ETA: Unfortunately, due to the increased seismic activity that has been going on around the active volcano, Kilauea, Hawai’i’s Volcanoes National Park is all or partially closed. You are unable to access the park until the area is deemed safe for visitors.
There is a lot to do at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park; you could spend days there exploring and hiking and still not make it through the entire park. However, to see an active volcano up close is such an amazing experience.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park displays the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution — processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with unique ecosystems, and a distinct human culture. The park highlights two of the world’s most active volcanoes, and offers insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and views of dramatic volcanic landscapes.
The drive there, depending on where you are coming from can be mostly blue skies and beautiful ocean views like we had the first time we visited. You could also be coming from the other side of the island where It doesn’t look like it’ll be a lovely day out.
If you are coming from the Kona side of the island, the drive down there was beautiful in every way possible. You get to see the coastline, fields, mountains, and so much more. Once you get to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, you know you are driving up the mountain, and at one point you reach 4000 feet!
There are many sites to see while there, and it is best if you decide to spend the entire day there and see as much as possible. There is even a hotel you can stay at, which we may need to do one day so that we can go to the Volcano Crater and see the glow of the lava coming out of the top.
These are cool to see; you can see the steam coming up from the ground in many spots, and you do have to be very careful, it’s HOT! All part of being on an active volcano!
Halema‘uma‘u and the eruptive vent
What a site! The crater is just massive, and you can walk around most of it, there is a spot where they have it closed off due to the steam coming out of it. There are even spots where you can hike across parts of the crater. You can’t go to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and not see the main part of the active volcano!
Thurston Lava Tube
The lava tube is incredible to walk through. Just think about walking through a huge, dark, tunnel. It’s wet in there and knowing that lava once flowed through there is just amazing. These tubes are all over the island, and you can even find them on the roadside. They were created when the outer lava hardens before the middle lava flow does, leaving a tunnel for the lava to flow through. Then they are hollow when the lava is done flowing.
There are a ton of hiking trails throughout the park. Some go through forests, some across craters, and some are just out in the open for hiking from one location to the next.
We’ll be making another trip there to explore more of the park but also so that we can go over to the area where you can see the lava flow into the ocean!