Exploring a Lava Tube at the Kaumana Caves in Hilo, Hawaii


As part of our “StayCation COVID-19 Adventures” my family and I spent the weekend in Hilo exploring new places and looking for adventure. We found a new adventure spot, the Kaumana Caves. We had heard about these lava tubes and had to check it out ourselves. Before arriving we knew that the caves had no lighting so we were prepared and brought our own with a LED photographic light bar, flashlights and Iphones.

There are two tubes once you descend the steps and just like Robert Frost, we chose the path less traveled and went left, when most people go right. As you can see from the photo, it just looks pretty unassuming. However, once you step inside, you can see how big it is and as you follow the path inside, it takes you through caverns, and tubes and some VERY cool geologic structures.

As we entered the lava tube, we took video to show you the adventure.

It is pitch black in the lava tube so, if you go, bring extra flashlights and batteries -just to hedge your bets. I would also suggest wearing closed-toed shoes because the ground was, at times, rocky and uneven and wet. If it’s raining outside, it may also be dripping in the cave, so bring a rain jacket. I did and it was nice because the cave is chilly, too. I would say this was one of our TRULY ADVENTUROUS adventures as you will see in the video.

 The caves were easy to find on Google maps not far from downtown Hilo. USA Today did the entire historical write up of these caves if you wish to learn more. They are part of a 25 mile long tube system fed from lava from Mauna Loa.


 I would definitely recommend visiting the lava tubes if you’re up for exploring a new place in Hilo. However, if you arrive and find the steepness of the staircase on the way down worrisome, you may find the entire experience a bit daunting!  

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Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at 365Kona.com and MoveToHawaii365.com and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

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  • Lisa Marie Gallegos says:

    Hi Julie, thank you for your sight. My family and i are headed to your beautiful Island on May 3 to celebrate life and a much needed vacation. Your insights is awesome and I can’t wait to experience it allllllll!!!!