Kauai’s breathtaking Crater Hill hike to reopen. Here's a sneak peek.

It was the guided nature hike that would not die.

In November 2002, staffing issues forced the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge to end its popular Crater Hill guided hike. Years later, fans of the hike were still letting staff know how much they missed it.

It’s an amazing hike—traversing the bluffs above Kilauea Point Refuge’s picturesque 32-acre peninsula and historic, much-photographed lighthouse, then slowly ascending the precipice of Crater Hill’s majestic sea cliffs. There are sweeping sea-to-mountain views of Kauai’s north shore, and up-close glimpses of the winged wildlife—Hawaiian nene goose, red-footed boobies, frigate birds and more—the refuge protects year-round.

Crater Hill devotees, and anyone who missed the hikes the first time around, might want to lace up their hiking boots. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages Kilauea Point, is once again opening the hike. Reservations are being taken for limited guided hikes during National Wildlife Refuge Week, Oct. 11-17.

Call (808) 828-0762 for reservations or more information.

Weekly hikes may resume in 2010—likely in the summer and fall when nene goose nesting season ends.

Kilauea Point rangers invited HAWAII Magazine for an advance preview of the hike earlier this year. We take you along on that hike in the September/October 2009 HAWAII Magazine feature “To the Top of Crater Hill.” The issue is on newsstands nationwide now, but if you want to purchase a digital edition right now, you can do so here.

As we always do on our Hawaii travels, we took many more photos on Crater Hill than we could share in the magazine. So on the next few pages you’ll find a slideshow of the best of the rest of our Crater Hill photos and video we shot of the views from the best scenic points on the hike.



The view from the first lookout on the Crater Hill Hike, Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, Kauai.

The view from the second lookout on the Crater Hill Hike, Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, Kauai.



Photos/Video: Derek Paiva