Volcanic eruptions have produced a stunning array of notable landforms over millennia. These features aren't just words from a science textbook: people are just one hike away from an active volcano to witness the beauty up close. Some are reasonably accessible to novice hikers, while others demand special equipment, special climbing skills, and a good amount of bravery to reach the peaks. Many volcanos also provide choices of breathtaking routes that are worth the effort. Here is a compiled list of 10 of the most thrilling volcano hikes that attract adventurous hearts, nature lovers, and mountain climbing gurus from around the world.

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10 Mount St. Helens, Washington, USA

Located in Washington state, this 8,300-foot volcano has more than 200 miles of trails leading to various spectacular areas of interest, from beautiful waterfalls to growing glaciers and surreal caves among the rock and ash. There are pathways for hikers of all abilities, from the infant and wheelchair-suitable Meta Lake loop to the 32-mile Loowit Trail.

  • Difficulty: Moderate - The trek to the peak is not simple and maybe a bit challenging, but it is undoubtedly within reach with a little serious effort - no technical abilities are required.

9 Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand

Fans of the Lord of the Rings will identify this volcano as Mount Doom from Tolkien's famed trilogy, but they won't have to go to Middle earth to view the real-life equivalent. Mount Ngauruhoe is located in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand's oldest national park and a UNESCO dual World Heritage Area. It may be reached by climbing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This one-way 12-mile journey through a volcanic terrain of crater lakes, alpine valleys, and ancient lava flows is hailed among New Zealand's top day hikes.

  • Difficulty: Hard - The Tongariro Crossing can be completed in approximately eight hours, adding three hours to reach Ngauruhoe's top.

8 Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua

This is among the two volcanoes in Masaya Volcano National Park, having a peak that rises 2,000 feet above the water. Masaya Volcano is extraordinary since it offers a unique night visit during which hikers can drive up to the crater and stare into the blazing and gushing depths of its lava lake. Of course, visitors will want to return during the day to continue their journey of exploration.

  • Difficulty: Moderate to complex – Masaya Volcano is a moderate track for those used to climbing but undoubtedly a difficult one for beginners because the hike is long and steep.

7 Mount Aso, Japan

Mount Aso is located in the heart of Kyushu, Japan's third-largest island. With a 16-mile diameter and a 75-mile circumference, it is one of the largest global calderas. The caldera contains five volcanic summits, one of which, Mount Nakadake, is an active volcano with a crest elevation of 4,900 feet.

  • Difficulty: Hard - Because of the slope, this trek is considered strenuous, but it can also be dangerous due to the rocky, slick ground.

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6 Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Arenal was one of the most dynamic volcanos in the world from 1968 to 2010, and while it has calmed since then, it is still known to spew ash and sometimes lava. It's a classic shape, towering and symmetrical, and hikers do not need to be concerned about being cold up here. The park's main trail is roughly 5 kilometers long and winds through the tropical rainforest, with ample opportunities to see the top.

  • Difficulty: Very hard to Moderate - Hiking to the top of this volcano is forbidden and extremely dangerous, but fortunately, a few good hikes are allowed and can get climbers to the top.

5 Mount Fuji, Japan

It is Japan's most extraordinary volcano and highest peak, and both tourists and locals flock to climb it. Known as one of the Three Holy Mountains, the volcano is visited by over 200,000 people annually. Mount Fuji's most recent eruption, in 1707, spilled ash as far as what is now Tokyo, forming a new caldera on the east flank. Trails and mountain amenities are open from July to September when it's time for the legitimate hiking season.

  • Difficulty: Moderate - The hiking tracks can be considered long and bumpy.
  • Recommended: It is advised to climb this volcano by going halfway up to one of the lodges, rest, and then return in the night to reach the peak in time for dawn. Worshiping the sun from the summit of Japan's highest mountain is a unique experience.

4 Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland

This lengthy but difficult trip brings hikers through beautiful scenery, including snow, ice, and ash from recent outbursts. The hike begins at sea level and continues all the way to the summit, passing through a crevasse-infested glacier and culminating at the summit, where hikers can see a vast crater caused by previous eruptions. Hikers can expect breathtaking views over half the island, featuring glaciers and the Vestmannaeyjar islands.

  • Difficulty: Hard - Because people will be climbing on ice, glacier equipment such as crampons is essential.

3 Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy

Etna, Europe's most giant erupting volcano, climbs into the sky, often shrouded in mist and vapor. Mount Etna is unusual because it has a special relationship with the people who dwell at its base. It is believed that this volcano spot provides fertile soil when it spits out magma.

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate - This summit can be climbed all year long and does not require a permit or guide.

2 Pacaya, Guatemala

Although visitors are not permitted to ascend to the summit of this volcano, it should be on the to-do checklist for a variety of reasons. The hike begins with views of adjacent fields and mountains through beautiful green foliage. The trail soon becomes volcanic rock and dust, making it incredibly slick.

1 Mount Vesuvius, Italy

This volcano is best famed for swamping the city of Pompeii with ash in 79 A.D., effectively preserving it until its re-discovery in the 1700s. Since then, the volcano has erupted more than 30 times, the most recent of which was in 1944. A beautiful panorama of the city, islands and part of the Apennine Mountains awaits hikers at this peak.

  • Difficulty: Easy - The ascent to the summit is the shortest on this list, taking only 30 minutes. It's better to go through it in hiking or running shoes, and there's no need to bring any equipment.

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