I saw the drawings of petroglyphs mounted on the walls of the movie theatre in the Visitor's Center and found them interesting so I decided I wanted to see them in person. There is a trail near the bottom of along Chain of Craters Road at Milepost 16.5. From the pullout parking area it is a 0.7-mile walk over a pahoehoe lava bedrock trail to reach the boardwalk at Pu`uloa where I saw the petroglyphs. Some of the first ones I saw, I did not recognize right away - it wasn't until I saw the more obvious ones that I realized that those things I had seen earlier were also petroglyphs.
Hilina Pali Road leads to Kipuka Nene campground, sweeping vistas of the coast, and several backcountry trails.
All overnight backcountry hikers must register at the vistors center prior to their trip.
There is nothing "off the beaten" path, and most of the accessible area is well trodden. Stop along your drive to the volcano site to marvel at the sulfur pits ... I think it just amazing how something so beautiful can smell so BAD!
According to Hawaiian legend, Pele's first home was Kauai, the oldest island in the chain, but the goddess of the sea chased Pele from iland until she finally came to rest in Halema'uma' Crater, in Kilauea Caldera, where she still resides today.
When was the last time you walked on earth that was only minutes old? Very few visitors who go to the Big Island go out to see and touch the molten rock flowing from Pu‘u ‘Ô‘ô.
Kilauea's lava flow update available here:
After entering Volcanoes National Park, drive to the end of Chain of Craters Road, then hike out onto the old flows. It was about 2.5 miles one way to the current flow the day we went. Here you can actually touch (with a stick) the glowing and flowing red lava. However, let me say this: It is dangerous for the inexperienced to go out near the flows alone. This site has some good info:
Those are VERY IMPORTANT warnings to heed if you plan on going it alone. READ IT THOROUGHLY! Between the gas clouds and the heat to the chances of having your exit path getting cut off by a new flow or, even worse, a bench collapse, you need an experienced person out there to guide and direct you. And then there is the dialogue that only a guide can offer that details what you are viewing.
The lava has been flowing continuously from Pu‘u ‘Ô‘ô since 1983. So there's a good chance it will still be flowing in the near future. Roll the dice and see what you get.
We used Arnott's Lodge for the guided tour. It was a long hike and we saw some unusual sights. Between the sun shining on the black rock we walked upon and the heat from the lava near the current flow, it was like an oven. But they still advise wearing pants (jeans) to keep your legs covered in the event of a fall and to wear comfortable hiking shoes. But be mindful, your shoes could melt or come apart as some did in our group.
Check my Travelogue for more photos of the lava.
During our visit in Sept. 2002, we went to the end of Chain of Craters Road in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park before dawn on two consecutive mornings. The lava was right there crossing the end of the road. This made it so easy. On our previous trip a year earlier we had an arduous 2.5 mile hike across the old fields to get to the fresh stuff. My wife, because of her short stature, had a tough time with it. Now it was right there at the end of the road.....wheelchair accessible and all! :)
This is an infrared "nightshot". The hotspots really show. The view at night from the road looking back up the slopes really was spectacular. You could see uphill for 5 or 6 miles and the orange glow of the surface flows all the way down to the sea. After daylight, all you see is a lighter grey color on the fresh flows and only the reddish-orange close up.
More photos and details in my travelogue.
For some awesome photos of the lava and current lava flow updates, go to Arnott's Lodge's website.
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When we were here, this hotel was closed for remodeling. It might have needed it - my sister visited...more
11-3802 Twelfth St/PO Box 205, Hawaii, 96718, United States
Good for: Business
The park ranger told us about this place and we passed it also on the ship's tour. I did not know...more