Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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Phone (808) 985-6000
Address 99-165 Crater Rim Dr, Volcano, HI 96785
The Big Island's number one attraction.

• 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

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.