Starting at $299
The Volcano symbolizes creation in Hawaii because the Islands were made by erupting underwater volcanoes, whose lava would cool in the ocean, build up, and create land. It was a process that began several million years ago. And it continues to this day on Hawaii Island.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to two volcanoes: The massive Mauna Loa, and the presently-erupting Kilauea. Kilauea’s wild lava flows are building brand new shores around the clock, increasing Hawaii Island’s size by over 42 acres a year. But hot lava flows are just one of the attractions. Dramatic hiking trails and dynamic drives also make this park exciting.
Kilauea is Hawaii’s active volcano. This 4,091 foot dynamo has been constantly erupting for over 30 years. Kilauea’s Halemaumau Crater is believed to be the home of the Ancient Hawaiian fire goddess Pele, and you can hike or drive to pay her a visit. Just don’t take her lava rocks.
Mauna Loa is the largest subaerial volcano in the world. Two thirds of Hawaii Island are on it, and it gradually rises to a towering height of 13,679 feet. Though it hasn’t erupted in over 30 years, it remains active to this day. Experienced backpackers can hike and camp near its summit.
The Thurston Lava Tube is a 600 foot tunnel made out of hardened lava. It’s less than two miles from the entrance to the park, and looks like a prehistoric jungle cave. The tube usually has lighting, but bring your flashlight to explore its darker parts.
There are entrance fees at the park. Please check www.nps.gov for current fees and when the park has “fee free” days.
Check out What’s Going On With the Volcano from www.nps.gov to stay up to date on Kilauea’s latest activity.
Many of the greatest hiking trails in Hawaii are in Volcanoes National Park. Hawaii Island’s biodiversity will be on full display as you hike through several climate zones. You’ll be rewarded with glowing craters, historic petroglyphs, and spectacular summit views.
The Chain of Craters Road is an incredible stretch of road that ascends over 3,500 feet as you drive through the park. It connects to the Crater Rim Drive, where you’ll drive through diverse landscapes to Kilauea’s oozing craters. Stop by the volcanic themed Jagger Museum along the way.
On the coastal edge of the park, there are spots where molten lava flows into the ocean from underground passages. On some days, you can really get a show when a “fire-hose” of lava spouts into the sea. Take a boat tour of Kamokuna to get in on the action. New shores are being created every second of the day, so no two trips are the same.
In 60-90 minutes, you can see all of Volcanoes National Park by helicopter. Fly by lava flows that your car can’t take you to. Soar over Kilauea’s summit to get an overhead view of Hawaii Island’s expanding shores.