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FATMAP difficulty grade
The trail starts at the car park at the opposite entrance to the Thurston Lava Tube.
At the beginning we walk on a wide gravel path through a dense forest with false antler ferns, large tree ferns, ginger plants and Ohia Lehua trees.
Over several hairpin bends we descend the eastern crater wall, the way becomes stonier, whereby the crater basin can be seen again and again through the forest cleared in the meantime.
At the foot of the crater floor, we follow the path marked with lava pyramids, entering Pahoehoe lava plates dating back to the eruption of Puu Puai in 1959.
Today, fumes still rise in places between the lava cracks and crevices.
We leave the volcanic image of Puu Puai on the left, then climb a little over rough lava boulders, pass also rugged Aa-Lava, before we reach the other side of the crater after about half the way.
Here the vegetation increases again and we climb steeper over hairpin bends and isolated steps.
In a light forest section we do not follow the turn-off to the left to the Byron Ledge Trail, but continue straight on, now again on an easy path that leads through an Ohia Lehua forest.
We also stay on our way at the next and the next but one turn-off and walk clockwise around the crater rim of Kilauea Iki.
Again and again free views open down into the impressive crater world.
Finally we climb a few stone steps to the Crater Rim Road and the parking lot of the Kilauea Iki Overlook.
From here we continue along the forested crater rim and a few minutes later - slightly offset to the trail start - reach the car park at Thurston Lava Tube. equipment