The Kilauea Volcano And Volcanoes National Park, Big Island

My oh my, what a beautiful place to explore at anytime of the year.   Lot’s of hikes and walks for all ages.

The Kīlauea volcano is the most active volcano in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is seen by millions of tourists each year. This makes it the most visited attraction in Hawaii and the most visited volcano in the world.  Check out this video from the National Park Service.

Things to do.

  1. Kilauea visitor center
  2. Jaggar museum + Halema’uma’u crater overlook
  3. Kilauea’iki crater
  4. Thurston lava tube
  5. Chain of Craters road
  6. Day hikes in the park.
  7. Volcano art center


One of my favorite day hikes was experiencing a lava landscape from the 1969-1974 called the Mauna Ulu flow.  You walk by lava tree molds and climb 210 feet (64m) to the top of a forested cinder cone, Pu‘u Huluhulu (hairy hill).  Your view of Mauna Ulu’s steaming sheild, which is similar to the now active Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō cone in the distance and on a clear day you can see Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and the Pacific Ocean.

Pāhoehoe and ‘a‘ā lava, kīpuka (old land surrounded by new land), lava tree molds, cinder cones, lava rampart, native pioneer plants and trees and panoramic vista.

  • Difficulty: Moderate – Most of the route is easy, but includes a 1/4 mile steep climb up Pu‘u Huluhulu cone.
  • Distance and hiking time: 2.5 miles (4.0km) roundtrip, Approximately 2.0 – 3.0 hours.
  • Distance from Visitor Center to trailhead: 7 miles (11.3km) to Mauna Ulu parking area.
  • Trail Begins: Approximately 100 yards (91.4m) from the Mauna Ulu parking area. Ahu (stacked rocks) mark the trail across the lava flows. Please do not disturb them or build new ones. Stay on the trail.

This is a must see if coming to the Big Island.

Northern Kohala, Big Island

Spend a few hours browsing the peaceful haven of Hawi, North Kohala’s quaint little town, best known as the bicycle turnaround for the annual IRONMAN™ World Championship held every October. This historic town, set in the green northern tip of the island, was once the busy hub of North Kohala’s now defunct sugar industry.

Beyond Hawi is the town of Kapaau, home of the original King Kamehameha I Statue. Continue driving east on Highway 270 and you’ll literally come to the end of the road at the stunning Pololu Valley Overlook. The incredible view overlooking the northeastern coastline will be the perfect way to end your journey through North Kohala.

Travel along Kohala Mountain Road (HI-250) for a Scenic Drive and enjoy the sights and Landmarks.  You’ll find that the Big Island has a variety of climate zones and this area has a different feel from other parts of the island and is one of the most scenic drives.


You’ll drive by Kahua Ranch and enjoy the breathtaking views & vistas to make it a perfect spot to enjoy horseback riding and views looking toward Kona.

As you make your way toward Waimea, you’ll pass Parker Ranch which is a working cattle ranch now run by a charitable trust.

The ranch was founded in 1847 and is one of the oldest ranches in the United States, pre-dating many mainland ranches in Texas and other southwestern states by more than 30 years. Spread across approximately 250,000 acres (100,000 ha) of the island, Parker Ranch is among the nation’s largest cattle ranches.

A cowboy on the ranch is called a paniolo (Hawaiian language pronunciation of Spanish: Español), since the first cowboys were Spanish-speaking and came from California. The Hawaiian language does not have the “s” sound.

During World War II, part of the ranch was used as a United States Marine Corps training base called Camp Tarawa. The Second and Fifth Marine Divisions conducted training maneuvers there in preparation for the assault of Iwo Jima.

The founder of the ranch was John Palmer Parker who assisted Kamehameha I in ridding the island of feral bulls and was granted land on which he established the ranch. From 1899 to 1937 it was managed by Alfred Wellington Carter (1867–1949). The last owner of the ranch, the actor Richard Smart, died in 1992, after which the Ranch was governed by the Parker Ranch Foundation Trust.

Pololu Valley, Big Island

From the lookout, you can admire the spectacular coastline toward the east, but you must hike down to see Pololu Valley. The steep trail is doable for most, thanks to switchbacks and its 0.75-mile distance.

At the valley’s mouth lies a rugged black-sand beach. The surf is rough, and swimming is a terrible idea, even if you see local surfers testing the waves.

Deeper valley explorations are blocked by a pond, beyond which cattle roam (so don’t drink the water). Avoid trekking down after rainfall, because the mud-slicked rocks will be precarious. Makeshift walking sticks are often left at the trailhead.

Captain Cook Monument, Big Island

On January 17, 1779, Captain James Cook (the British explorer who discovered the Hawaiian Islands in 1778) and his crew sailed into Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Hawaiians, thinking they were returning gods, gave them a warm welcome and held a feast in their honor. However, a month later he was killed in a conflict between his crew and the Hawaiians. The natives had realized that Cook and his men were mere mortals. In 1878, a 27-foot white obelisk was erected to honor this well-known seafarer.

The Captain Cook Monument (see more photos, view panorama) is a major landmark on the Kona Coast. Rising up against the sky, the tall white spire strikes a beautiful contrast against its natural surroundings – the rugged ground, the high cliffs and the lush surrounding vegetation. A plaque rests on the base of the structure, telling the story of his arrival and death in Hawaii.20180207_094328262_iOS

The plaque reads the following: “In memory of the great circumnavigator, Captain James Cook, R. N., who discovered these islands on the 10th of January, A.D. 1770, and fell near this spot on the 14th of February, A.D. 1779. This monument was erected in November A.D. 1874 by some of his fellow countrymen.”

The monument can only be reached by hiking to it or by kayaking to Kealakekua Bay or by taking a boat tour. The boat tour is the easiest of these three options because you don’t have to paddle yourself and don’t have to worry about ocean currents and high surf. Open ocean kayaking can be tricky if there are waves and you’re inexperienced. Kayaks can easily flip over if you don’t know what you’re doing, so if you decide to kayak here, it is best to join a kayak tour group with an experienced guide.

If you plan to kayak here on your own, the best time is early in the morning because this is when the ocean is usually calmer. Later in the day the water is often times choppier, so your way back may not be as smooth. Once you reach the monument, it is important to beach the kayak to the left of the monument because there are fewer sea urchins and coral here compared to the right side of it.

Getting into and out of the water can be difficult since there is a strong surge. Many people end up slipping on the rocks, stepping on sea urchins and sharp coral and cutting their feet and legs. You may want to bring reef shoes to avoid injuries.

If you decide to take a boat tour here, it is easier to get into the water to snorkel because that way, you can just climb off the boat in deeper waters and avoid stepping onto the rocky ocean bottom.

The third option to get to the monument is by hiking here. However, the trail is uneven, steep, rock-strewn and may feel long, especially if you’re not an avid hiker or on a hot day. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen and wear a hat and sturdy shoes. The hike takes about 2-4 hours round-trip (4.25 miles – 6.8 km)

Content courtesy of

Santiago Peak

Santiago Peak is the southern mountain of Orange County’s Saddleback formation. It is the highest and most prominent peak of both the Santa Ana Mountains and Orange County, and also marks a border point with Riverside County. The top of it is covered with many microwave and telecommunication antennas. It is named for Santiago Creek, which begins on its southwestern flank.

The Trail to Holy Jim Falls

More than one trail leads to the top of Santiago Peak, but the most popular among hikers is the Holy Jim trail. The Holy Jim trail gains about 4,000 feet (1,200 m) in elevation and is a 16-mile (26 km) round trip. It is a moderate to strenuous hike and is most enjoyable during spring and winter due to the large number of insects during warmer times of the year.

From the summit of Santiago Peak, one can see the larger Southern California peaks like San Gorgonio Mountain, San Jacinto Peak, and Mount San Antonio. However, due to the large number of antennas at the top of Santiago Peak, a full 360-degree view of the surrounding landscapes is not possible. Those at the top must walk approximately a quarter-mile around the perimeter of all the antennas to take in views of every direction.


Radio communication facilities

Santiago Peak is a radio site with buildings owned by American Tower, Crown Castle, MobileRelay Associates, Day Wireless, Orange County Communications, the United States Federal Government, the State of California, and Southern California Edison, among others.

Santiago Peak provides radio coverage over much of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego counties. It houses both broadcast and two-way communications facilities on virtually every frequency band, including FM broadcast, VHF low- and high-band, UHF, 800/900 MHz, and microwave.


  1. “RP 1”NGS data sheetU.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
  2. “Santiago Peak, California”. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
  3.  Geographic Names Information SystemUnited States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-09-12.

External links

Six-Pack of Peaks

Hiking is just fantastic and it is all around us from every corner of the earth.  Not only are you getting fit and exercising, you’re also outdoors, in nature, and getting to experience the best thing ever – the environment.

If you’re a hiker in Southern California, you’re most probably familiar with the Six Pack of Peaks Challenge.



Mt. Wilson
Elevation: 5,710 ft
Vertical Gain: 4,200
Distance: 14 miles




Cucamonga Peak
Elevation: 8,859 ft
Vertical Gain: 4,300
Distance: 12 miles




Mt. San Antonio (aka Mt. Baldy)
Elevation: 10,068 ft
Vertical Gain: 3,900
Distance: 10 miles






San Bernardino Peak Trail


San Bernardino Peak
Elevation: 10,649 ft
Vertical Gain: 4,702 ft
Distance: 17 miles





Mt. San Jacinto
Elevation: 10, 834 ft
Vertical Gain: 4,689 ft
Distance: 12 miles





San Gorgonio Peak
Elevation: 11, 503 ft
Vertical Gain: 5,840
Distance: 18 miles



Six-Pack-of-Peaks-SoCal-2018Join the 2018 SoCal Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge™

The 4th Annual SoCal Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge™ brings people together around an epic goal: hike six big SoCal mountains, have fun, and do some good along the way!

The Outdoors

Welcome to our blog where I’ll share my experiences with you on different trips and adventures that my friends and I have taken.   We welcome all feedback and hope you enjoy.


There’s no better way to get up close and experience Yosemite and the Sierra wilderness than by setting out on foot and hiking. Because when you slow down and commune with nature, you see things you might otherwise miss. Things like waterfalls, wildflowers and wildlife that you can find at any turn when hiking in Yosemite.

Wherever you start, chances are you’re close to a number of great Yosemite hikes. From Half Dome hikes to Yosemite hikes to lakes and more, there are so many trails in Yosemite National Park, and so many excellent guide books and maps describing them that you’ll never be at a loss for a great Yosemite hike. Of course, being prepared is key, whatever time of year you venture into the wild of Yosemite. Bring a good pair of walking shoes and pick up books or maps of Yosemite,  Sierra National Forest and Stanislaus National Forest at the Visitor Centers and stores in Yosemite Park and in Mariposa, Coulterville and other gateway towns. And don’t forget to book an unforgettable place to stay when the sun sets and it’s time to pack it up and refresh yourself for another day of hiking in Yosemite. Because nothing beats the comfort of a warm fire when the day’s finished.

With more than 800 miles of hiking trails in Yosemite National Park, you’ll find the right one for your family or group no matter where you begin. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

Yosemite Trail Maps

Looking for more details to plan out your Yosemite hikes? Check out our Yosemite Area Maps page for Yosemite trail maps and guides.