Mauna Ulu Virtual Hike

Venture through a landscape formed in a five-year eruption that re-created this land.

This trail tells the story of one of the longest known rift zone eruptions of Kīlauea. The well-marked trail crosses massive lava fields, skirts gaping fissures and takes you to spectacular features formed by rapidly cooling lava flows.

Mauna Ulu Trail Guide
Mauna Ulu Trail Guide

Download the Trail/Eruption Guide

You may purchase the published version of the Trail/Eruption Guide at the Kīlauea Visitor Center Bookstore and at The Jaggar Museum Bookstore for $2.00.

Also available for purchase on-line


Follow the trail stops on the map and read about each stop in the trail/eruption guide. Each stop has an interactive 360 degree panoramic view that you can experience by clicking the highlighted stop # below.

Note: Quicktime is required. It's a free download here:

Stop 1 Lava gushed from fissures and covered the land with layer upon layer of new lava
Stop 2 The earth opened up, and lava burst forth to herald the arrival of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano deity
Stop 3 The earth shuddered as lava fountains roared skywards. Smoldering cinders rained down and blanketed the land
Stop 4 The early eruptive episodes of Mauna Ulu offered unforgettable sights to awe-struck visitors
Stop 5 The forest just ahead survived the eruption on higher ground
Stop 6 Lava flowed up to the kīpuka like a bulldozer, pushing and churning a wall of clinkery ʻaʻā
Stop 7 "Pāhoehoe" is the Hawaiian word for lava rock that has a smooth, folded, or ropy surface
Stop 8 The hill to the right is a product of older volcanic activity, side-swiped by the Mauna Ulu flows
Stop 9 The same flow that spared the kīpuka at stop 5 inundated the forest that grew here
Stop 10 During the five-year eruption, Mauna Ulu grew to stand about 400 feet (121 m) tall
Stop 11 Pele flowed seven miles (12 km) to the sea, the realm of her alienated sister, Nāmakaokahaʻi
Stop 12 Despite the care that scientists take around hot lava, sometimes their worst nightmares come true
Stop 13 Streams of lava coursed from the summit in Mauna Ulu's last growth spurt before the eruption waned
Stop 14 Scientists ran for their lives as Mauna Ulu's fountains turned toward Puʻu Huluhulu
Stop 15 The Mauna ulu eruption transformed the Chain of Craters to include a chain of lava shields
Stop 16 Some of the first species that colonized these new flows will be the first to move on as the forests return

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