Hiking the Mauna Loa Trail

The Mauna Loa trail that begins inside of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is quite special. First off, this is the tallest mountain in the world (measured from the sea floor) and the name Mauna Loa literally means long mountain. And if you start this hike inside the Volcano Park you do need to know that it’s a high altitude hike and you’ve got to be prepared. Luckily for us, we only planned on going a few hours and turning back the same day. This turned out to be a good idea because when we got to the trail head it was pouring down rain. We waited it out for a bit then set off in our rain gear. The rain gave us totally different hiking views, but I think any day you get to be hiking on a volcano whether there be rain or shine – it’s still a great day.

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Even thought everything was soaking wet, I loved the way the droplets of water clung to every surface, even the spider webs and leaves.

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Such pretty contrasting colors with the black volcanic rock and the colorful plants. I took way too many photos. I couldn’t help myself. 

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We also got some photos of the silversword plants that were behind a fence protected from being trampled. These interesting plants will bloom within the first 10-30 years of their life, shooting up flowers as tall as 9 feet. Once they bloom, they die.

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I wish we had more time to repeat this trek on a sunny day. I also can’t believe, with all the trips we’ve made to Volcanoes National Park, that we have not done this trek sooner. This is a trail that I think should definitely be on your list.

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What to know:

Mauna Kea is a high altitude trek, therefore you want to adjust to the altitude and drink lots of water before and during your trip. Be aware of sudden changes in climate.

Click HERE for more info at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park page.

There are 2 routes to this trek, one that starts inside the park (where we started) and outside the park as well. Click HERE for more info.

To read about more adventurous activities on the Big Island of Hawaii, click HERE!

Have you hiked the entire Mauna Loa Trail? Please add your tips or questions below!