Intermediate level multi-day guided hiking/camping in Hawaii?
March 31, 2015 1:46 PM   Subscribe

I'm a fairly experienced hiker who would like to explore Hawaii on foot.

I'm going to be in Maui for a weekend wedding but was hoping to use some or all of the previous week to walk-walk-walk my way around Hawaii, and or Maui, and or whatever beautiful places there are to hike. I will be travelling by myself. Ideally this would be a group multi-day hiking/camping event. I have all the gear I would need except for cooking gear (which I can purchase if necessary). Perhaps walking across the big island over a few days? I wasn't able to find any type of camping/hiking tour in Hawaii through REI Outdoor adventures or Outward Bound, my usual go-to for group hiking adventures. Anybody have any idea what is available? Emphasis on the intermediate level multi-day hiking/camping. Any island is fine.
posted by Captain Chesapeake to Travel & Transportation around Hawaii (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Over Thanksgiving our Boy Scout troop did a 4-day hike in Haleakala crater on Maui and it was amazing. The crater is actually quite large -- there are three cabins that can be reserved from the Park Service spaced throughout the crater, and it's about a half day to get to one of the cabins or between cabins. The cabins MUST be reserved months in advance, but there are also minimal campsites near the cabins (reservations also required). The campsites have non-potable water, so you must boil or filter. The terrain covers everything from high-altitude moonscape to lush pastures, depending where you are in the crater. Sometimes the crater is filled with clouds, other times there are cloudfalls as the clouds and mist blow in over the crater edge. At night it's eerily, unbelievably quiet and utterly dark. It's also possible to hike across the crater, out the Kaupo Gap, and down to the ocean, if you can arrange a pickup ride. This takes a couple of days.

PM me for a pointer to a Flickr album of our hike.
posted by ldenneau at 2:17 PM on March 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Hawaii (I was thinking the state, but also the specific island) has a ton of great backcountry hiking.

I was going to suggest the Waimanu Valley as an area not well known outside of Hawaii that would be both challenging and rewarding for an intermediate level hiker but after re-reading your response I see that you are looking to join a guided group and I don't know any service that offers that there.

If the issue is not wanting to be too isolated in case something happens you might consider a popular route such as the Kalalau Trail on Kaua'i. It's not exactly crowded, as permits are required beyond one of the first couple beaches (Hanakapiae, I thought, but on checking I see you can day trip to Hanakoa without a permit..) but it's well traveled.
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:20 PM on March 31, 2015

Best answer: Be aware that if you have any fear of heights at all, the Kalalau Trail is beyond advanced. There are sections where the trail is a foot wide and eroded, and your next stop is several hundred feet below, in the ocean.
posted by cnc at 6:37 PM on March 31, 2015

Best answer: I can only speak to my limited experience on the Big Island... but Volcano National Park offers a wide variety of hiking trails of varying intensity. You could easily spend multiple days hiking the extensive trails there. I would not recommend walking across The Big Island as that just seems like time that could be better spent hiking in designated scenic areas. It took about 2.5 hours by car to reach the Volcano National Park from the resort we were staying. Much of it urban/suburban strip malls, or a vast flat unchanging volcanic desert.

Also, you should be aware that while hiking you will be exposed to confounding shifts in micro-climate. When we left the resort it was 80 and sunny with a nice breeze as it is every day at that location. When we arrived at Volcano National Park it was 60F and raining. We were totally unprepared and were cold and miserable.. but we hit the trails and boom, unrelenting 90F sun on an arid volcanic plateau, then as we reached the coastal area, more vegetation and a cool breeze off the ocean bringing the temps back down to the 70s.

On another excursion, we visited Mauna Kea observatory at 14000ft for sunset, it was 30F and snowing. We were wearing shorts and t-shirts which was fine because we're from Wisconsin, but ymmv. We did not hike there, but there is a trail for that. 10hrs round trip.

Found this site as well you may find useful:
posted by j03 at 6:26 AM on April 1, 2015

Best answer: Yes, you must do Haleakala. I did a two-day backpack from the top of the mountain to the farthest cabin in the crater (we did not reserve the cabin and just pitched a tent), and then back out to a different trailhead. The terrain is varied and always stunning. I would say doing this in two days was very strenuous, and if I had to do it over again I would have added a third day.
posted by crLLC at 7:04 AM on April 1, 2015

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