Big Island Cave Tours

Exploring lava tubes that have turned into adventurous caves are very unique to The Big Island with its wondrous volcanoes that helped create this young island beginning hundreds of years ago and still happening today. Visitors to the island, and even residents of the island, are amazed at the power and intelligence of nature to create lava tubes so large that they were once used as caves to protect Native Hawaiians from heat, to provide shelter, and to lead to areas to gather needed water and other supplies.

These lava tubes are around the entire island in different dimensions, but these caves are a constant reminder of the power that nature has and the humble beginnings of the island’s and continual creation from the active Kilauea Volcano. Even some residents today may find caves that are old lava tubes in their own back yard. This just reminds us of the history of the formation of The Big Island and nature’s intelligence.

Lava tubes, which eventually turn into hallow caves, begin its formation when an eruption occurs and lava starts to spill from the volcano’s crater. The lava flows start to form channels where it can flow more easily and quickly on its way to sea. On the outside of the channels, levees begin to develop and the lava begins to cool from the air surrounding it, forming a hard crust. As the crusts further develop, lava tubes are formed. In these tubes, canyons and lava falls develop as the lava continues to flow through the tubes. The heat of the lava and friction from the molten rock heats the inner parts of the lava tubes that can be gouged out by the lava making the lava tubes wider and higher. It’s a marvelous work of nature.

You can enjoy this beauty safely with a highly trained guide that can take you on tours of old lava tubes from eruptions that occurred hundreds of years ago. There are some tours that are easily accessible and that have level paths, and there are some where you need to be an expert climber. Regardless of what level you are at, there are lava tubes that you can view to get a glimpse of the almost magical power of the island’s volcanoes.

When planning on taking a lava tube tour, remember to wear good shoes with a non-skid sole or hiking boots, long thick pants like jeans, a shirt, and a weather proof jacket. The lava tubes have lots of moisture in them, especially if it has rained heavy in the area and will have continual water drops throughout your tour. In addition, in some areas of the lava tube exploring, temperatures can drop to the high 50s, so a having a jacket will make your tour more comfortable.

Kazumura Cave Tours

Kazumura Caves are old lava tubes that were formed by Kilauea Iki Crater hundreds of years ago. The entire cave is 41 miles long and 3,614 feet deep making it the largest cave in the world. That is a fascinating fact for The Big Island that holds so much mystery. Kazumura Cave Tours run Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., offering three different tours to its visitors. All tours require prior reservations and depart at its start time, so it is essential that you arrive at the destination in the Puna Rain Forest well-ahead of your reserved tour time. Temperatures in the cave drop to high 50s and reach the low 70s in some areas, so it is best to wear hiking boots or other durable shoes, long pants, and a jacket. All hard hats, flashlights, and gloves will be provided to you. The Lava Falls two hour tour takes a maximum of six people, traveling about 2/3 miles. This is an easy tour on a path that is sometimes uneven. You do have to climb a ladder to get in and two ladders down to enter the major part of the cave where you will see four lava falls ranging from five to 16 feet. The Pit Room Tour is four hours long with six people maximum per tour. You will travel a total of two miles. You will go pass where The Lava Falls tour ends going down two levels and through a small area to view even more lava falls. The Maze Tour is approximately four to six hours long, covers two miles, and is reserved for a maximum of four people on the tour. You must be an experienced climber. At where The Pit Room Tour ends you will continue to see more lava falls up to 37 feet and enter the Sexton Maze. You will need to crawl in some areas for up to an hour and rappel down steep lava slopes. The beauty that you will experience in these old caves where time has stood still and lava markings are still intact, is bound to bring you much amazement and adventure.

Kula Kai Caverns

Kula Kai Caverns is in the Ocean View area from a lava flow dating back hundreds of years. Only trained guides are allowed to take you on tours of the caverns, not only allowing you to enjoy the history of the caves, but sharing with you the history of its development and the importance it had with the Native Hawaiian people in ancient times. The Lighted Trail tour is for both children and adults. It is approximately 30 minutes, taking you on a lit trail that is easy to follow and traverse, enjoying the beauty of life that has begun to take residence in the caves and the old markings that are still visible of past lava flows. The Crawl tour takes you a little further than The Lighted Trail tour. For this tour you will be provided with a helmet that has a light, gloves, and knee pads. It is recommended that you wear closed toe shoes with good support or hiking boots and a weather proof jacket. On this tour there will be many areas where you need to crawl to get through the caves. The Two Hour Tour is designed for those eight years of age and older. This tour takes you pass the Lighted Trail Tour. This is a longer tour with many turns, crawling, and crouching to make it through the lava tubes. The terrain is very rocky, so this is where good shoes come in handy. The Twilight Tour is for adults only. This tour begins in the early evening before sunset and ends at dark. It is a wonderful means of experiencing the beautiful lava tubes glowing in the light of your flashlights for a very different experience. All the tours include introductions to the plant and animal life in the caves, great amounts of lava rocks to climb over, and intriguing lava formations. Pre-reservations are required for all tours.

Kilauea Caverns of Fire

Kilauea Caverns of Fire offers guided tours through lava tube mazes from the active Kilauea Volcano. Many of the lava tubes are an astounding 80 to 100 feet high. They offer two tours by appointment only. The Walking Tour is approximately one hour and can accommodate a maximum of 20 people. The Adventures Tour is approximately three hours and can accommodate a maximum of eight people. Reservations for either tour are required due to the limitations on how many visitors can enter the lava tubes on each tour. You are also instructed to wear hiking boots or other walking, closed-toe shoes with good gripping soles, long pants, cool shirt, and weather proof jacket for your comfort. Lava tubes accumulate water, especially after heavy rains, and can drip constantly as you walk through the cave. It is asked that you take caution and not touch the inside of the caves as the lava formations are very fragile. Kilauea Caverns of Fire believes highly in respecting the lava tubes so it will be the same for generations to come so they may have the same experience you are having today. Enjoy from afar and you may take pictures if you choose.