Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, on the island of Hawaii, offers visitors a glimpse of two of the world’s most active volcanoes: Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Kilauea is 4,000 feet tall and still growing. Its southeast slope borders the older and significantly larger Mauna Loa, the “Long Mountain”. The 4,168 m high Mauna Loa is the highest point in the entire state.

The park stretches from sea level to the top of Mauna Loa. At the end of the road is the Mauna Loa Wilderness. Hikers will discover a volcanic wonderland here: Rough paths lead through the volcanic landscape with solidified lava in wildly twisted shapes, cinder cones and open fissures. It can even freeze here at night. Kilauea, on the other hand, offers easy access to a greater variety of landscapes and cultural attractions.

On the slopes of Kilauea, whose name means “spread, spew much,” verdant rainforest borders young lava flows. This natural laboratory shows all the stages of forest regeneration from early stages, regrowth of lichens and ferns, through to dense forest. The rainforest on the windward side of the peaks gives way to the barren, windswept Kai Desert on the hot, dry southwestern slope. On the coast, the violence of the Pacific formed jagged rocks. Periodic eruptions produce fresh lava flows, which then pour steaming into the sea. The natural geological dynamic characterizes this park.

Many of the park’s fascinating native plants and animals are endangered by introduced alien species. The protection of the local flora and fauna is one of the most important tasks of the park administration. The boundaries of the park were fenced off to protect against wild boar and weed eradication began.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park information

Location and Size
According to itypemba, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park covers an area of ​​1,309 km². The biosphere reserve is located in the southeast of Hawaii Island. In 1987 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to extensive lava fields, the area includes the active volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa and seven ecological zones (coastal, lowland, low mountain range, rainforest, mountain forest, subalpine and alpine region). The variety of landscapes are sanctuaries for a variety of endangered species.

by Air
Hilo (ITO) and Kona (KOA) airports are served by several inter-island airlines within the Hawaiian Islands (Hawaiian Airlines, Mokuluele Airlines, Island Air). United Airlines flies daily from Los Angeles to Hilo.

by car
From Hilo: 48 km (30 miles) southwest on Highway 11, approximately 45 minutes.
From Kailua-Kona: 154 km (96 miles) southeast on Highway 11 (2 to 2.5 hours) or 200 km (125 miles) through Waimea and Hilo on Highways 19 and 11 (2.5 to 3 hours ).

Rental cars are available at both Hilo and Kona airports.

Public transport
Arrival is possible by public bus (Hele On Bus, phone 001-808-961-8744). No cars or bicycles are rented inside the park.

of Operation Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours a day, year-round.

Visitor Center
The Kilauea Visitor Center is located on Crater Rim Drive off Highway 11, between mile markers 28 and 29, south of Hilo.

  • The Kilauea Visitor Center is open daily from 7:45 am to 5:00 pm
  • The Jaggar Museum is open daily from 08:30 to 18:00

The Kahuku facility is located between mile markers 70 and 71, south of Hilo and southwest of the park. This facility is open on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from 09:00 to 15:00. The gate will be closed at 3:00 p.m. Kahuku is also closed on the first Saturday of every month.

Entrance fees
USD 25.00 per (non-commercial) vehicle with a maximum of 15 occupants. $20 for motorcyclists, $12.00 for pedestrians or cyclists. Admission is valid for 7 days.

America the Beautiful Annual Pass
The annual pass costs $80 and entitles you to visit over 2,000 US federal recreation areas and national parks for one year from the date of purchase. The entrance fee applies to the driver and all passengers of a private, non-commercial vehicle (or up to a maximum of 4 adults in total if per-person entrance fees are charged). Children under 16 are free. If you visit more than 4 national parks, it is usually worth buying the America the Beautiful Annual Pass.
The pass can be purchased at many stores across the US and is also available in advance from various tour operators.

Nāmakanipaio Campsite has toilets with water. The fee is approximately $15 per car per night. Registration is required. The amount is to be paid at the Fee Station. The campground is located off Highway 11, at Mile Marker 31, at an altitude of 1,123 m. The weather here can be cold and humid, with temperatures ranging from 3° to 26° C.
Kulanaokuaiki Campground has eight sites with picnic tables, restrooms , but no water. Camping is free here and registration is not required. The campground is located directly on the Hilina Pali Road, at an altitude of 975 m.

Volcano House
Located at 4,000 feet, this historic, rustic Hawaiian-style property is the only hotel in the national park. It is right on the crater rim. The restaurant sources 95% of its food from local producers. Spectacular views over the crater of active Kilauea Volcano are enjoyed while dining.
Cocktails and small snacks are served in the lounge. There is also a souvenir shop in the hotel. There are cultural events and demonstrations at irregular intervals. WiFi is available throughout the hotel. Accommodation is in 33 simple rooms with bath/shower, toilet, telephone, WiFi, heating and safe. Standard rooms face the National Park, Crater View rooms face Kilauea Crater directly.

Volcano Village
There are a number of accommodation options just outside the park.

The weather at the Kilauea Summit at 4,000 feet (1,219 m) varies daily. It can be rainy and cold at any time of the year. At the summit, temperatures can be up to 10 degrees cooler than at sea level. The coastal plain at the end of the Chain of Crater Road is often very hot, dry, windy and it can rain suddenly.

Average temperatures in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Island in °C
Month Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max 18 22 21 19 21 21 22 23 20 22 21 23
Min 9 7 9 9 11 12 13 13 12 13 13 8th


Activities and Sights
Stop first at the Kilauea Visitor Center for up-to-date information on eruptions, trails, roads, informational programs and weather. Watch the orientation film!

If you have 1 to 3 hours
Explore the top of Kilauea Volcano via Crater Rim Drive. The road passes through lush tropical rainforest and offers views of the Caldera peak. Enjoy the views from the lookouts and take short walks. Visit the Jaggar Museum for exhibits on the geology of the Hawaiian volcanoes

If you have 4 to 5 hours In
addition to Crater Rim Drive, explore the park’s East Rift Zone and coastline via the Chain of Craters Road.

Chain of Craters Road
This 30 km (19 miles) long road descends 1,100m to the coast and ends where lava flows have buried 16 km (10 miles) of the road since 2003. You should allow at least three hours for this tour. There are no petrol stations or catering on this stretch of road.

What is there to see at the end of Chain of Craters Road?
Sometimes you can see liquid lava right from the end of the street. With a bit of luck you can see smoke on the mountain slopes or clouds of steam by the sea during the day. After dark, you may see lava glowing in the distance.

Required Equipment

  • Take 2 to 3 liters of water per person.
  • Wear a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. It’s hot and windy on the coast.
  • Wear sturdy shoes. Large parts of the path lead over brittle, uneven and slippery rock.
  • When hiking in the dark, take a flashlight for each person.

Where can you see lava?
Lava sometimes flows near the park’s southeastern boundary. Drive to the end of Chain of Craters Road or to the Kalapana Lava Lookout at the end of Hwy 130. To see glowing lava you need a bit of luck. From afar, directly from the Jaggar Museum, Halema’uma’u Crater can usually be seen glowing slightly.


Sulfur Banks
Volcanic gases steam out of the ground. Sulfur crystals and other minerals are deposited on the rocks. Starts at the Kīlauea Visitor Center (0.6 km each way).

Thurston Lava Tube (Nāhuku)
A hike through lush rainforest to explore a 500 year old lava tube (0.8 km loop). Toilets and drinking water are available.

Devastation Trail
The trail leads to where an ‘ōhi’a forest was destroyed by the 1959 Kīlauea Iki eruption. Here you can see plants reclaiming the wasteland (0.8 km each way).


Kīlauea Iki
The hike descends 122m through exotic rainforest into a crater where you cross a solidified lava lake that is still steaming in places since the 1959 eruption. The best place to park is at the Kīlauea Iki viewpoint, where the hike begins with a spectacular view (6.4 long loop).

Pu’u Huluhulu Cinder Cone
The trail leads over lava from the years 1973/74 to a viewpoint on the 45 m high cinder cone. Depending on visibility, one can see the eastern fault of Kīlauea, Pu’u ‘Ō’ō and Mauna Ulu. The trail begins at the Mauna Ulu parking lot (4.2 km loop).

Pu’uloa Petroglyphs
This ancient Hawaiian trail leads to the intricately carved stone drawings. The trail begins at the Pu’uloa Petroglyphs Park Bay (1.5 miles loop trail).

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park