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National park tips: Go ahead and step into this Hawaiian volcano

Tiny to the eye, these hikers are on the Kilauea Iki Trail, inside a caldera that's part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

First, get to the Big Island of Hawaii, home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Then hike the Kilauea Iki Trail, a four-mile round trip that takes you down through thick rainforest to the black floor of a vast crater.

Don’t miss the Thurston Lava Tube, a cavelike marvel that’s tall enough to stand in and stroll through.

Before you book the Volcano House hotel on the lip of the volcano, check out the Kilauea Lodge, a 12-room plantation-style B&B and restaurant that was built one mile away as a YMCA camp in the 1930s in the neighboring town of Volcano. Then decide if you want style (the lodge) or location (the house).

In honor of this year’s National Park Service centennial, the Travel section is posting 100 park travel ideas and tips based on trips staff travel writer Christopher Reynolds has taken, along with photo-op advice from Times photographer Mark Boster. We’ll post one per day through Dec. 31.

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Follow Reynolds on Twitter: @MrCSReynolds

See travel videos by Reynolds from around the world.

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