NEED TO KNOW
LOCATION Mauna Loa lies in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, US
HIGHEST POINT 13,679 ft (4,169 m)
FIRST CLIMBED In 1794 by Scotsman Archibald Menzies
CLIMBERS PER YEAR Fewer than 1,000
Rising over 30,000 ft (9,000 m) from the ocean floor, Hawai‘i’s Mauna Loa is both the largest volcano and mountain in the world. Yet from a distance, its gently sloping sides and apparently flat summit belie this magnitude.
The volcano’s 39-mile (63-km) circular trekking route cuts across a spectacular landscape of different types of exposed lava, and although it’s virtually lifeless here – there are no plants, animals, or birds in sight – the surreal rock formations provide a fascinating backdrop to the trail.
As you approach the summit caldera, cinder cones, gas emissions, and ground swelling serve as a constant reminder that this is an active volcano, with plenty of punch still remaining.
Getting There and Around Fly into Hilo and either rent a car or catch a shuttle bus from there to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, which is a 45-minute drive away.
When to Go Mauna Loa can be climbed at any time of year, though the weather is best between June and August.