Any links in this post to a merchant may contain an affiliate link, which means that if you click on that link and then buy something, I may earn a commission from it. However, all opinions in this link are 100% mine and 100% honest. If I didn't believe in a particular product, I wouldn't recommend it to you.
If you love hiking, American Samoa should be on your list of places to visit. This small island has more than its fair share of amazing hikes, including several that are in the United States National Park of American Samoa. One of the more popular hikes is Mt. Alava. Here is everything you need to know about hiking Mt. Alava in American Samoa.
Location of Mt. Alava
The trailhead for Mt. Alava is located in the Fagasa Pass. On the main road, head east from the harbor. When you see the old Napa Auto Parts Store, turn left. Drive up the mountain for 1.2 miles. There is a gate with a small parking area on the right. This is the start of the trail. You can park here at the gate, just try not to block it. There is room for about three cars.
Time, Distance, and Degree of Difficulty
The hike to the peak of Mt. Alava is three and a half miles, making the entire round trip hike seven miles in length. It will take approximately 2-3 hours to reach the top. So, depending on how much time you spend before heading down, the whole trip will take 5 hours or more to complete.
Hiking Mt. Alava is not the most difficult hike in American Samoa, but it is challenging. The level of difficulty comes from the fact that the trail is a consistent incline for most of the three and a half miles. However, none of it is steep enough to require ropes or other climibing gear to navigate it. Also, at no point are you walking right near the edge of the cliff.
So, this hike is doable for most people who have at least a basic level of physical fitness. I am not the most active person in the world, and I was able to hike Mt. Alava. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t impossible either. If you are a complete couch potato, however, or have any ailments that make walking difficult, this is not the hike for you. Most children over the age of 8 should be able to do this hike without any trouble.
Views from Mt. Alava
On your way up the trail, keep an eye out on your left. Along the way, you will see some awesome views of the northwest side of the island, including of Massacre Bay. Even when you are hiking in areas without a view, you can enjoy the rainforest, tropical flowers, and birds that play overhead. At the top, you will be rewarded with magnificent sweeping looks of the central part of the island. When you reach the top, you will see a flight of metal stairs on your left. Take those stairs up to the old tramway station. The best views are from this area.
Tips for Hiking in American Samoa
- The climate in American Samoa is very humid, so be sure to take plenty of water on your hike.
- Wear bug spray. You don’t want to catch a disease that is carried by mosquitoes.
- Don’t hike alone. Be sure to have at least one other person with you in case something happens.
- Wear sunscreen! Most of the trail is shaded, but American Samoa is very close to the equator and the sun can be brutal.
- The Mt. Alava hike is long, so you will want to pack food to eat along the way.
- American Samoa is a rainforest, so it rains alot. This can make the trails muddy and slippery. Be aware, be careful, and wear appropriate shoes. It can be especially easy to fall on the way down. If you are not careful, you can easily twist an ankle or break a bone.
- Make sure it is safe to swim in a particular area before you jump in to cool off while on your hike. Some areas of the shoreline are rocky and have dangerous currents.
- Be respectful of this unspoiled natural beauty. Please take your trash with you.
- The National Park of American Samoa does not have park rangers on duty. Many places on hikes have little to no cell service. You will be on your own if something happens.
- If you need or want a local guide, see touramericansamoa.com to arrange one. Paula and Michael are great guides.
Hiking in American Samoa is some of the most amazing hiking you can do in the world. Mt. Alava is one of the best hikes on this tropical paradise. The above tips and information will make this hike more memorable for you and your family. If you love hiking, you need to have this one on your bucket list! For more information on American Samoa, see our tips for visiting, things to see, things to do, and best scenic spots. For more on hiking in American Samoa, see the best hikes. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Happy travels!
P.S. Need help finding the best places to go on your family vacations? My Ultimate USA Bucket List for Families will instantly give you 60 of the best vacation destinations for families in the United States! Get it for FREE in the box below and start planning your next trip today! Plus, as a bonus, you will receive my weekly email newsletter full of family trip tips and inspiration!