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Napau Crater Trail

Hawaii > The Big Island > Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Length14 mi
Elev. Gain700 ft
Difficulty4 / 5
Rating7 / 10
The 12 mile stretched Chain of Craters Road was once buried in lava between 1969 and 1974.

The trail starts from a segment of the Chain of Craters Road and as it nears the forested Puu Huluhulu it crosses the smoother lava from a 1974 flow. The trail then passes under a 'perch pond' on Mauna Ulu's side. After crossing Puu Huluhulu, it travels along the bed of a lava channel. Then you go up the Alae Shield and go near the rim of the peak crater.

Follow the trail as it climbs down the Alae Shield and reach the Makaopuhi Crater across. From here the trail travels through a rain forest and at 0.5 mile you will come to the trail head for the Nulu Trail. You will pass through Ohia trees and tree ferns in the forest. The rainforest will open up a few times at places where the lava had burned down the trees. When you come near the end of the trail, it splits and you will find an ancient campground to the left and the Napau Crater which is the end, on the right.

Best time to go
The best time to go is on one of the Tuesdays each month when the “After Dark in the Park” lectures take place.

$10 per car, All National Park Service passes accepted

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Hike Featured In...
Best Hiking Trips in Hawaii
By Pamela Wright
Trailhead Location
GPS Coordinates:
19° 21.893' N
155° 12.911' W

Driving Directions:
You need to go to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park entrance and turn right to the Crater Rim Drive. Again turn left to Chain of Craters Road and after 3.5 miles, you will reach the Mauna Ulu parking lot.
Hiking In Paradise
Weather Report for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
Mostly clear. Haze. Lows 53 to 70. West winds up to 10 mph.
Temperature: 59.7° F
Relative Humidity: 100%
Pressure: 29.98"
Dew Point: 59.7° F

Winds from the North at -9999.0 mph gusting to -999.0 mph


Sunrise: 6:45 AM
Sunset: 5:44 PM
Weather reported from orchard 1, Ainaloa, HI (KHIAINAL2)
Mostly sunny. Haze through the day. A 20 percent chance of showers in the afternoon. Highs 65 to 84. South winds up to 10 mph.
Tuesday Night
Mostly clear with isolated showers. Lows 46 to 68. Light winds. Chance of rain 20 percent.
Sunny with isolated showers in the morning, then mostly cloudy with scattered showers in the afternoon. Haze through the day. Highs 63 to 82. Light winds becoming south up to 10 mph with gusts to 30 mph in the afternoon. Chance of rain 50 percent.
Wednesday Night
Mostly cloudy in the evening then becoming partly cloudy. Isolated showers. Haze. Lows 46 to 68. Light winds becoming northeast up to 10 mph after midnight. Gusts up to 35 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent.
Weather information provided by Weather Underground. Current as of 12/12/2017 0:09 AM
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