Hidden Craters Hike in Kailua-Kona, HI

Hawaii Forest & Trail73-5593 Olowalu StreetKailua-Kona, HI 96740
View on Map
Starting at
$179.00 $166.00
You Save: $13.00


Get ready for an excursion unlike any other on the Hidden Craters Hike through Kona. Your tour brings you behind 3 locked gates to discover Hualalai, Kona’s infamous volcano. Throughout your tour, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the island’s volcanic eruptions in the 1800s, climb through a segment of a lava tube, and embark on a 3-4 mile hike you’ll never forget.

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Kailua-Kona Travel Experts
  • Total hike length: approximately 3-4 miles.
  • Tour duration: approximately 6-7 hours long.
  • Walking sticks, warm wear, day packs, and rain ponchos are provided.
  • Deli-style lunch with assorted soft drinks, juices and bottled water is included.
  • Tours depart from Hawaii Forest & Trail Headquarters.


from Hidden Craters Hike
Experience a peak to pint adventure on a rocky hike up the cool and misty lava-scaped slopes of Kona's own Hualalai Volcano. Enjoy exclusive access to this stunning mountain, which offers a bird's eye view of Kona's lava history. Your guide will take you off-road, through multiple locked gates and then by foot at a 6,500-foot elevation, where you will experience the surreal scene of black lava flows and native dryland forest.

You will see firsthand the geologic forces which created the islands at the heart of Hualalai’s 1801 eruption, the Kaupulehu Crater. Travel to magnificent coastal viewpoints and stunning lava formations, walk amidst a forest of native birdsong and scramble through a "lava tube".

After an afternoon of hiking the slopes, you will get a much deserved refreshing reward at Kona's newest brewery, Ola Brew, where you can enjoy a local brewery tour and tasting of several local beers.

Highlights include:
• Exclusive private access onto Hualalai volcano and into a native forest.
• Take pleasure in a 3-4 mile hike through untouched cloud forest with incredible vistas of the Kona coast.
• Stand on the edge of precipitous volcanic craters that plunge deep into the earth below.
• Climb through a segment of a lava tube.
• After your hike, tour Kona’s newest brewery and enjoy a sampling of locally made beers, ciders, and/or non-alcoholic energy drinks.

Schedule: Departing select days from our Hawaii Forest & Trail Headquarters, Queen's Marketplace, and select resorts

Rated: Moderate; hiking on uneven terrain of up to 3 miles

Included in the Tour: Lunch and beverages, water, daypacks, walking staffs, raingear, warm wear, brewery tour, and beer & cider samples*. (*Must be 21 yrs & older to sample beer & ciders; non-alcoholic samples available for underage guests)

Group Size: Tour limited to 12 people

Restrictions: Guests should be able to hike on uneven or rocky terrain. We sometimes encounter cool and wet conditions. Other tour restrictions may apply.

What to Bring & Wear: Comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and a light sweatshirt or jacket.

Tripster Customer Reviews

Have you been to Hidden Craters Hike? Share your knowledge and be the first to review this.
TripAdvisor Reviews
TripAdvisor user image
Katarzyna N
"Mauna Kea summit, AKA Brooklyn girl sees stars!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 21, 2020 NEW
My husband & I were in Hawaii for 2 weeks on vacation. We did Summit & Stars on our last night - we were very lucky that the weather cleared before we had to fly home & that the road to Mauna Kea had recently re-opened after being closed for some months due to protests...Google it.) We had attended the Birding trip with Hawaii Forest & Trail the previous week & so already knew they are great! We could have driven up ourselves as our Jeep had 4WD, but we didn't want to risk getting stranded if we got altitude sickness...and we don't have our own telescope!  Our tour guide (Jeff) was very knowledgeable & passionate about the island of Hawaii, its volcanoes, and the stars. My husband loves space, so I knew he'd love this. To my surprised I LOVED it! I hail from Brooklyn where I've lived most of my life, I had never seen this many stars!!! You feel like you're on another planet. We drove up to the top of Mauna Kea to watch the sunset, then came down a little ways off the summit to see the stars through Jeff's telescope. We learned about the constellations & individual stars that were used for wayfinding, their Greek names & Polynesian names both. Hot chocolate and brownies were served at this point - DELICIOUS! There was snow at the summit! HF&T provides parkas & mittens, but you will definitely want long pants, warm socks, and closed-toe shoes. I wore leggings, & sweatpants that I picked up at Target in Kailua. The only suggestions for future improvements would be: -Set ground rules for the group in the beginning (for ex we had some issues with non-English speakers talking loudly to each other while Jeff was presenting the star show, which interfered with our enjoyment). -Let folks know what to expect hour in terms of schedule/bathroom breaks (the tour is 8 hours) -Make the dinner something simpler - the breakfast and lunch served on the Birding tour were AMAZING (and from what I understand prepared in-house at HF&T, but the dinner was catered by Lava Java). It reminded me of airplane food - traditional dinner food simply does not travel well! -At the summit, a "local" in an SUV complained that we were blocking his view of the sunset, and got a bit threatening with our guide. Jeff handled it as best he could, asking everyone at the summit (not just our group) to stay away from this individual's car; he didn't want any trouble. But I really could not believe that a local person would be so hostile, on an island known for the spirit of Aloha
Read More
TripAdvisor user image
Tampa, Florida
"Great tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 21, 2020 NEW
Had an amazing time. Definitely recommend them for anyone looking for a great tour and guide. Rob was awesome
Read More
TripAdvisor user image
Las Vegas, Nevada
"Nervous and excited!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 20, 2020 NEW
Mike was an excellent guide. He gave very helpful tips throughout the hike. He never made me feel badly or unable to complete the hike, even though I am a very inexperienced hiker. Beautiful waterfalls!!!
Read More
TripAdvisor user image
"Volcanos Unveiled Tour was amazing!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 19, 2020 NEW
Despite the questionable weather, our tour guide Justin made this a memorable day. We learned a lot about the history of the island and the role the volcanos have played over the centuries. It’s hard not to be impressed with the sights, sounds and smells of Volcano National Park! The real adventure started however when we stopped on the way back at a private lava tube that was used by the previous owner for “raves”. It was a very unique opportunity to see it and something you don’t want to miss. Kudos to Justin for the great job he did keeping us both informed and amused!
Read More
TripAdvisor user image
"Justin is great"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 18, 2020 NEW
Justin made our tour up Mauna Kea the highlight of our vacation on the Big Island. He gave everyone individual attention and didn't make me listen to Journey. The van was spacious and comfortable. The meal was good and Justin shared knowledge of the mountains and animals along the way. He truly made the tour worth every penny rather than driving ourselves up the mountain. A great telescope too.
Read More

Frequently Asked Questions about Hidden Craters Hike

How much hiking do we do? 
Tours stop a couple of times throughout the adventure for short hikes of less than ½ mile. The total hiking distance is approximately 3 to 4 miles long.

Is there elevation gain? 
The tour ranges from sea level to 6,000 feet. We will meander on a single track trail through native forest with a mild elevation change of approximately 30 feet. While exploring the lava tube, expect to descend and ascend approximately 30 - 40 feet.

How many different types of volcanic features will I see? 
Along the tour, we’ll see 200-year-old lava flow, spatter cones, fissures and collapse pits.

Do we need any special type of equipment to explore the lava tube? 
The lava tube we visit is perfect for the casual adventurer. We’ll descend via earthen steps with a rope to assist and there’s enough ambient light to see all of the major features inside the cave.

Is Hualalai Volcano active? 
Technically speaking, yes. Hualalai’s last eruption ended in 1801 so it is considered active. However, magma is not close to the surface so we won't see any geothermal activity.

How long is the tour?
The tour is approximately 6 to 7 hours long in total.

Is food included?
Yes. In addition to enjoying a sampling of locally made beers, ciders and/or nonalcoholic energy drinks at Kona’s newest brewery, a deli-style lunch is also included.

What should I bring?
Guests should bring comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and a light sweatshirt or jacket.

Where do tours begin?
Tours meet and begin at Hawaii Forest & Trail Headquarters.