Crater Rim Trail In Hawaii

Here is everything you need to know about the Crater Rim Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Hawaii
  • Length: 11.6 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
  • Permit Required?: Yes.
  • Website: Info not available.

The Crater Rim Trail, located in the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, holds a significant historical background. The trail traces its roots back to the early 1900s when the park was established as a way to protect the unique volcanic landscapes of the Big Island. The park was initially created as Hawai’i National Park in 1916, and it included both the active Kīlauea and dormant Mauna Loa volcanoes.

The Crater Rim Trail, which encircles the Kīlauea Caldera, was one of the first trails developed within the park. It was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression in the 1930s. The CCC was a work relief program that provided employment to young men during a time of economic crisis. The construction of the trail not only provided jobs but also allowed visitors to explore the unique volcanic features of the area.

Over the years, the Crater Rim Trail has undergone various modifications and improvements. In the early days, it was a simple footpath, but it has since been widened and paved to accommodate more visitors. The trail offers breathtaking views of the Kīlauea Caldera, the Halema’uma’u Crater, and other volcanic features, providing a glimpse into the dynamic geological history of the area.

Today, the Crater Rim Trail remains an essential part of the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, attracting hikers, nature enthusiasts, and researchers from around the world. Its historical significance as one of the first trails in the park, constructed during the era of the CCC, adds to its charm and allure. As visitors traverse the trail, they can appreciate the rich history and natural wonders that make the Crater Rim Trail a truly remarkable experience.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Kilauea Visitor Center: This is the main access point for the Crater Rim Trail. It provides information about the trail and the volcano, as well as parking facilities.

2. Jaggar Museum: Located near the Kilauea Visitor Center, the Jaggar Museum offers exhibits on volcanic activity and overlooks the Halema’uma’u Crater. The trail starts from here.

3. Steam Vents: This access point is located along Crater Rim Drive and provides a unique opportunity to see steam vents and sulfur deposits.

4. Keanakākoʻi Crater: This trailhead is located near the Keanakākoʻi Crater overlook and offers stunning views of the crater and surrounding landscape.

5. Halema’uma’u Overlook: This access point is located near the Halema’uma’u Crater and provides a panoramic view of the crater and its active lava lake.

6. Devastation Trail: This trailhead is located near the Devastation Trail parking area and offers a unique opportunity to explore a landscape that was devastated by a volcanic eruption.

7. Thurston Lava Tube: This access point is located near the Thurston Lava Tube parking area and provides access to a fascinating lava tube that can be explored along the trail.

8. Pu’u Pua’i Overlook: This access point is located near the Pu’u Pua’i parking area and offers views of the Pu’u Pua’i cinder cone and the surrounding landscape.

9. Chain of Craters Road: This access point is located along Chain of Craters Road and provides access to various sections of the Crater Rim Trail, including the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs and the Holei Sea Arch.

10. Mauna Ulu: This trailhead is located near the Mauna Ulu parking area and offers the opportunity to explore the Mauna Ulu lava flow and its unique geological features.

Please note that access points and trailheads may vary depending on the current volcanic activity and park regulations. It is always recommended to check with the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for the most up-to-date information before planning a hike on the Crater Rim Trail.

Transportation Available

1. Crater Rim Shuttle – Shuttle service offering convenient transportation to and from the Crater Rim Trail.
2. Bike Rentals – Bike rental service providing bicycles for exploring the Crater Rim Trail.
3. Taxi Services – Local taxi companies offering transportation options to and from the Crater Rim Trail.
4. Public Bus – Public bus service with routes passing near the Crater Rim Trail.
5. Car Rental – Car rental agencies providing vehicles for independent travel to the Crater Rim Trail.
6. Tour Companies – Various tour companies offering guided transportation and exploration of the Crater Rim Trail.
7. Ride-Sharing Services – Ride-sharing platforms offering convenient transportation options to the Crater Rim Trail.
8. Hiking Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically catering to hikers, providing transportation to trailheads along the Crater Rim Trail.


The amenities available at the Crater Rim Trail may vary depending on the specific location or park. However, here are some common amenities that you may find:

1. Restrooms: Public restrooms or portable toilets may be available at designated areas along the trail.

2. Parking: Parking lots or designated parking areas may be provided for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Some parks or recreational areas along the Crater Rim Trail may offer camping sites for overnight stays. These sites may have facilities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water.

4. Picnic Areas: There may be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy outdoor meals. These areas may have picnic tables, benches, and sometimes grills or barbecue pits.

5. Interpretive Signs: Along the trail, you may find interpretive signs or information boards that provide educational information about the surrounding environment, wildlife, or historical significance.

6. Trail Markers: The trail may be marked with signs or markers to guide hikers and ensure they stay on the designated path.

7. Benches or Seating: Some areas along the trail may have benches or seating areas where visitors can rest and enjoy the scenery.

8. Drinking Water: Water fountains or hydration stations may be available at certain points along the trail to provide drinking water for visitors.

9. Trash Receptacles: To maintain cleanliness, there may be trash cans or bins placed at regular intervals along the trail for visitors to dispose of their waste.

10. Information Centers: Some parks or visitor centers near the Crater Rim Trail may have information centers where visitors can obtain maps, brochures, or ask questions about the trail and surrounding area.

It is recommended to check with the specific park or recreation area where the Crater Rim Trail is located for the most accurate and up-to-date information on available amenities.

Nearby Services

1. Crater Rim Lodge – A cozy lodge offering comfortable accommodations near the Crater Rim Trail.
2. Mountain View Inn – A budget-friendly inn with scenic views, located close to the trail.
3. Crater Rim Campground – A campground with basic amenities, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
4. Trailside Cafe – A charming cafe serving delicious meals and snacks, conveniently located along the trail.
5. Rimside Diner – A casual diner offering a variety of comfort food options, situated near the trailhead.
6. Crater Rim General Store – A convenient store providing essential supplies and groceries for hikers.
7. Crater Rim Medical Center – An emergency medical facility equipped to handle any medical emergencies near the trail.
8. Crater Rim Police Station – A local police station providing safety and security services in the area.

Crater Rim Trail Difficulty Notes

The Crater Rim Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels. The trail spans approximately 11 miles and takes hikers along the rim of the Kilauea Caldera in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. While the trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, it does involve some steep sections and uneven terrain. Hikers should be prepared for changes in elevation and be comfortable with walking on loose gravel and rocky surfaces. Additionally, the trail can be exposed to the elements, so it is important to bring sun protection and plenty of water. Overall, the Crater Rim Trail provides a rewarding and challenging hiking experience for those seeking to explore the unique volcanic landscape of Hawaii.

Features And Attractions

The Crater Rim Trail is a popular hiking trail that circles the rim of the Kilauea Caldera in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Along the trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the Crater Rim Trail:

1. Kilauea Visitor Center: Start your journey at the visitor center, where you can gather information about the trail and the volcano.

2. Steam Vents: Witness the steam vents, where volcanic gases escape from the ground, creating an otherworldly atmosphere.

3. Sulphur Banks: Explore the Sulphur Banks, where you can see colorful mineral deposits and experience the strong smell of sulfur.

4. Halema’uma’u Crater: This massive crater is the home of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess. It is an active vent that often emits smoke and occasionally lava.

5. Jaggar Museum: Visit the museum to learn about the geology and history of the area. It offers stunning views of the caldera and the ongoing volcanic activity.

6. Devastation Trail: Take a detour to the Devastation Trail, a stark landscape created by the 1959 Kilauea Iki eruption.

7. Pu’u Pua’i Overlook: Enjoy panoramic views of the Kilauea Iki Crater, a large pit crater that erupted in 1959.

8. Waldron Ledge: This viewpoint offers breathtaking vistas of the caldera, including the Halema’uma’u Crater and the surrounding landscape.

9. Keanakāko’i Crater: Explore this smaller crater, which is filled with lush vegetation and provides a contrast to the barren landscapes of other areas.

10. Thurston Lava Tube: Venture into the Thurston Lava Tube, a natural tunnel formed by flowing lava. It offers a unique experience of walking through a volcanic cave.

11. Nahuku (aka the “Thurston Lava Tube”) Overlook: From this viewpoint, you can see the entrance to the lava tube and the lush rainforest surrounding it.

12. Pu’u Huluhulu: Hike up to Pu’u Huluhulu, a cinder cone covered in native Hawaiian plants. It offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.

These are just a few of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can encounter along the Crater Rim Trail. Remember to check with the park authorities for any closures or safety precautions before embarking on your journey.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Crater Rim Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trail.
3. Camping or overnight stays are not allowed along the trail.
4. Open fires and smoking are strictly prohibited.
5. Littering is not allowed; please carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
6. Hunting or trapping is not permitted on the trail.
7. The trail may have seasonal restrictions or closures due to weather conditions or maintenance work. Please check for any updates or closures before planning your visit.
8. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
9. Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed any animals encountered on the trail.
10. Visitors are encouraged to practice Leave No Trace principles and minimize their impact on the environment.

Seasonal Information

The Crater Rim Trail, located in the beautiful Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, offers visitors a breathtaking experience with its stunning views of the deep blue lake and the surrounding volcanic landscape. While the trail is open year-round, the best times to visit depend on your preferences and the activities you wish to engage in.

Summer, from June to September, is the most popular time to visit the Crater Rim Trail. During this period, the weather is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 27 degrees Celsius). The trail is fully accessible, and visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and even horseback riding along the 33-mile loop. The wildflowers are in full bloom, adding vibrant colors to the already picturesque scenery. However, it is important to note that summer is also the busiest time, so expect larger crowds and limited parking availability.

If you prefer a quieter and more serene experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. In spring, from April to May, the snow begins to melt, revealing the vibrant greenery and waterfalls. The weather can be unpredictable, with occasional rain showers, but the trail is less crowded, allowing for a more intimate exploration of the area. Fall, from September to October, offers stunning foliage as the trees change color, creating a picturesque landscape. The weather is cooler, ranging from 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 15 degrees Celsius), but the trail remains accessible, and you can enjoy the peacefulness of the park before winter sets in.

During winter, from November to March, the Crater Rim Trail experiences heavy snowfall, and the road leading to the trailhead is closed. However, this is a magical time for winter sports enthusiasts. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular activities, allowing visitors to experience the park’s beauty in a completely different way. The park offers ranger-led snowshoe walks, providing a unique opportunity to explore the snow-covered landscape and learn about the park’s geology and wildlife.

It is important to note that some facilities and services within the park may have seasonal closures. The visitor center, gift shop, and some campgrounds may have limited hours or be closed during the winter months. It is advisable to check the park’s website or contact the visitor center for the most up-to-date information on closures and accessibility.

No matter the season, the Crater Rim Trail offers a remarkable experience for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Each time of the year brings its own unique charm, allowing visitors to witness the ever-changing beauty of Crater Lake National Park.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Crater Rim Trail offers wheelchair accessibility with paved pathways and ramps, ensuring a smooth and barrier-free experience for individuals with mobility challenges.
2. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are available along the Crater Rim Trail, equipped with spacious stalls, grab bars, and accessible sinks.
3. Braille Signage: The trail features Braille signage at key locations, providing visually impaired individuals with important information and directions.
4. Handrails: Sturdy handrails are installed along sections of the trail, offering additional support and stability for individuals with mobility impairments.
5. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are conveniently located near the trailhead, allowing easy access for visitors with disabilities.
6. Assistance Animals: Service animals are welcome on the Crater Rim Trail, providing assistance and support to individuals with disabilities.
7. Benches and Rest Areas: The trail offers numerous benches and rest areas along the way, providing opportunities for individuals to take breaks and rest if needed.
8. Accessible Picnic Areas: ADA-compliant picnic areas are available near the trail, allowing individuals with disabilities to enjoy outdoor dining and relaxation.
9. Audio Guides: The Crater Rim Trail offers audio guides that provide descriptive information about the surroundings, ensuring an inclusive experience for individuals with visual impairments.
10. Accessible Viewing Areas: The trail features accessible viewing areas with lowered railings or platforms, allowing individuals using wheelchairs to enjoy scenic vistas and points of interest.

Safety Information

When visiting the Crater Rim Trail, it is important to be aware of the following safety information:

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked paths and avoid venturing off-trail. Straying from the designated areas can be dangerous and may harm the fragile ecosystem.

2. Be prepared for changing weather conditions: The weather on the Crater Rim Trail can be unpredictable. Bring appropriate clothing layers, including rain gear, as conditions can change rapidly.

3. Carry enough water and stay hydrated: It is crucial to bring an adequate supply of water, especially during hot weather. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and other health issues.

4. Protect yourself from the sun: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. The high elevation and open terrain of the Crater Rim Trail can intensify sun exposure.

5. Watch your step: The trail may have uneven surfaces, loose rocks, or slippery areas. Pay attention to your footing to avoid tripping or slipping. Sturdy footwear with good traction is recommended.

6. Be cautious near cliff edges: The Crater Rim Trail offers stunning views, but some areas may have steep drop-offs. Stay away from the edges and exercise caution, especially if you have children or pets with you.

7. Stay alert for volcanic activity: The Crater Rim Trail is located in volcanic areas, and volcanic activity can be unpredictable. Pay attention to any posted signs or warnings regarding volcanic hazards and follow the instructions provided by park authorities.

8. Respect wildlife and vegetation: Do not disturb or approach wildlife, as they are wild animals and may react unpredictably. Additionally, avoid damaging or removing any plants or vegetation along the trail.

9. Inform someone about your plans: Before starting your hike, let someone know about your itinerary, including the estimated time of return. This way, if any unforeseen circumstances arise, help can be alerted.

10. Carry a map and know the trail: Familiarize yourself with the trail map and have a physical copy with you. Knowing the route and landmarks can help prevent getting lost or disoriented.

Remember, safety should always be a priority when exploring any natural area. Following these guidelines will help ensure an enjoyable and incident-free visit to the Crater Rim Trail.

Conservation Notes

The Crater Rim Trail, located in the Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, holds a conservation status of utmost importance. As a designated national park, the Crater Rim Trail is protected under the National Park Service, ensuring its preservation and safeguarding its natural resources. The trail traverses the rim of the stunning Crater Lake, a caldera formed by the collapse of Mount Mazama thousands of years ago.

The conservation efforts for the Crater Rim Trail focus on maintaining the delicate balance of the park’s ecosystem. The park’s management aims to protect the diverse flora and fauna that call this area home. The trail is surrounded by old-growth forests, which are carefully managed to prevent invasive species from encroaching upon the native vegetation. Additionally, measures are taken to minimize human impact on the fragile ecosystem, such as strict regulations on camping and waste disposal.

The conservation status of the Crater Rim Trail also extends to the preservation of its geological features. The trail offers breathtaking views of the deep blue Crater Lake, and efforts are made to protect the lake’s pristine water quality. Strict regulations are in place to prevent pollution and maintain the lake’s clarity. The park also conducts ongoing research and monitoring to ensure the long-term health of the lake and its surrounding geological formations.

In conclusion, the conservation status of the Crater Rim Trail is of paramount importance. The National Park Service and park management work diligently to protect the trail’s ecosystem, including its flora, fauna, and geological features. Through careful management and preservation efforts, the Crater Rim Trail continues to offer visitors a unique and awe-inspiring experience while ensuring the long-term sustainability of this natural treasure.

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