Chain of Craters Road, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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  • Hazard sign pointing the way
    Hazard sign pointing the way
    by grandmaR
  • waves crashing on the car
    waves crashing on the car
    by DEBBBEDB
  • Hōlei Sea Arch
    Hōlei Sea Arch
    by DEBBBEDB
  • Blatherwick's Profile Photo

    Chain of Craters Road

    by Blatherwick Updated Sep 3, 2005

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    Coming down from the volcanos to the coast, losing 4000 feet, you travel along a shore road that used to provide another entry route into the park from Hilo. Numerous lava flows have covered this road with the latest one when I was there having occurred on February 22, 2003.

    It is here that you can explore the moon-like landscape and catch glimpses of lava. I really like this picture because of the "No Parking" sign trapped in the solidified lava. Obviously nobody paid attention because absolutely everybody is parked nearby.

    Feb. 22, 2003 Lava Flow
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    • Eco-Tourism

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    Lava Cliffs

    by Blatherwick Updated Sep 3, 2005

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    Sea cliffs in this area are 80 feet high and new land is being created by current lava flows. It is very unstable, crumbling, and prone to collapse. Rangers advise you to stay well back from the cliff edge and at least 1/4 mile away from the steam/fume cloud produced when lava enters the ocean.

    Lava Cliffs
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    • Eco-Tourism

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    Chain of Craters Road: 3. Petroglyphs

    by goshawk301 Written Mar 14, 2005

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    Chain of Craters Road continues on and crosses a fresh lava field of 1969. At the Kealakomo Lookout, there is a magnificent view down the Holei Pali over the coast below. The road descends the Pali in switchbacks. At the Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs turnout, there is a short trail that leads to a lava field with a collection of petroglyphs. Most are simple dots engraved into the lava (perhaps they have a numerical significance), but there are some lovely designs like the one photographed. Depending on the sun angle, different glyphs are better visible/photographed at different times of the day.

    A petroglyph at Pu'u Loa
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    • Archeology
    • Arts and Culture

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    Hōlei Sea Arch

    by DEBBBEDB Written Apr 7, 2013

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    My grandmother wanted to see this arch, so we drove down to the end of Chain of Crater's Road and we both walked out to see it. There were all kinds of warning signs and people not paying attention to them.

    Hōlei Sea Arch Hōlei Sea Arch surf at the edge of the volcano waves crashing on the car rocks and surf
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    Chain of Craters Road: 2. Mauna Ulu

    by goshawk301 Written Mar 14, 2005

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    This is a picture of Mauna Ulu ("Growing Mountain") from a roadside turnout, with offerings in the foreground. Mauna Ulu, a lava shield, was the center of eruptive activities during the 1969-73 eruption of the Kilauea East Rift Zone. Now dormant, you can still definitely see faint steam coming off of the summit even from the distance.

    One often finds an offering to a volcano like this - some are made by Hawaiians to the goddess Pele; others are by people of Asian heritage, who believe that volcanoes are places where they can communicate with the soul of the departed.

    Mauna Ulu, with offerings
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    Chain of Craters Road: 4. The End

    by goshawk301 Written Mar 14, 2005

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    The road disappears abruptly into the lava flow of the 1984- eruption, which is still continuing. It's got to be one of the most bizarre sights on earth! Just before the end of the road, there is a turnaround with a ranger hut, outhouses and a concessionaire with cold drinks (a lifesaver after hiking the lava field beyond!) No parking lot, only roadside parking.

    The Road's End
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    View from the Road

    by Mez77 Written Apr 27, 2004

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    I was in awe at seeing these lava flows. In some cases, the flowing lava has completely ingulfed the road on its way to the sea. Everything you see in this picture (other than ocean and sky) is old lava. Amazing.

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  • goshawk301's Profile Photo

    Chain of Craters Road: 1. The Upland Forest

    by goshawk301 Written Mar 14, 2005

    Chain of Craters Road is a must-do drive in the Volcanos National Park! It branches off of the Crater Rim Road at its southeast corner and descends to the seashore in 38 miles, crossing different volcanic terrain.

    The first part of the road goes through beautiful ohia woods, visiting this and that pit crater along the way. The woods are full of songbirds that are native to Hawai'i, such as the bright red apapane and the olive amakihi . When you listen to the birdsong echoing around the wall of a crater, you might think you are privy to a private concert of birds. It's lovely.

    Pauahi Crater
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    • National/State Park
    • Birdwatching

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    Chain of Craters Road: 5. Beyond the End

    by goshawk301 Written Mar 14, 2005

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    From the end of the road, you can hike a short distance over the lava field along markers to see a relic like this one!

    Speed Limit
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