It's like the best Science Class EVER!
Coming here is the equivalent of a whole semester of College Geology. You will learn so much about the wondrous processes of our earth. All you need to do is pay attention at one of the visitors' centers, walk to one of the overviews, and observe the vents of steam and gas that are flowing out of the bowels of the earth.
There is easily enough to see within the park that you should plan on a full day. And if you are driving here from Kona or Hilo, you should realize that driving times will further reduced your ability to really experience as much of the park as you perhaps would like. Some of the most fascination things in the park can only be reached after longer walks of half an hour or more. for example, I would have dearly loved to have walked down to the floor of the main crater, but we just didn't have enough time.
Gardens are mostly described to be green colorful and full of life. Every one is attracted and fascinated to come and enjoy its beauty. This garden I am discribing is too different from the usual gardens i saw. It is this Volcano National Park. Almost everything i see around is black to dark brown colored grounds that has spread over acres of land to the Big Islands´s southern shores.produced by the most active Volcano Kilauea. It is one of the most visited part of the big island. The flöwing lava being erupted changes from time to time and day by day producing different sizes and forms from big and small attractive stones and rock formations. Which for me with a little visual fantasy it is like a vast "Gardens of Lava."
Here we spend time to make lots of pictures about the activities of Lava as they crushed together with the salty water on the shore.
Lava Rock Souvenir??? The Legend says: Don`t! I respect the Culture and their belief.
It is told that Kilauea lava has been continously flowing for more than 20 yrs and will still conitnue to flow for another 100 years.
If you plan to visit Hawaii don´t miss this unique opportunity.
Don´t miss these highlights too:
Thurston Lava Tube,
Volcano House and
the Halema'uma'u Crater.
Try to bring with you raincoats or an extra T-shirt or pants because on my visit there it rained too hard that I have to buy from the expensive Tourist shop a new T-shirt to replace my wet one. Then of course wear a stable shoes with thicker sole because the Lava stones can damage your feet. The weather was not hot but it was humid and it is advisable to drink, drink, drink. :-)
Kilauea is the big volcano in Hawaii that's been erupting continuously for 19 years. Kilauea Iki means "little Kilauea". We did a four mile hike across and around the Kilauea Iki Crater. You descend about 400 feet, then walk across the crater from one end to the other, where you go back up and around to the start. Talk about some weird landscape! Follow the cairns (stacks of rocks) across the face of the crater, picking your way between steam vents and fissures. It's a good short hike if you only have one day to spend in the park.
Still on my list of things to do here - hike to where you can see live lava from Kilauea pouring into the sea. A more dangerous but also more spectacular proposition!
You cannot go to the Big Island and not see this awesome, spectaculor park. We were there from 8am to 6pm. The park itself is open 24 hours, but the visitor center is only open to 5pm. Very inexpensive to enter the park. Bring plenty of film, sunscreen, a hat, binoculors, and wear hiking boots or jogging shoes. Please don't expect to spend just a few hours there. You literally need to drive around the road, stop at all the points of interest and walk as much as you can. There are some places that really smell bad from the sulphur. If you are pregnant, have heart or other problems, roll up your window and keep going. Use this link for a travel guide.
In this picture, the lighter color areas are sulphur. You can walk around or inside the crater. Doesn't smell too bad, unless you get close to the sulphur.
We went to visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National park. Boy, was it far - a really long drive from Kona. And, I'm not sure worth the drive. Do your research in advance if you want to check it out. Make sure there are no area closures and there will be something you can walk/hike out to see. Otherwise, you are limited to just seeing the visitor center. They did show a nice film with some history as to the development of the Hawaiian Islands and description of the lava flows.
It's open 24 hours a day year round but at times there are temporary road closures.
The visitor center is located on Crater Rim Drive off Highway 11 between mile marker 28 and 29 south of Hilo.
Currently, the fee is $10 per vehicle or $5 per individual.
One of Hawaii's most notorious and famous National Parks, "Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park" was established in 1916 as a National Park, a International Biosphere Reserve in 1980, and a World Heritage Site in 1987 to demonstrate the history and living geological experiene of volcanism, geology, and techtonics. It covers the creative process of land masses, the science of volcanoes, migration, and evolution of land from the sea. It also covers the complex history of Polynesian travellers and their inhabitation of the Hawaiian Islands. The protective boundaries of the world's most active volcanoes - Kilauea and Mauna Loa provides dramatic and creative volcanic landscapes in action. The National Park encompasses over 520 square miles of land for science, outdoor recreation, and preservation of nature and geology. It is a thriving mecca for observation, tourism, scientific study, hiking, and camping opportunities covering diverse environments ranging from the ocean/beach landscapes, lush tropical rainforests, arrid/barren deserts, and icy mountainous peaks. It hosts active volcanic eruption sites such as the Kilauea Caldera, Pu'u 'O'o vent, and the Eastern Rift Zone. Historically, Kilauea and the Halema'uma'u caldera were considered the sacred home of Pele and traditionally were the location of offerings/sacrifices of gifts to the Goddess. A 1970 explosive eruption demolished a war party in the area killing men, women, and children leaving imprints of footprints in the lava that can be found in the desert. The first European visitors to the volcano were English missionaries William Ellis and American Asa Thurston in 1823 contributing greatly to the written word, publications, poems, literature and art that focused on the area that is now a National Park. More tourists were attracted to the area in the 1840's settling entrepreneurs building hotels in the area from 1891 to 1904. In 1903, William R. Castle proposed the idea of making a park out of the area. In 1908 Thurston entertained James Rudolph Garfield, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior at the time, as well as a congressional delegation in 1909. By 1911, Governor Walter F. Frear drafted a bill to create "Kilauea National Park". Boundary disputes stalled the idea, but by 1916 House Resolution 9525 signed by Woodrow Wilson made "Hawaii National Park" the 11th National Park in the United States. In 1960 it was split from the Haleakala National Park that it was a percentage part of. By 2004, an additional 115,788 acres were added to the Park (formerly of Kahuku Ranch) creating the largest land acquisition in Hawaiian history for 21.9 million dollars. A major explosion on March 19, 2008 sent debris over 74 acres damaging the Halema'uma'u overlook. A 1,100 ft lava tube on the park grounds was named after the Thurston family as "Thurston Lava Tube". Several other hotspots of interest were developed in the Park such as the 1790 Footprints, the Ainapo Trail, Kilauea Caldera Crater, Puna-Ka'u Historic District, Ainahou Ranch, Volcano House, Whitney Seismograph Vault No. 29, Wilkes Campsite, art galleries, Thomas Jaggar Museum, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Bookstore, Gift Shop, Kilauea Military Camp, and the Visitor Center. Directions: The main entrance is located off the Hawaii Belt Road in Volcano, Big Island. From the Hawaii Belt Road, one used to be able to take the Chain of Craters Road past several craters to the coast near the town of Kalapana, but recent lava flows and eruptions have demolished the roads near the coastal zone. The park is one of America's best National Parks.
The volcano started creation of the islands 25 million years ago. It is thought Polynesians came here 2,00 years ago. The highest point is Mauna Kea at 14,000 feet. The ocean floor is 3 miles below the beaches. Pele creates some type of mess for tourists; lava can be right close by.
This was one of the more interesting areas I frequented in my life. Getting there had anticipation. Once we were there and all alone, will it blow while we are driving up or walking? I do not know, but even though they keep you at a distance from the hot volcano parts, it seems eerie to be here at all. The feeling of desolate life and no vegetation gives the impression like you are on the moon.
LEAVE THE LAVA ROCK WHERE IT IS. IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO TAKE IT AND CARRY BACK TO YOUR HOME. The place is steeped in sacred and superstitious history and you could be blasphemed to death by Pele
We arrived to the site when it was already dark; there were no lights only national park employees, with flash lights, giving parking directions. We parked the car and started walking on the hard, black lava path. Armed with flash lights people slowly followed the marked trail towards the view point. Walking on the lava rock wasn’t easy, it was slippery which made all the visitors to walk very slow. On our very far right side we could see the lava and the view was amazing. It looked like red, burning snake path that runs down the hill and disappears somewhere in the dark. Some smart tourists brought tripods with them and could take great pictures, others like myself tried to stabilize their cameras as much as possible and take at least one non-blurry picture. Being disappointed by the blurry pictures, 2 months later, I got a tripod as a X-Mas gift. :)
After walking on the rocky path for about 25 minutes we finally arrived to the viewpoint. The picture was amazing and about 100 people were sitting and standing on the rocks hypnotized by the creation of the mighty Kilauea. It was quiet and only the sound of lava splashing into the ocean interrupted the silence.
Unfortunately, we could only stand quite far from the flowing lava, not because it is dangerous to get closer, but because…. Believe it or not…. The area beyond the marked view point is actually a private property! Nevertheless it was a lifetime experience.
Before going lava watching buy a flash light and an extra set of batteries! It is possible to by them on site but you can imagine the price.
Once you arrive at the main entrance – Kilauea Visitor Center – it will be the beginning of an amazing experience. The national park surrounds the area of Kilauea Caldera and offers many incredible nature wonders.
Start driving through this vast area and the first thing you’ll see will be the steam vents, you may think that these are sulphur fumes that come from the underground, but it is actually rain water that sinks all the way down to the heated rocks and comes back as a steam. If you stand close to one of these steams you’ll fell how warm it is.
A path named Steaming Buff Trail is also offering a stunning overlook on the Kilauea Crater. Huge area of cooled lava that covers the land as far as you can see. There’s another overlook area, right by the Jagger museum, but this one was less foggy when we arrived and the visibility was much better than the one from the museum area. This of course depends on the wind and this is why I recommend seeing the Caldera from all the possible angles.
Don’t expect to see burning lava from here, and definitely not during the daylight. For the spectacular view of flowing lava go to the Puna District and access the area driving on road 130.
The Entrance to the National Park costs $10 per vehicle and the ticket is good for 7 days, so you can always return and explore this huge place
This was neat to descend into and the drive to get here is 23 miles which is not that far but alot of the road is windy so it takes longer then you would expect. Once you get to the bottom all of a sudden the road stops because it has been covered several times with lava flow that erupted from Kilauea. You will see people walking all over the lava however there is a good chance that you coud fall threw. Another thing to watch for is which way the wind is blowing. Fumes from this area could pose certain hazards to your health but there is a little shack that has current information. Still anything can change at any moment. There are no gas stations on your way down but when you get to the end there is a little snack place were you can get something, at least it was when we were there. Weather here is unpredectible as you will see from the photos that some are really cloudy and some have blue sky. It can also be windy here too.
Another thing to see on your way to the end is the hardened lava that cames over the hills and mountain side. It is really neat to see the free shrubs, gras and vegetation then see these black hardened lava rivers on top.
If you want to see the lava flow up close, without hiking to the edge of the sea, there are tours that take people directly to the site where the lava meets the ocean. We found a local guide, Jason, who took us to see the flow, and it was incredible. I highly recommend his services, and he is reasonably priced. We left mid-day, and approached the shelf where the lava was pouring into the ocean just before sunset. It was great to see this as the light was diminishing, as the colors became more intense with the setting of the sun. I will never forget the feeling of awe and power of this creation, as this volcano is one of the marvels of the world. Overall, the big island was a most magical and life-changing experience, and seeing the lava from the perspective of the sea was really neat. Thank you!!
This is a 19 mile one-way drive that you should not miss. It descends from 3'700 feet (1128m) down to the sea level with its wild coast. It ends where lava has covered about 10 miles of the road. There you will see the Holei Sea Arch and you can walk a bit a long the street and see the abrupt endings. You will see big lava flows from the 1969-1974 that came down the steep slopes. There is as well the Pu'uloa Petroglyph Trail (1.5 mile loop).
This is a highly recommended trail to do even if you do not have a lot of time. It is a four-mile (about two-hour) hike. It takes you first through the native rain forest with some good views down to the crater. Then you will have to descend 400 feet into the crater where you can cross lava flows (from 1959) and it even has some steaming holes left. It is a great way to see how nature slowly claims back the vast land as you will come across a lot of little trees growing back. The path takes you by the Lava tube as well.
Bring some water as it will be very hot down in the crater.
If you are interested in walking all the way out to the lava then get a somewhat early start. Because when it gets dark, it gets dark. Also make sure to bring lots of water and a flash light, just in case. The sun radiating off the lava is very hot. Unfortunately I did not get to see the lava up close because of a late start.
The Volcano National Park is the biggest attraction on the Big Island, as it should be. The Park is well maintained and is magnificent. I've been to the Grand Canyon and Yosemite before, and I can say in all honesty, the Volcano National Park is
right up there with these two well known parks on the US mainland. No trip to the Big Island is complete without a visit to the Park. If you don't have three days to explore the area, be sure to get there in the morning and drive around the park before buses arrive around 11 a.m. The drive down the Chain of Creator Road is a must. The landscape there is unforgettable.
Currently, the main crator at the Park is erupting! (Spring 2008) Only the goddess of Volcano (Pele) knows how much longer it will last. The sulfur level is very high near the park. Be careful!
Please consider visiting the area where the lava enters the Pacific Ocean. The hike is only 20 minutes. Easy hike. On the way back, you can stop at Lava Tree State Park in Pahoa. These two attractions are free! Not inside the National Park, that's why.