Guidebook

Hike into Mordor in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Looking for a crater full of molten lava to throw an indestructible ring into? Look no further.

Greg Heil

Description

If you ever find yourself in a position where you need to destroy a ring of power, the closest place to find to a modern day Mordor is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Here, lava bursts from active volcanoes, flowing down the mountainside in molten rivers destroying (or rather, reshaping) the landscape in its path. You can even find a convenient crater of molten lava or two to toss an indestructible ring into if you so choose.

The best hike for halflings on a mission is likely the Halema'uma'u Trail. On this hike you'll discover a particularly active volcanic crater and a series of lava vents. If Halema'uma'u is quiet at the moment, head to Kilauea Iki Trail instead. Kilauea Iki is widely regarded as one of the best hikes in the national park. At times in the past, Napau Crater was a key hobbit destination, although it has quieted in recent years.

Once your ring-destroying mission has been accomplished, there's still plenty of sightseeing to be had on your journey back from Mordor. Consider stopping off at the Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs to view one of the largest petroglyph fields in Polynesia. Finally, for a longer hike with stunning ocean scenery, try out this loop from the Hilina Pali Overlook. Who said quests were all work and no play?!

DISCLAIMER: Please don't actually throw anything in the volcanic craters.

Kilauea Iki Trail

Kilauea Iki Trail

1 - 2 hrs
5.1 km
175 m
175 m
*A varied circuit through a volcanic crater * This circuit through the Kilauea-Iki crater is very nice, whereby the route leads on one side of the crater about 100 m down to the flat crater floor, then the naked lava field is crossed and then on the other side the crater wall rises again. The crater is surrounded by lush ferns and Ohia forests. The path is in good condition, easy to reach and very popular with visitors to the National Park.
Moderate
Private
Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs

0 - 1 hrs
2.0 km
14 m
14 m
View one of the most extensive petroglyph fields in Polynesia.
Easy
Private
Hilina Pali Overlook Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Hilina Pali Overlook Loop

12.4 km
654 m
654 m
A challenging hike down to the Hilina Slump.
Severe
Private
Halema'uma'u Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Halema'uma'u Trail

2 - 3 hrs
10.0 km
193 m
193 m
One of the best hikes for viewing lava in Volcanos National Park.
Difficult
Private
Napau Crater
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Napau Crater

5 - 6 hrs
19.5 km
435 m
435 m
Visit several stunning sites in one long hike.
Difficult
Private