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.
On the way back from the Hōlei Sea Arch it started to rain when we got up in the central area. I asked my grandmother to let me off to do this trail. Initially I went the wrong way and ended up at the steam vents. So I turned around and went the other direction. I thought it was a loop trail that would come back to where I started, but it wasn't It ends up at the visitor's center. It was raining pretty hard, so I didn't take many photos even though there were steaming cracks and colorful mineral deposits. The NPS website says
Distance: 1.2 mile (2 km) round trip
Trail begins at the far left of the Kīlauea Visitor Center parking lot past the Volcano Art Center Gallery
(The other end of the trail can be picked up across the street from the Steam Vents)
Due to sulphur fumes, people with heart or breathing problems, pregnant women and young children should avoid this trail. Stay on the trail; beware of steam and cracks. From the Kīlauea Visitor Center, trail grades are eight to twelve percent. Wheelchair accessible from Steam Vents to Sulphur Banks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I drove all the way down to the end (where it was closed by a lava flow) of Chain of Craters Road and I got out and went to see the Holei Sea Arch. It was just a short walk but the surface was VERY uneven and it was very hot and sunny so it was hard for me. I wanted to see the arch because a similar arch in Aruba has collapsed and that is always a danger with these kinds of formations, although this one looks like it is pretty study.
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.
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!