Lava is the holy grail of the Volcano National Park. Everyone sets out in search, most come back disappointed. To ensure success, book with a travel group.
I went with Arnott's Lodge and can attest to their high degree of professionalism and fun. Tours range in price from $60-$90 for 5 hours and they provide transportation, park fees, knowledgeable local guides, and flashlights. Most importantly, they know where NOT to step on freshly cooled lava and the best places to view live flows.
Remember to wear sturdy boots and long pants. Bring your camera, tri-pod, video camera whatever as you won't want to miss it. And pack plenty of water.
And above all, if you drop your keys, don't bother to reach in for them.
Click on the picture to enlarge it and you will see the billows of steam emanating from the cracks in the Earth. When you really stop to think about it we were walking all over x live volcanoe. It is unlikely that it would explode but still you have respect for it as you realise it is much bigger than you and there is no where to run.
These lava fields are on the Chain of Craters road near some of the "newer" lava flows, but close to the Kiluaea Caldera.
In this picture is a good example of Pa'hoehoe lava which looks like burned pancake batter. The lava which comes out of the Pu'u O'o vent flows rather than spews as it makes its way downhill to the sea. There has been only one time when the Kilauea crater actually exploded and that was in 1790.
Walking on these flows the lava was still warm and make sure you have good sturdy shoes on because you do not want to fall down onto the flow...Ouch!
We sat out until dark and we were able to see the glow of the lava as it slid into the sea.
So once your in the park I recommend you go down to the end of the road, south of creator rim road. You’ll notice that the road ends. There you can see red lava flow. The road used to pass by, but in 2003 lava flowed over the road and blocked off the passage. Well walking to the lava flow you will see street signs that are engulfed by the lava. There is a ranger station, which will warn you of all the hazards related to watching the lava. Once at this small ranger station, you can begin your walk to the lava. The train is very uneven and slippery. It was about an hour walk each way to see the lava up close. Now the flows are always moving, so once at the smaller station, reed the sign that will tell you exactly how far away the lava is. Also this area contains a lava arch, which is an arch that water flows through at the waters edge. Don’t miss it, you will see signs for it at this small station.
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Night hike on the lava at the end of Chain of Craters road. Steam billows for miles as scorching lava hits the sea. Follow the flashlights of many adventurers seeking a glimpse of the firey red glow. Feel the night wind and warmth against your bare skin, feel the heat radiating from cracks in the lava...be careful...it might swallow you up!!
The most popular and incredible place to visit in Hawaii. The Volcanoes National Park was established in 1916. Over 333,000 acres housing the world's most active volcano. Mauna Loa Volcano stands at 13,677'. A full day is necessary, and that will barely crack the surface of this enormous place. Hiking, camping, backpacking and even exploring by car are all available options. If you are lucky, you might even see the volcano erupt while you are visiting.
We got to this part of the Island and guess what! There was a hurricane coming. We were not allowed on the trail to the active lava flow and were very disappointed as that was one of th reasons we decided to visit The Big Island. However, the rest of the park is wonderful and empoyees there very helpful and even tempered (considering the oncoming dire hurricane reports.)
Volcanoes National Park is an amazing place to visit. Plan on staying from morning until after dark. There is so much to see, it takes quite awhile. My husband had to stop at every crater in the park, the steam vents, Thurston Lave Tubes, then down the chain of craters road all the way to the end. There we had to check out the beach and the pavement where the lava went over and closed the highway.
Of course you have to spend a few hours on this amazing park!
If you are lucky you will be able to appreciate some eruptions up close... We were not, but a couple of days after we left there were some massive eruptions...
On this photo you can see how the lava have eaten an old road at the park.
Even if the lava is not flowing during your visit to the Big Island, the Volcanoes National Park is a must.
It's a remarkable place with many interesting things to see. You can drive your own car at the Crater Rim Drive which goes around parts of the Kilauea Caldera and down to the Halema'uma'u Crater inside the Kilauea Caldera. Here you can walk to the rim of the Halema'uma'u Crater. The Chain of Craters Road goes down to the coast where the lava flows reached the ocean, the scenery along this road is spectacular and the Pu'u Loa Petroglyph trail must not be missed.
Start of at the visitors center wher you wil get maps of the area and updates if there are any current lava flows. The the Jagger Museum is a good place to go for info on what's really happening and see the seismographs that records the constant earthquakes. If you want to wilk inside a lava tube then The Thurston Lava tube is an option. The first part of the tube is lit but there is a 300 meter long second part that you need a flashlight to enter.
There are also several trails the somewhat unsual hike in the lavalandscape.
If I had to sum up my opinion of the sights in Volcanoes National Park, it would only be one word, "Amazing!" It is so amazing you could only compare it to some other natural wonder such as the Grand Canyon in Arizona. This national park is famous for its Chain of Craters Road, Crater Rim Road and the active volcano, Kilauea. The sights in this park are many and impressive.
Because this is a national park, there is an admission fee which I believe was a $10 flat fee for everyone in the car. Tours are available to this park, but having a rental car gives you freedom of time and movement to cover the vastness of this area.
Kilauea is the world's most active volcano, it has been erupting constantly since 1983. When we were there, Kilauea had erupted only 6 months earlier and when I took these pictures I was standing on one of the underground tubes where the lava flows through out to the sea. We were so incredibly close to it all that I hardly zoomed at all.
This 217,000 acre park is where you will find the active Kilauea Volcano and features an observatory, museum, fern jungles, and Steam Bluff. You can walk through a lava tube and there are also many hiking trails available. The park ranges from sea level to the summit of the worlds largest volcano, Mauna Loa which stands at 13,677 feet.
The Volcanoes National Park was established in 1916 and ranges from the sea to the summit of Mauna Loa at 13,766ft. Kilauea, the world's most active volcano. Over half of the park is designated wilderness. The Volcanoes National Park has been honorued as an International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site. An amazing area and I only wish I'd seen more.
On the back terrace of the Volcano House Hotel is one of the most breathtaking views in the park. The hotel sits on the rim of the Kilauea Caldera. There is no charge for entering through the hotel to the back terrace. This area provides a wonderful place from which to view the crater and stop for a light meal or snacks to have outdoors. You'll also find a full service dining room and gift shops here.