Hiking from Pu’u Huluhulu Trailhead to Napau via Mauna Ulu

Located on the Big Island, Hawaii, this trail reminded me of the video game Death Stranding, desolate and calming. It’s one of my favorites so far.

This is an out-and-back trail with a total length of roughly 21 km (or 13 mi). I only recommend it when the weather is rainy for two reasons. First, the terrain is highly exposed and the temperature can get very high under the sun (I tried it on a sunny day on my first attempt and the condition was too harsh). Second, when the rain water infiltrates the land, the ground thermal will heat it up to generate misty steam, and the permeation of the steam is the major reason that I think this trail to be fascinating.

If you want to try it, you’d better start early in the day as the trail is very long and strenuous. You must stay on the trail as the ground is hollow under the lava crust in some areas, and there is a risk of falling into the cracks. Hiking shoes are necessary as the ground is uneven. If you plan to do it on a rainy day, you need to wear waterproof clothes all over your body, and the wind can be very gusty.

I created a Google Map of it so you know the exact route. The route deviates slightly from the Napau Crater Trail provided by AllTrails, as I stopped by Mauna Ulu Crater, which is undoubtedly the best scenery on this trail.

Mauna Ulu Crater
Stream area near Mauna Ulu Crater
Steam area near Alae Crater
Makaopuhi Crater
Intersection near Makaopuhi Crater

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