Great activity for your Big Island adventure is a few days in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park! It is nothing short of disappointing to make your Hawaii Volcanoes National Park experience a day trip. If you are not staying in the area, the commute to the park alone is exhausting and consumes much precious time. In addition, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is over 500 square miles large. Traveling within the park to explore its many and varied treasures takes time. Therefore, plan ahead and spend at least 2 days in the area. The Chalet Kilauea Collection provides many options for lodging, not only for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park exploration, but also the many other treasures East Hawaii has to offer.
Please call (808) 985-6000 and press 1 for the Eruption Update.
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours a day, seven days per week. There is only one entrance into the national park. An entrance fee of $10 per private vehicle is collected at the entrance and is valid for 7 days. The entrance is approximately 2 minutes from our boutique lodging facilities.
The park has over 550-square miles for you to explore. The terrain varies from arid expanses, to old lava flows, to new lava flows, to lush jungles. The national park has both deserts and rainforests to enjoy!
The Kilauea Visitor Center and Park Headquarters are close to the main gate. Take the first right turn after you enter the park. Here you will find maps, a natural history museum, restrooms, posters, books and other helpful information. Informational films and talks are offered throughout the day. The center is open daily from 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. (808) 985-6000 and press 3.
The Thomas A. Jaggar Museum is about three miles from the entrance, on Crater Rim Drive. It is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here you’ll find videos, geologic displays, and working seismic equipment. 985-6049
The Kilauea Summit Region is at the 4,000-foot elevation. Summit trails range from 1.5 to 7 miles. Some of our favorites are Kilauea Iki, the Thurston Lava Tube, and Mauna Ulu.
The Thurston Lava Tube, also called Nahuku, is accessible from Crater Rim Drive inside the Volcanoes National Park. Lava tubes are a common feature of the creation of the volcanic landscape. As you leave the parking area and begin your walk to the tube, you’ll see the general structure of a Hawaiian rain forest. The tree ferns form a dense under-story with the `ohi`a trees growing through to form a closed canopy. This is an easy site to visit although the trail is steep in places and there are several sets of stairs. The underground portion is well lit. Take a flashlight so you can visit a fenced-off section of the lava tube.
The Pu`u Loa Petroglyphs are a fascinating collection of authentic Hawaiian carvings. The trail begins at the Pu`u Loa parking area on Chain of Craters Road near mile marker 16. This trail traverses older lava flows to one of Hawaii’s most extensive fields. As petroglyphs are fragile, stay on the boardwalk. Walking on the lava surface will fragment petroglyphs and destroy them.
The Mauna Loa Strip Road ascends to 7,500 feet. The road is 3 miles south of the park entrance on Highway 11.
Kipuka Puaulu (Bird Park) is a 1.5-mile loop road. The park is one mile off Highway 11 on Mauna Loa Strip Road.
Molten Lava can often be seen but in different places as Mother Nature is different every day. The best viewing time is at dusk. We recommend speaking with the park Rangers to find out where red lava is today. Flashlights, drinking water and good walking shoes are required for this trip. Be sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas. The local gas station closes at 7 p.m.
Frequent Guided Hikes with park rangers are available. Schedules are posted in the Kilauea Visitor Center. (808) 985-6000
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
U.S. Geological Survey Kilauea Site
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