Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is currently recovering from the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea volcano. Much of the park has re-opened, but several areas are still closed. Read more.

The Sulphur Banks Trail is open; the ‘Iliahi Trail is closed.

Round Trip Mileage: 1.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 170'

Steam Vents

Steam Vents

This short, pleasant loop hike begins and ends at the Visitor Center and passes several thermal volcanic features. The loop described below follows the Sulphur Banks to the 'Iliahi Trail. 'Iliahi means 'sandalwood,' and you'll notice a considerable amount of these trees on the trail. The Sulphur gases emanating from these thermal features can cause respiratory distress to those with heart and lung conditions, pregnant women, and young children.

Big Island Hikes has several other hikes from the Visitor Center trailhead. See The Crater Rim Trail, The Waldron Ledge Loop, and The Halema'uma'u Trail.

Trailhead: Find the entrance to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park a few miles to the west of the town of Volcano Village. Pass through the entrance and drive straight ahead for less than a 1/4 mile and park in the Visitor Center parking lot.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Overview


Gear: Standard hiking gear


Hike: Begin at the northwest corner of the Visitor Center parking lot (near the Volcano Art Center). Find the beginning of the Sulphur Banks Trail. This area is called Ha'akulamanu. Volcanic gases seep out of the ground along with groundwater steam. These gases are rich in carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Because of extreme underground heat, it is difficult for many trees to grow in this area. Eventually find boardwalks and then meet Crater Rim Drive. Cross over the road and find the Steam Vents area with a parking lot. Like the Sulphur Banks, this is another area where groundwater steam issues constantly from cracks in the ground. After crossing Crater Rim Drive, find the 'Iliahi Trail heading south. Quickly pass an intersection with the Crater Rim Trail, and continue along the 'Iliahi Trail for a half mile and pass the beginning of the Halema'uma'u Trail. Hike north and intersect the Crater Rim Trail again. This time, hike the Crater Rim trail east toward the Volcano House and Visitor Center. Cross over Crater Rim Road again and you're back at the Visitor Center.