Hawai'i Volcanoes: Hilina Pali to Puna Coast

February 02, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

After spending a couple nights at the Kulanaokuaiki Campground sleeping under the glow of Halema'uma'u Crater, we woke up early to take in the sunrise. We shuttled our car to the Chain of Craters Road, where we would come out in a few days time, and headed to the Hilina Pali Trailhead. We planed to stay two nights at Halapē and one at 'Apua Point.

Halema'uma'uHalema'uma'u Camping at KulanaokuaikiCamping at Kulanaokuaiki Sunrise at Halema'uma'uSunrise at Halema'uma'u Enjoying the Sunrise at Halema'uma'uEnjoying the Sunrise at Halema'uma'u

The Hilina Pali Trail drops you down over 2,000' to the coast. The trail is over lava and through high brush until you reach the palm tree oasis of Halapē.

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The day we arrived all the shaded campsites were taken. Fortunately, the people staying in the best spot left early the following morning so we moved all our stuff, explored the area, then hung out in the shade. We also had our pick of swimming spots, there was a protected cove where you could snorkel and also a brackish pond that you could bathe in to rise off the salt.

Sunrise at HalapeSunrise at Halape Morning Coffee Views at HalapeMorning Coffee Views at Halape Halape TidepoolsHalape Tidepools Halape BeachHalape Beach Tiki at HalapeTiki at Halape Spinx Moth CaterpillarSpinx Moth Caterpillar Brackish Ponds at HalapeBrackish Ponds at Halape

Our camp had a private trail to the beach with a spectacular view to watch the sunset.

Sunset Stroll at HalapeSunset Stroll at Halape Sunset at Halape (2)Sunset at Halape (2) Halape Campspot (2)Halape Campspot (2)

The second morning we packed up and headed towards 'Apua Point. There wouldn't be any water the rest of the trip, so we loaded up as much as we could carry and set off early to beat the head of the day.

Sunrise from our Camp Spot HalepeSunrise from our Camp Spot Halepe Backpacking to KeahouBackpacking to Keahou Backpacking to Keahou (2)Backpacking to Keahou (2) Backpacker on the CCC wall to KeahouBackpacker on the CCC wall to Keahou Corrie at Apua PointCorrie at Apua Point Apua PointApua Point

Since we arrived so early, we hung our tent fly between some trees to make shade and took a nap in the breeze. If was a fairly windy day and the waves were picking up. We got a little afternoon shower, which cooled things off a bit. We hiked out to the ocean to watch the waves crash over the rocks as the sun set.

Follow the Lava Brick RoadFollow the Lava Brick Road Evening Light at Apua Point Tidal Flats PortraitEvening Light at Apua Point Tidal Flats Portrait Evening Light at Apua Point Tidal Flats (2)Evening Light at Apua Point Tidal Flats (2) Evening Light at Apua Point WavesEvening Light at Apua Point Waves Evening Light at Apua Point Waves (2)Evening Light at Apua Point Waves (2) Evening Light at Apua Point Waves (3)Evening Light at Apua Point Waves (3) Evening Light at Apua Point Tidal Flats (3)Evening Light at Apua Point Tidal Flats (3) Sunset at Apua PointSunset at Apua Point

The warm breeze and the full moon made it nice to walk around that evening too.

Apua Point CampspotApua Point Campspot

The last day of travel was mostly across pahoehoe and we were running low on water. We packed up at sunrise and headed for the car. The views along the coast we gorgeous, which included a couple sea arches and petroglyphs.

Sea Arch Sunrise Near Apua PointSea Arch Sunrise Near Apua Point Corrie on the Lava FieldsCorrie on the Lava Fields Petroglyphs Near Apua PointPetroglyphs Near Apua Point Petroglyphs Near Apua Point (2)Petroglyphs Near Apua Point (2)

Trip notes: We hiked just over 19 miles with just shy of 1,300' of elevation gain. Since this hike is in the park, it does require a permit. Also, most of the backcountry sites have water tanks that fill with rainwater. The winter isn't the rainy season and the rangers warned us there might not be any water to filter.

If you get the chance to stay at Halapē, make sure to bring a mask and snorkel. Seems like a weird thing to backpack with, but you'll be able to snorkel in the bay. Overall great trip, definitely recommend!

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