Sounds dangerous, death-defying even, but hiking Kilauea Volcano isn’t all that bad – especially on a guided group hike. That’s why a nonprofit started a monthly hiking program that lets visitors explore this gem on the Hawaii Island.

The Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park hosts a “Sunday Walk in the Park” every second Sunday of the month. It starts at 10:30 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m., taking hikers through the rugged terrain of pahoehoe lava to a more verdant landscape of native forests and panoramic pastures.

Hikes vary in levels of difficulty and can be anywhere from two miles to eight. The nonprofit usually posts to its website a description of the upcoming hike, so check there. It is free for members but about $45 for non-members.

I was able to hike the Napau Trail, which takes hikers up a recently formed shield volcano called Mauna Ulu. This volcano erupted in 1969 to 1974 and left an altered landscape of gorgeous geological features. I liked how I was able to see a mixed bag of landscapes – from forest kipuka to hardened lava rivers and lava trees.

Although it’s a guided hike, it’s always best to show up prepared. Wear the proper footwear, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. Make sure to pack snacks, drinking water and a camera! Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is an amazing place, to say the least, so there will be endless photo opps around.

SUNDAY WALK IN THE PARK • Second Sundays at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park •


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