4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
This lengthy hike tags the top of a small rise known as Pu-u Huluhulu on its way across a vast plan of hardened lava riven by steam vents.
Along the way to the turn-around point you'll also pass a stunning overlook of the Makaopuhi Crater, which drops away below you in a vast sea of lava rock. The trail itself is known as the Napau Trail as it eventually leads to the Napau Crater, and most hikers consider this to be one of the best hikes in the entire national park.
"The Nāpau trail crosses vast oceans of new lava and skirts a few massive craters before entering a 150 year-old rainforest," according to [BigIslandHikes.com](https://bigislandhikes.com/napau-trail).
"After hiking in the rainforest for a bit, you abruptly come to the edge of Nāpau Crater, which provides the closest vantage possible to the former eruption site." At over 12 miles round-trip, tackling this entire route in a single day is a respectable undertaking.
However, there are some backcountry campsites available near the crater that will allow you to turn this into an overnight backpacking trip.
To camp at one of the sites, you'll have to apply for a camping permit at the visitor center or the backcountry office.