Switchbacks

A switchback on the Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
A switchback on the Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is one of the most popular in the park, but I’ve never found it crowded when I’ve been there. It features two very different environments, the walk around the heavily wooded crater rim and the crossing of the barren lava on the crater floor, about 400 feet below.

Since the trail is a loop, one has to descend the steep crater wall at one end and climb up the equally steep crater wall at the other. At both ends, the trail is heavily switchbacked to make this possible. For the hiker, the positives of this are that the trail is less steep than a straight shot would be, and the switchbacks are good spots to take a break and get a variety of views.

For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go to nps.gov/havo/. Posted for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (See more responses here).

A switchback on the Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The trail across the crater floor.
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11 thoughts on “Switchbacks

    1. Graham Post author

      Basically, yes. It’s been a good many years since this crater was active though steam still rises from vents. The active crater is the next one over, but there’s an open trail that goes across the edge of that one! I might post that one before the month is over.

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  1. kzmcb

    The walks look fabulous. I didn’t know what to expect from the title – pigs? Oh no, that’s razorback. Anyway, they seem like my only decision would be when to face the uphill.

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    1. Graham Post author

      It’s a fair sized crater though not as big as the one where the active vent is currently. Don’t know where switchback comes from, but it would be interesting to know.

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