NPS Pua Po‘o Lava Tube Tour – CLOSED until further notice

NOTE:  NPS PUAPO’O TOURS were conducted for the Park’s Centennial (2016) ONLY.  At this time, NO TOURS are available.


Puapo‘o Lava Tube is almost as large and open as Thurston Lava Tube (Nāhuku). Hikers will need to climb down a 15 foot (4.6 m) ladder into the tube, scramble over large, loose and slippery rocks and walk over uneven terrain with minimal light while in the lava tube. Hikers will also need to walk in a crouched position for about 25 feet (8 m) under a low, 4-foot (1.2 m) ceiling. The tube exit requires a fairly difficult climb/scramble up a pile of boulders.

This NPS tour is approximately 2 – 3 hours in duration.  For an in-depth (all day) exploration that includes lunch, commemorative coin and Certificate of Completion, check out our Wild Caves Exploration Institute brought to you by the Hawai’i Volcanoes Institute.


Required items:

  1. Long pants – No shorts or Capris will be allowed
  2. Hiking boots or completely enclosed shoes – No sandals or open-toe shoes will be allowed
  3. Water – 1 to 2 quarts/person
  4. Flashlights

Notes: You will be turned away if you are missing any of the above items. There is nowhere within 30 miles of the park to acquire longs pants and hiking boots. Refunds will not be given due to missing items listed above.

Optional, but highly recommended items:

  1. Lightweight rain jacket – we will be hiking through the rainforest.
  2. Long sleeved shirt – Pua Po‘o may be wet and cold
  3. Camera – no tripods or selfie sticks will be allowed
  4. Snacks


  1. Helmets
  2. Gloves
  3. Headlamps


All visitors will be required to park at the Kīlauea Iki Overlook and walk 0.5 miles to Nāhuku by the start of the program. This is to alleviate parking congestion at Thurston Lava Tube parking area. Note: Only visitors with confirmed paid reservations will be allowed to go on the hike. Entry into this cave is by reservation only.


All cancellations will be charged a 5% processing fee.  The Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will gladly refund your full amount up to 7 days prior to the day of the tour. Between 2 to 6 days, 50% of the cost of the event will be refunded.  If cancellation is within 48 hours of the start of the institute, 0% will be refunded. All proceeds help support Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

Although we rarely cancel any hikes, there may be a need to do so if volcanic air pollution becomes a problem. Earthquakes, new volcanic activity, extreme weather or fires may also cancel hikes. In the event of a cancellation by NPS or Friends, you will be refunded 100% of your tour cost.

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For more Puapo‘o lava tube tour opportunities check out our in-depth, all day Wild Cave Explorations