Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Phone (808) 985-6000
5 stars from 38 reviews
Address 99-165 Crater Rim Dr, Volcano, HI 96785
The Big Island's number one attraction.

Features
• General: Cost: Paid • General: Educational
• General: Has Gift Shop • General: National Park
• General: Photo Opportunity • General: Restrooms
• Hiking: Hiking • Hiking: Nature Walk
• Sightseeing: Great Views • Sightseeing: Volcano / Lava Flow
• Sightseeing: Wildlife • Tours: Self Guided
• Cultural & Historical: Museum / Art Center

Matt Anderson's Take
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has 323,431 acres of land of which more than half is designated the Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness area with hiking trails and camping areas. The park spans through diverse environments ranging from sea level to the summit of Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet. Looking for information on the current lava flow and eruptions? Then be sure to read Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Eruption Of 2018 as well.


Some visitors choose to drive through the park and explore it in a few hours, while others plan multi-day trips to fully explore the volcano in more depth. After paying the entrance fee, stop at the Kilauea Visitor Center which has helpful information on how you might want to explore the park. You may choose to simply drive the park or explore one of the many trails on foot.


If you decide to visit for 3 hours or less, plan to explore the summit of Kilauea Volcano via Crater Rim Drive. There is an 11-mile road the circles around the summit caldera, though the entire road may not be open. You'll pass through diverse environments such as a tropical rainforest and a barren desert. There are trails to take short walks with great views of the caldera. Easily identifiable scenic stops are along the road - great for photos


Also plan to stop at the Jaggar Museum with information and history about the park. From here, there is a lookout to the caldera with a telescope to check it out more closely. The caldera has plumes of smoke emitting from the large, basin shaped circular depression.


About a half mile from the Kilauea Iki Overlook is the Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku), which was first discovered in 1913. The path to the the lava tube will take you through a fern forest and finally to an ancient looking cave. The cave is damp, cool, and well lit.


For those that wish to stay for multiple days, there is lodging available at the Volcano House Hotel which has been restored and dates back to 1846. The hotel overlooks the Halema'uma'u Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano.

A Few Fun Facts About Hawaii's Volcanoes


There are five volcanoes that make up the Big Island - Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea Volcano. The oldest volcano on the island is Kohala, and is considered extinct since it last erupted around 60,000 years ago. Mauna Kea is considered dormant, having last erupted about 3,600 years ago. However, Hualalai, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea are active volcanoes since they have erupted within the last 200 years.

Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984, and the lava flowed toward Hilo. Then there's the magnificent Kilauea which has continuously been erupting since 1983. Check out the recent Kalapana Lava Flow at the Kalapana Lava Viewing Area.


Kilauea's current eruption flow ranges from 250,000 - 650,000 cubic yards every day. That flow is enough to pave a 20 mile long two lane road for 20 miles. If you were to stack the lava on that road, it would be 20 miles tall at the rate of the current eruption since 1983. However, the lava mostly flows through lava tubes into the ocean and creates layers of rubble to the submarine layers of Kilauea.

Kilauea is not likely to have an eruption like Mount St. Helens because the magma is less viscous. Gas can escape more easily, thus preventing an explosive eruption.
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Matt Anderson
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Nicole L
Joined: Aug 2017
Reviews: 30
Likes Received: 0
Beautiful place 6 weeks prior to the explosion!
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Erik G
Joined: Jul 2016
Reviews: 32
Likes Received: 1
Amazing. We only had one day but we made the best of it. We started in the visitor's center then we drove the 11 mile Crater Rim Drive. We stopped at the lookout points and took some great pictures. On the way back up to the Jagger Museum we stopped and walked out to the Petroglyphs. When we arrived at the Museum the sun was just starting to set and it was the most beautiful site to see the glow from the caldera. Next years trip we plan on staying at the Volcano House Hotel and spending two days exploring this wonderful location.
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Veronica s
Joined: May 2016
Reviews: 1
Likes Received: 1
I was there in Feb 2017. Stayed in fern, acres really nice. The top of the crater was alright but the best part was where the lava met the ocean. Now that was AMAZING! I went where I shouldn't have but I would do it again in a heartbeat. I just couldn't conceive how fast the lava was falling into the ocean like a waterfall so thrilling. My videos are amazing, can't wait to go again.
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Brett D
Joined: Mar 2017
Reviews: 56
Likes Received: 1
One of the favorite places we visited. We spent most of the day here and found so many things to see and do here. Need to go check it out. Seeing an erupting volcano is a sight you will always remember. Walking on lava rocks is an experience. Unless you have done it, it is so amazing. I plan to go back again and take my children.
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Monique
Joined: Feb 2017
Reviews: 5
Likes Received: 0
We had the most fun experience here. We got there hoping to see the eruption from the volcano but when we got there it had slowed down. About 10 minutes in, it started to erupt. So happy to have seen this, such a powerful force. Beautiful nature at its best!
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Dawn G
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 26
Likes Received: 0
We enjoyed our day in the park. We got there just as the park headquarters opened. They had things going on for the kids. The welcome center was a good stop. We spent much of the day hiking around the trails, through the lava tube and enjoying the landscape. You can spend as little our as much time there as you'd like, but I'd definitely take a few hours to enjoy this highlight.
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Vickey W
Joined: Mar 2017
Reviews: 123
Likes Received: 45
Plan on spending the whole day here and wear good walking shoes. You will be walking a lot or you could just drive through. We need to go back and finish seeing more as we could not get it all in but the sunset is a must stay and see. It is truly an amazing place to see make sure you have a camera and video camera. The photos we took here are so awesome.
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Lisa F
Joined: Jan 2017
Reviews: 48
Likes Received: 13
What an incredible place. Between the Jagger Museum and lookout to the Chain of Craters road, we were mesmerized! You need more than a full day in the park, and if you only have one day, make sure you stay until after sunset to see the crater all lit up at night. Just a magnificent view and awesome photos to be taken from several vantage points. We loved taking our time to drive down the Chain of Craters road and made several stops along the way. Hiked to the Petroglyphs and made sure to stop and see the other Craters along the way to the end of the road to the sea. Just magical and so much to take in!
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Debbie B
Joined: Feb 2017
Reviews: 1
Likes Received: 0
Beautiful place. I enjoyed watching the volcano at sunset. The vog can be bad so if it bothers you take a mask.
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Judith J
Joined: Apr 2016
Reviews: 2
Likes Received: 0
Volcano National Park is an incredible place that I never get tired of. There are smoking craters, cinder cones, lava tubes, petroglyphs and of course lava. Take a day to drive through the park to the ocean, and see the 60 ft sea arch. You can walk on the lava and get close to the lava ocean entry if you approach from the south. This place is amazing, and well worth the visit.
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