Lava Trees and Puna Beaches

On our first full day in Pahoa, we visited the nearby Lava Tree State Monument, a small park that has a 0.7-mile paved loop path through a forest of lava tree molds.

There are around 85 total lava tree molds preserved throughout the park, with only 40 of them viewable from the path. There are warnings not to stop off the path due to dangerous cracks in the earth.

A new forest of ohia trees has established itself in the rich soil topping the early lava flows. The lava tree molds in this park were formed in a 1790 eruption of Kilauea.

After the park, we took a fantastic wooded road down to Isaac Hale Park, a popular surfing location on the Puna coast.

I can’t imagine the beach would be great for swimming, as the shore is rocky and the currents are strong. It is, however, absolutely gorgeous to walk along.

Our last stop was the Ahalanui Beach Park, just up the road from Isaac Hale. It has a thermal heated spring-fed swimming area, which looked lovely. We never did make it back there to take a swim, partly because of the horror stories my surgeon cousin told us regarding the bacteria levels in the water (he works in Hilo so sees all the worst-case scenarios).

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