Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park
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Where: 45 minutes south of Hilo
Experience some of nature’s most awe-inspiring wonders at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Located 45 miles southwest of Hilo, the park is home to two volcanoes including Kīlauea, one of the most active volcanoes on earth. The chance to witness the primal process of creation and destruction makes it one of the most popular visitor attractions in Hawaiʻi and a sacred place.
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park encompasses 335,259 acres or about 523 square miles from the summit of Maunaloa to the sea (by comparison, the island of Oʻahu is 597 square miles). Discover 150 miles of hiking trails through volcanic craters, scalded deserts and rainforests, as well as a visitor center, petroglyphs and two active volcanoes: Maunaloa, which last erupted in 1984 and and Kīlauea which last erupted in 2018 (1983-2018).
Kīlauea is often called "the world's only drive-in volcano." At one time, this prolific volcano produced 250,000-650,00 cubic yards of lava per day - enough to resurface a 20-mile-long, two-lane road each day. As of January 1983, more than 875 acres of new land has been created on the island of Hawaiʻi.
The extraordinary natural diversity of the park was recognized in 1980 when it was named a World Biosphere Site by UNESCO and in 1987 when the park was honored as a World Heritage Site.
For the latest information at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, make your first stop the park website.
Click here for the current "Ranger Tips for a Fun Visit" flier.
HAWAI‘I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK HIGHLIGHTS
Kīlauea Visitor CenterOpen daily: 9:00 a.m.–5 p.m.
Begin your visit at the Kīlauea Visitor Center for a great introduction to the park. Ranger talks are offered, hike suggestions for the day, and ranger-guided activities. Pick up maps, learn about the park's hikes and get the latest volcano updates here.
Crater Rim Drive is the 10.6-mile drive that circles Kīlauea Caldera. Driving around this loop will take you to the park's main attractions: the Puʻupuaʻi Overlook, Devastation Trail and Kīlauea Iki Crater Overlook.
Crater Rim Drive
Steam vents plume from this massive crater, known as the home of Pele, the volcano goddess. In 2008, this crater was filled with a lake of lava that disappeared in 2018. Seismic activity caused by the crater walls falling into itself created a much larger crater. In May 2018, Halemaʻumaʻu's volume was about 70-78 million cubic yards. It is now about 1.2 billion cubic yards. The crater floor has dropped more than 1,600 ft. Great respect should be paid at this sacred site. Also worth noting is that higher elevation near the crater means that temperatures can drop fairly quickly. If you're coming from the beach in shorts and t-shirt, be sure to pack some warmer items like a light jacket while you're here.
On April 30, 2018, the lava pond from Puʻuʻōʻō Vent vanished and headed toward the Lower East Rift Zone. Puʻuʻōʻō had been erupting almost continuously since January 1983.
Veering south of Crater Rim Drive is Chain of Craters Road. This 3,700-foot drive eventually ends where a lava flow has overtaken the road.
Chain of Craters Road
The Volcano House hotel overlooking Halemaʻumaʻu Crater has been operating since it was a grass shack in 1846. Mark Twain once stayed here on his visit to Hawaiʻi.
TIPS FOR YOUR VISIT
- For your safety, please stay on marked routes, heed all warning signs, and stay out of restricted areas. There is a danger of harmful volcanic gases and unstable land in these areas.
- Finally, allow plenty of time for your trip. To maximize your experience consider staying in accommodations on the east side of the island. Hilo is only 45 minutes away. The drive to and from Kona is about 2.5–3 hours each way.
- Stay on open trails and roads. Closed trails and roads are dangerous, do not enter.
- Stay away from cracks and sinkholes. Falls into cracks have seriously injured and killed people. Cracks have unstable edges, do not approach them.
- Rockfalls are unpredictable. Pay attention and keep away from all cliffs.
- Wear sturdy shoes and long pants, falling on lava rock is like falling on broken glass.
- Do not hike after dark. Even those who know the area must be cautious.
For More Information
Visit nps.gov/havo or call (808) 967-8862
For daily Kīlauea eruption updates: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/volcano-updates or call (808) 967-7328
For a live view of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/webcams
One’s love for the planet is an inseverable relationship. Please take the island of Hawaiʻi Pono Pledge and ask your friends and family to do the same.More