Hiking an interesting trail is on the to-do list of just about every active traveler. But what happens when the usual forests and mountainsides aren't exciting enough any longer?
That's when you start looking for more unique hikes— like hiking a volcano.
The following seven hiking trails on dormant and active volcanoes around the world are ones you'll want to add to your travel bucket list.
You'll find Kilauea on Hawaii's Big Island, within the UNESCO-recognized Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Kilauea is unique in that it's one of the most active volcanoes in the world— and yet remains incredibly accessible to visitors. Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983, meaning you're almost guaranteed to see steam vents and lots of just-cooled lava.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has a total of 150 miles of trails between Kilauea and Mauna Loa (another very active volcano), but you'll want to check with the Visitor Center when you arrive about any lava viewing opportunities.
Mount Bromo, Indonesia
Mount Bromo is a 7,641-foot active volcano located in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in East Java, Indonesia. It's an easily accessible volcano by most standards. You can reach the summit via a well-defined path from the nearby mountain village of Cemoro Lawang in 1-2 hours. No guide is required for this hike, and many people choose to start climbing in the dark in order to reach the summit for sunrise.
Not far from the UNESCO World Heritage city of Antigua, Guatemala, you'll find Pacaya, one of the more active volcanoes in Central America. Pacaya stands at just over 8,300 feet and takes 1-2 hours to climb, making it one of the most popular half-day trips from Antigua.
The volcano's crater and lava flows are now closed off to tourists, but you'll still be able to get up close to some steam vents. A popular activity at the top of the trail is to roast marshmallows in the hot steam, so don't be surprised to find people trying to sell you some!
Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand
Mount Ngauruhoe most famously played the role of Mount Doom in the “Lord of the Rings” films, but in reality it’s a volcano located in Tongariro National Park on the North Island of New Zealand. The active volcano has been quiet since its last eruption in 1975, and today is a popular detour on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The 19.4-kilometer (12 miles) Crossing is known as the best day hike in New Zealand, and climbing to the summit of Mount Ngauruhoe in the middle of the hike will add about 2.5 hours to your trekking time.
Mount Etna, Sicily
If you're heading to Italy anytime soon, consider a detour to Sicily in order to cross another volcano climb off your list: Mount Etna. This active stratovolcano is the tallest in Europe, standing at nearly 11,000 feet. You can start climbing Mount Etna from its base, but many hikers opt to take a cable car and then a 4x4 bus to the 9,186-foot mark, and then hike to the summit from there. Since Mount Etna is an extremely active volcano, views from the crater often include billowing steam.
Mount Fuji, Japan
Mount Fuji, located on Honshu Island, is the highest mountain in Japan at 12,389 feet. Its iconic peak can be seen from Tokyo on a clear day, and climbing to the stratovolcano's top is popular with hikers, especially since it's suitable for those without mountaineering experience. The hiking season is short, with Mount Fuji only being open to hikers from July to early September.
There are four climbing trails you can use to hike to the top of Mount Fuji, and the average climb time is 6.5 hours up and 3.5 hours down. Because of the length of the hike, many choose to climb halfway up, stay at a hut on the mountainside, and set off again during the night in order to reach the summit before sunrise on the second day.
The most difficult volcano hike on this list is Cotopaxi, located in the Andes Mountains in Ecuador. Cotopaxi is about 30 miles south of the Ecuadorian capital city of Quito, and is the second-highest peak in the country at 19,347 feet. Because of its elevation, this volcano trek isn’t really for inexperienced hikers, and you’re required to have a guide in order to reach the summit. Hiking Cotopaxi is usually done over the course of two days, with you reaching the summit on the morning of the second day.
BONUS: Cerro Negro, Nicaragua
Another volcano “hike” that deserves a spot on this list is Cerro Negro near Leon, Nicaragua. This 2,388-foot volcano is young by geological standards, having only been “born” in 1850. The hike to the top of Cerro Negro only takes about 45 minutes, but it's the way you get down that makes this volcano unique. Cerro Negro is a popular spot for volcano boarding, where you surf or sled down the side of the black mountain on a wooden board. It's often listed as a “must-do” in Nicaragua.
Which of these volcanoes would YOU most want to hike?
*All content provided in this blog is supplied by Amanda Williams and is for informational purposes only. Barclaycard makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.
Photo credit: Amanda Williams
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