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Devastation Trail

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Big Island, Hawai'i

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Devastation Trail

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  • The entrance to the Devastation Trail.- Devastation Trail
  • The entire trail is paved and ADA accessible.- Devastation Trail
  • Ferns are abundant along the side of the trail.- Devastation Trail
  • The ōhelo berries are a good food source for the nēnē, an endangered Hawaiian goose.- Devastation Trail
  • The Devastation Trail is an excellent trail for younger visitors to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.- Devastation Trail
  • The Devastation Trail traces the edge of the blast zone for the Kīlauea Iki eruption of 1959.- Devastation Trail
  • Devastation Trail, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.- Devastation Trail
  • The Kīlauea Iki Crater lies just beyond the hill. - Devastation Trail
  • The end of the Devastation Trail offers a fantastic view of the Kīlauea Iki Crater.- Devastation Trail
  • Hikers enjoying the Kīlauea Iki 400 feet below the overlook.- Devastation Trail
  • The Kīlauea Iki Crater.- Devastation Trail
  • A quintessentially Hawaiian couple: kupukupu ferns and the 'ōhi'a lehua flower.- Devastation Trail
  • Much of the area surrounding the trail is off limits for the protection of the habitat and the hiker.- Devastation Trail
  • Parking for the viewpoint.- Devastation Trail
  • This section of the Devastation Trail escaped the blast.- Devastation Trail
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Devastation Trail
  • The ōhelo berries are a good food source for the nēnē, an endangered Hawaiian goose.- Devastation Trail
  • The Devastation Trail, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.- Devastation Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Walk along the edge of a blast zone. ADA and kid friendly. Beautiful views. Short walk.
Cons: 
Crowded. Developed.
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Region:
Big Island, HI
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
20.00 ft (6.10 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
3,724.00 ft (1,135.08 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

The Devastation Trail is one of the go-to hikes for many visitors to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park for a lot of logistical reasons. It is short enough to be included in a day packed with other activities, it is level and paved, making it friendly for children, strollers, and those with walkers and wheelchairs, and it is relatively close to the entrance to the park. In addition to these logistical pros, however, there is the simple fact that it is a beautiful walk that provides a totally unique perspective on the impact that a volcanic eruption has on the immediate environment even more than half a century later.

When Kīlauea Iki erupted in 1959, it sent a fountain of lava over 1,900 feet into the sky. For reference, that's just about the height of the Eiffel Tower...with another Eiffel Tower balanced on top. The fallout from this molten explosion had an enormous radius, as well; the lava easily cleared the crater walls and was hurled hundreds of yards out from the crater rim, completely destroying the surrounding rainforest. The Devastation Trail neatly traces the edge of this impacted area. As you hike out, you'll see the blighted volcanic landscape on your left and a thriving, verdant rainforest ecosystem on your right. The juxtaposition is marvelous, and it is really the best reason to work this short walk into your itinerary.

Of course, this is a popular walk as well. If you don't arrive first thing in the morning or in bad weather, expect to share the trail with plenty of other visitors. But the trail is wide enough to accommodate two directions of traffic, and the viewing area at the end of the trial is large. The parking area has a vault toilet and a trash can, but it is otherwise bare, so bring plenty of water. Note that this is also the parking lot for the Keanakāko'i Crater Hike, so it sees some traffic, but this hike, also on asphalt, makes for a great pairing with the Devastation Trail if you have the stamina and the water.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

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(11 within a 30 mile radius)

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