Best of Hawaii
Best Hiking and Camping in Hawaii
Diamond Head Crater, Oahu. This is a moderate, but steep, walk to the summit of the 750-foot volcanic cone, Hawaii's most famous landmark. A climb to the top rewards you with a 360-degree view of the island. The 1.4-mile round-trip takes about 1½ hours.
Devastation Trail, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island. Up on the rim of Kilauea Iki Crater, you can see what an erupting volcano did to a once-flourishing ohia forest. The scorched earth with its ghostly tree skeletons stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the lush forest. Everyone can take this half-mile hike on a paved path across the eerie bed of black cinders.
Haleakala National Park, Maui. Hiking into Maui's dormant volcano is really the best way to see it. The terrain inside the wilderness area of the volcano, which ranges from burnt-red cinder cones to ebony-black lava flows, is simply spectacular. The best route takes in two trails: head into the crater along Sliding Sands Trail, which begins on the rim at 9,800 feet and descends into the belly of the beast, to the valley floor at 6,600 feet, and back out along Halemauu Trail. Hardy hikers can consider making the 11-mile one-way descent, which takes 9 hours, and the equally long return ascent in 1 day. The rest of us will need to extend this steep but wonderful hike to 2 days.
Halawa Valley, Molokai. Of the five great valleys of Molokai, only Halawa, with its two waterfalls, golden beach, sleepy lagoon, great surf, and offshore island, is easily accessible. A light hike will take you from the ocean to the foot of a waterfall.
Munro Trail, Lanai. This tough, 11-mile roundtrip, uphill climb through the groves of Norfolk Island pines is a lung-buster, but if you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Molokai, Maui, Kahoolawe, the peaks of the Big Island, and -- on a really clear day -- Oahu in the distance. Figure on 7 hours of hiking. The trail follows Lanai's ancient caldera rim, ending up at the island's highest point, Lanaihale.
Waimea Canyon Trail, Kauai. You want to hike Hawaii's Grand Canyon, but you don't think you have time? Take the Canyon Trail to the east rim for a breathtaking view into the 3,000-foot- deep canyon. The 3.5-mile round-trip takes 2 to 3 hours and leads to Waipoo Falls and back.