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The “Jello Mold” is an ancient cinder cone between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa with a stunning view of the Kona Coast. It is known as the Jello Mold due to its resemblance to an upside-down mold. The hike to the summit requires a relatively high level of fitness as the elevation gain is constant. A bike makes the first half of the hike much faster and the way down a lot easier.




Time Required: 3-4 hours

Location: 29 miles northeast of Kona

Distance: 12km round trip

Elevation Gain: 620m

Difficulty: 7/10 – Constant elevation gain

Season: Year round

Additional Requirements: A bike is nice to have but not required.


From Kona: Take Hwy 190 North East and take the turnoff between mile markers 21 and 22. Stay left and pass through a metal gate to the parking area at the check in station.  You won’t be able to drive further up the road as there is a metal cable blocking vehicle access.


  • Comfortable Footwear: Hiking shoes.Make sure your shoes are broken in prior to tackling this hike to prevent unexpected
  • Water: This hike hike has lots of elevation gain and there is no shade along the way. Bring lots of water to prevent dehydration.
  • Snacks: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy along the hike as well as a light lunch for when you arrive at the summit.  Some of our favorite snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
  • Weather appropriate clothing: You will be exposed to the elements throughout this hike. Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
  • Sunscreen: If it is sunny and you’re like Mattson, who easily burns, bring sunscreen!
  • Insect Repellent: Insect repellent can greatly improve your hiking experience.
  • Camera: There are numerous photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
  • This Guide: Print a copy of this guide to reference throughout the hike


Weather: The highlight of this hike is the view from the top. We recommend saving this hike for a clear day and getting an early start to avoid getting stuck in the clouds.

Bikes: The first half of this hike is up a road with steady elevation gain. This is an out and back hike so if you bike up this section you will thank yourself as biking down is much easier than hiking all the way out.

Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably. Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:

  • Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
  • Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
  • Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
  • Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
  • Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.

To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit


Summary: From the parking area you will follow the road to its end and then head left along a trail to a gate where you can lock your bike up. From here the grassy trail winds to the east side of the Jello Mold and then climbs to the summit. The directions for this hike are relatively simple but the constant elevation gain will challenge any hiker.

The Jello Mold Adventure Map - Hawaii Big Island - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 1: The Jello Mold Adventure Map


Step-By-Step Guide:

From the parking area (Route marker #1 on the map) grab your bike (or walk if you don’t have one) and follow the road about 2.5 km uphill until the road ends at an old house.


The Jello Mold - Hawaii Big Island - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 2: Mattson biking up the road


From here the trail heads left and follows the side of the mold up to an old gate (Route marker #2 on the map). We recommend locking your bikes up at the gate and then continuing on foot from this point. Be sure to close the gate behind you asranchers use this land and there was plenty of cattle roaming around when we did this hike.


The Jello Mold - Hawaii Big Island - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 3: Mattson locking up his bike at the gate
The Jello Mold - Hawaii Big Island - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 4: The grassy trail


From here the trail is grassy and easy to follow. You will circle around to the west side of the Jello Mold and then hike the final elevation to the summit (Route marker #3 on the map).

Once you reach the summit there’s a bench to relax and enjoy the beautiful view of the West Coast of the Big Island! The great thing about this hike is its all downhill to return to your vehicle and if you brought a bike the last half should be an easy cruise downhill.


The Jello Mold - Hawaii Big Island - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 5: The Summit of the Jello Mold


Thank you for choosing Epic Trip Adventures as your guide.  We are committed to continually updating our guides to be as relevant and accurate as possible. If you have feedback to improve this guide please leave it in the comments below.

We also want to hear about your Jello Mold adventures.  If you have stories, pictures or even a link to your own adventure video please share them below!

Have fun out there!