Kilauea crater volcano updates 45
Devastation trail Hawaii

Hike the Devastation trail at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a place of unparalleled natural beauty, shaped by the powerful forces of volcanic activity over countless millennia. One of the park’s most extraordinary and haunting features is the Devastation Trail, a vivid illustration of the destructive force of volcanic eruptions. This short and accessible trail winds through the aftermath of the 1959 Kilauea Iki eruption, where once-lush rainforest has given way to a barren and otherworldly landscape.

Join us on a journey through the Devastation Trail, and discover why it’s a must-see destination for anyone with an interest in nature or volcanoes.

Hiking details at the Devastation Trail

Difficulty – easy

Distance – 1-mile round trip

Elevation gain – 124 feet.

Why visit the Devastation trail at HVNP?

The Devastation trail at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is beautiful, varied in landscape and an easy hike to do in the national park. With easy parking in the park (parking is also used to do the viewing hike to see the volcano eruption at night time), the trail is a fascinating hike through rugged open terrain that turns into lush rain forests with fantastic peek a boo views of the main Caldera and even lava plumes and some of the visible lava eruption from a distance.

The trail is easy and mostly paved unless you take the left side hike through the crater rim area which is mostly gravel pathway.

Hike the Devastation trail at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hike the Devastation trail at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

How to get to the trailhead at the Devastation Trail

Enter the park entrance and gate and make the first left to Crater Rim Drive and it eventually ends at Chain of Craters Road. Follow the road until you see the sign for the Devastation Trail and parking lot.

Turn right into the parking lot area and park on the far end where the trail head is located.

Trailhead and hike

Trailhead and hike

Towards the North end of the main parking lot park and find the main trail head start to the hike. Follow the trail as it goes through the Devastation area of the 1959 eruption of Kilauea Iki. You’ll hike through mostly cinder pathways in the devastation trail for about ½ mile and continue on until you hit forested area and continue on for another half mile on the way to the Bryon Ledge Trail where you can hike a short distance and then it is closed off.

Hiking the Deastation trail at volcanoes national Park
Hiking the Devastation trail and lush forested landscape

Kilauea crater volcano updates 33
Hiking the Devastation trail and large native hapu’u or tree ferns

Here’s a little more about visiting the Devastation Trail

Views of the edge of Halema'uma'u Crater

Views of the edge of Halema’uma’u Crater

Along the hike through the forest area are views to the Halema’uma’u crater which is active and viewing is best during the even or early morning hours to see the lava, plumes and activity all around the crater.

Views of the edge of Halema'uma'u Crater

Weather and what to wear

The weather in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is always variable so dress in layers and even a raincoat for wet weather in the park area. Wear sturdy shoes if you are planning to do hikes and a flashlight or head gear if you plan on doing early morning or night viewing of the crater.

Details to visiting and hiking

Details to visiting and hiking

The parking lot is full in the evening hours with a steady line of cars coming in for the lava viewing. If you plan on doing the same come earlier than 4pm or choose a time frame during the day when visitors are not coming to the Devastation trail parking lot.

Park entrance fees still apply for visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Wear appropriate hiking shoes and layers for variable weather in the park

Check out these video highlights to the Devastation trail and Kilauea lava viewing

Here’s another cool trail to see the actual crater rim and eruption at Halema’u ma’u

Where to stay at Volcanoes National Park

Currently the park has limited locations to stay at the park with the main lodge closed but in the nearby Volcano Village are hotels, Inns and Bnb places to stay. Here are the best places to stay close to the park below.

Volcano Forest Inn – A spacious inn with comfortable rooms in a forest setting, quiet location and friendly service.

Aloha Junction BnB – Located in the village, this plantation era home has spacious and comfortable rooms and a good complimentary breakfast.

Kilauea Lodge and Restaurant – An iconic lodge located in the Village with unique old world charm and modern amenities and service. Romantic rooms, public areas and gardens and some cool hikes in the area.

Check out more of the top listings and reviews here on TripAdvisor for places to stay close to Volcanoes National Park.

Related posts to Visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Kilauea lava viewing at Volcanoes National Park

Visit to Volcano Village

Explore the Puna district in East Hawaii

A visit to Pahoa town in Puna

Have you been to Volcanoes National Park and the Devastation Trail?

Have you been to Volcanoes National Park and the Devastation Trail?

As you emerge from the end of the Devastation Trail, you’ll likely feel a mix of awe and reverence for the power of Mother Nature. This short and easy hike is a stark reminder of the raw, unstoppable forces that shape our planet, and a humbling testament to the resilience of life in the face of adversity. If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, make sure to add the Devastation Trail to your itinerary. You won’t regret it.

Please share your thoughts and other recommendations in the comments below with your recommendations.

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  1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - This Hawaii Life - […] out my post on hiking the Devastation trail here for more details and pictures of the […]
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  3. Hike to lava eruptions at Kilauea Crater at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - TravelRC - […] Check our blog post to visiting the East side of Hawaii Island below […]

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Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.