Normally when I talk about this trail people assume that I was in Volcano National Park. They get really excited and ask me how the vent was. Unfortunately this trail doesn’t take you anywhere near the vent…but is still a cool trail! There is an actual unmaintained (illegal) trail that goes out to the vent and it is on my to-do list. Read more about it here:
The trail that I took starts on saddle and varies in length based on which path you take back to your car. Here are a few different paths you can take:
1. Loop Trail
Start at the trailhead, head out about 4 miles until the trail intersects with a 4WD road called powerline rd. Take this all the way back to saddle rd. you will need to hike up saddle a small ways, but it is the shortest route back. It’s about 7 miles total.
2. Turn around
This was the path we took. We went down to the intersection and turned right back around. Mainly due to the fact that a hunter stopped to talk to us and told us about some of the idiots who go out and shoot on this road. Don’t forget to visit the lava tube though!
3. All the way!
A few people have told me that this trail goes all the way down to the National Park…officially, it doesn’t, BUT after taking a glance on google maps satellite imagery it looks like you actually can go all the way! I honestly can’t think of a reason why you would want to other than just bragging rights but if 15+ miles in one day is your kind of fun…go for it!
Might want to do a little bit of mapping out the trail before you go though. It looks like you can take the saddle trailhead, continue on powerline rd, then get onto Puu Oo Volcano Trail down to highway 11. let me know if you make it!
So we started out at mile marker 22 where there is a pull off to the left (coming from hilo). Park your car in the little lot and get started! after about 1-2 miles you will come upon a small berry patch. The akala berries are quite tasty and make for a nice treat 🙂
as you keep moving along you will come upon the Pahoehoe lava, the patches of green gotta end somewhere! Never fear though, you end up going through multiple ohia patches throughout the trail. If you’re a bird person, this is supposed to be a great trail for bird watching. I didn’t really see anything but I honestly have no idea what to look for.
Eventually you will end up intersecting with the powerline 4WD road. Turn here for a short trip or if you want to see the awesome lava tube!
The lava tube is about a half mile down powerline road from the intersection and is marked by a small cairn. It is illegal to go inside the tube without a permit. (oops? 🙂 ) apparently it is a mile long!
from here you can either take the road back as discribed earlier or turn around and take the trail back. (I advise taking the road because the whole trip ended up being 10 miles when turning around )