If you visit the Big Island of Hawaii, you should take a trip to the South portion of the island, specifically to see Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This is a park that was originally established back in 1916. It is an American Park, one that has two active volcanoes. The first, and most active, is Kilauea. The second is called Mauna Loa, a shield volcano that is thought to be the largest in the world. Depending upon the activity of Kilauea, you might be able to see flowing lava in certain areas of the park. There are also many other activities that you can do while you are there.
Table Of Contents
If you would like to see a literal lake of fire, or more specifically a lake of lava, you should visit the Halemaʻumaʻu Caldera. It is right in between two of the more recent lava flows in the park which happened in 1921 and 1961, respectively. After leaving the Ranger station, you simply drive on Crater Rim Drive where there is parking so that you can see the lava if it is present. Once you are done there, there are several other places that you can see within the park including lava tubes.
Thurston Lava Tube
In Hawaiian, this is called a Nahuku. It is over 500 years old, a place where molten lava had drained out and left circular walls that have solidified. There is actually a tropical rain forest that is at one end of the tube, a short walk that is actually very memorable.
Chain Of Craters Road
Once you leave the lava tube, you can take a drive down what is called the Chain of Craters Road. It is a road that was built back in 1928, one that allows you to drive to the Makaopuhi Crater. It later was able to allow people to drive to Kalapana, and at the bottom of the drive, you can see what is called the Holei Sea Arch. If the lava is flowing, you can walk to it and see one of the most amazing primal forces of nature, sometimes flowing directly into the ocean.
Kilauea Iki Trail
You can and your trip by going on the Kilauea Iki Trail, as well as the Crater Rim Trail, which is about a total of 3 miles. You will see incredible wildflowers, and leaves on plants that are literally the size of a human being, and is perfect for an afternoon hike. You will start at the top choosing one of the two trails, hiking all the way down to the bottom. It is easy to hike down, but make sure that you have plenty of light to find your way to the trail at the base of the crater, a steep hike that is well worth the experience that you will have.
Tips On Preparing For Your Trip Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Before you take a trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you should consider looking at a map. You can see where the lava flows once were. You should also find out about park hours, and learn a little bit about this area by searching for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park facts. That way, you will be prepared to have an efficient time at the park, weather permitting. There are many hotels that you can stay at that are close by, and you should book your flight based upon the time of the year that will be most promising for seeing lava flows. Finally, consider taking one of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park tours that is available. This might be the only way that you can get close enough to the lava by going with a guide that can take you directly to the lava flow.
Once you are done, you can stop back by the Kilauea Visitor Center where your journey should have started. You can go through the self-guided tours inside that will show you more information about the park itself. It is a wonderful experience, one that many people return to the Big Island for because it is a very unique experience. There are few places on earth where you can actually be so close to an active volcano and lived to tell about it. Find out more about visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park the next time you go to Hawaii.