm, as well as extensive lava deserts, greet Polynesians and tourists.

Two friends and I visited the Big Island a week ago for just three days and were able to fit in that many hikes on the island of Hawai’i.

Because of the government shutdown, the day we visited an entrance fee was not required, yet the national park was open because of the generosity of donors.

We chose to hike Kilauea Volcano’s Crater Rim Trail along Steam Vents. It’s a long trail gaining some 4,000 vertical feet, although my friends and I only ventured a couple miles seeking to experience the breath of gasses and steam.

Other Kilauea Summit Trails include Devastation Trail, Ha’akulamanu (Sulfur Banks), Keanakako’i and Kipukapuaulu.

While on the Big Island you may want to also take a visit to one of the world’s green sand beaches. One of only four, Papakolea Beach requires a four mile trek (one-way) along the southern most part of the island. Take plenty of water and expect winds gusts off of the Pacific Ocean and blowing sand. This is a hike of extremes — not recommended for youngsters under twelve-years old.

There are three other green sand beaches: Talofofo Beach, Guam; Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island in the Galapagos Islands; and Hornindalsvatnet, Norway.

Another hiking opportunity not to miss while in Hawai’i is Akaka Falls State Park. For just a $5 fee, visitors can take the half-mile paved loop around the lush park to view waterfalls.

Nestled in a thicket of bamboo, with a drop of some 442 feet to the pool below, Akaka Falls is twice the height of the more famous Niagara Falls.

For more information, visit bigislandguide.com or email bette_erickson@hotmail.com.

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