A kipuka is an island of
untouched land surrounded by a lava flow. These are usually small
pockets of green in the lava field, but the Kipuka Puaulu (sometimes
called the Bird Park because of the variety of birds that have found
refuge there) is 100 acres of lush rain forest hundreds of years old,
with ancient Koa trees, Ohia Lehuas, Hapu'u and Kukui. There are native
butterflies, birds, flowering vines, and ancient plants once used for
healing and ritual. An easy loop trail takes about an hour, side trails
tempt you to explore further. Reach it by taking Mauna Loa Road, which
takes off from Highway 11 just beyond the golf course.
The trail across Kilauea Iki is accessible from the rim trail around the crater (see map of Volcano National Park). Take off from Kilauea Iki Overlook where you can leave your car. Walk the rim trail and follow the signs for the path down into the crater itself. The clearly marked trail guides you past the 'throat' of the volcano, between still steaming crevasses, and the scientific instruments installed to monitor any activity in this small scion of Kilauea. The trail climbs back up to the crater rim by switchbacks to where you left your car.
The trail to Pu'u Huluhulu is about 3 miles round trip across lava and around old tree molds, through Ohia forest, up to the lookout on the top of the ancient cone crater. From here you can see Pu'u O'o, the sources of most recent volcanic activity. Bring binoculars and wear heavy shoes that can withstand the sharp lava underfoot. This trail starts from a small parking lot off Chain of Craters Road. The larger and more recent Maunu Ulu lies just south of Pu'u Huluhulu.
Puu Mahana, the Green Sand Beach, is just that, olive green from olivine crystals. To reach the secluded Green Sand Beach you must hike approximately four miles from South Point. Make sure to wear good hiking shoes and bring plenty of water. There is no shade along the way. It may seem like a long way to go, but it is breathtaking and worth the hike. Once you arrive, don't stop at the top. Hike down over the rocks and swim with the Giant Sea Turtles, but be cautious, the current is very strong.