Tough footing, no shade, very hot and dry.
Some people consider the Mauna Iki Trail to be an extension of the Footprints Trail
. Either way, the Footprints Trail
is useful for providing access to the Mauna Iki Trail from Hwy 11 at the Ka'u Desert Trailhead.
From its intersection with the Ka'u Desert Trail
, the Mauna Iki Trail branches off to the northeast over barren, desolate terrain. When there is no vegetation or wildlife, you have to be creative and find enjoyment in the wondrous lava formations and textures along the route. Follow lava rock pile cairns and stone pathways to stay on track through the monotonous lava fields.
Eventually the views improve, and you'll see the crumpled Cone Crater in the distance. Soon the undulating trail passes near the colorful and surprisingly deep Twin Pit Craters. The trail eventually visits Mauna Iki, a small version of the giant Mauna Loa volcano to the north. Mauna Iki erupted in 1919 and 1920. The path ends at the Hilina Pali Road near the Kulanaokuaiki Campground.