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Guide to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Updated: May 15, 2023

Volcanoes National Park offers 150 miles of hiking trails through lava fields, volcano craters, and rainforest. Witness the most active volcano in the world, Kilauea! Take a drive along Crater Rim Drive, a 10.6 mile road that takes you directly to the parks main attractions: Puu Puai Overlook, Devastation Trail and Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook.


Don't miss out on driving the Chain of Craters Road, a 18.8 mile drive that offers overlooks along the way through various landscapes, until finally reaching the ocean where you will be able to view the Holei Sea Arch.


*Update: Kilauea and Mauna Loa Volcano are currently erupting! Here is information provided by the National Park Service on the best places to safely view flowing lava on your visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as well as keep up to date with park closures and updates.

@ Kilauea


The park is open daily 24hrs a day! Stop at the Kilauea Visitor Center open from 9AM-5PM to get some advice or hiking recommendations from the Park Rangers. The fee to enter Volcanoes National Park is $35 dollars per vehicle and the pass is valid for 7 days.


*If you're a Veteran show your Veteran ID on your drivers license to get a FREE lifetime National Parks Pass! This pass is valid for all National Parks within the USA. Luke and I had no idea this was a benefit of being a Veteran, luckily the attendant asked if we were and gave Luke a National Parks Pass right there on the spot, so cool!

@ Chain of Craters Road


Where to Stay While Visiting Volcanoes National Park


Stay at Volcano Inn, our favorite accommodation on Big Island! They serve a Hawaiian breakfast of fresh papaya and banana bread. The rooms are clean and give off rustic vibes with tranquil views of the rainforest. The property even has a jacuzzi to soak your bones after a long day of hiking!

@ Volcano Inn


SAFETY TIPS:

  • Wear sunscreen, some of the most popular trails offer no shade.

  • Wear long pants, lava rock is sharp and has no mercy. It's like falling on broken glass.

  • Wear proper hiking boots and bring plenty of water.

  • Heed to road closures, warning signs and stay on marked trails. The landscape of the park is constantly changing due to volcanic activity.

Be prepared for the ultimate adventure! This Essential Packing List to Hawaii also includes "Things I wish I Knew Before Visiting Hawaii" and helpful tips!

Stop for a bite to eat at Volcano House a historic hotel and restaurant offering views of Kilauea. From Volcano House hikers have access to Crater Rim Trail.

@ Holei Sea Arch

Must Do Hikes


Thurston Lava Tube | 0.4 miles | Loop


Considered an easy family friendly hike! Walk through tranquil rainforest until you reach the 500 year old lava tube. The tube has been closed since the 2018 eruption of Kilauea. It was re-opened in February 2020 only to be closed again due to the pandemic. The tube officially re-opened again on March 26, 2021! This is very exciting news that the tube is still structurally sound for visitors to enjoy, but it can just as easily collapse or fill with lava at any time. It's been around for 500 years so we took our chances.




This trailhead is right across the street from Thurston Lava Tube, making it a great trail to combine together. This trail features many interesting landscapes, the most popular part of the hike is being able to walk across lava rock inside the crater! This trail is considered moderate for its steep incline and decline going into and coming out of the crater.




Easy trail featuring steam vents throughout the hike. Steam Bluff Overlook is right by the parking lot if you are feeling lazy and just want to experience a few vents with a view of the active volcano from the viewpoint. At night, if the lava is flowing you can see the crater glow off in the distance, during the daytime it's steamy.




A short paved path through a barren landscape that brings you to a spectacular overlook of Kilauea Crater. If you would like a longer hike add Byron's Ledge which is a 1.9 mile out & back from Devastation Trailhead parking lot or do the Ultimate Loop!


The Ultimate Loop Around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park


Kilauea Iki Trail Via Devastation Trail | 6.0 miles | Loop


Parking is a lot less crowded at the Devastation Trailhead making this route optimal. Starting from the Devastation Trailhead take the Byron Ledge trail to Kilauea Iki Spur to Kilauea Iki Trail, that takes you down into the crater to walk across. Coming out, make your way towards Thurston Lava Tube! From there take Crater Rim Trail where you will reach Kilauea Iki Overlook. Continue to follow Crater Rim Trail to Kilauea Iki trail to Kilauea Iki Spur leading you to Byron Ledge towards parking lot.


You can add an additional mile from starting at Pu'upua'i Overlook which includes Devastation Trail. Totaling at 7.0 miles.



Check out our amazing 7 Day Big Island Road Trip Itinerary for more epic locations on this beautiful island!

-xo corlu


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2 Comments


Volcanoes National Park has been on our bucket list for some time. Looks like you had an amazing adventure.

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Elena Presagio
Elena Presagio
Feb 01, 2022

Interesting blog! I’ve never seem a vulcano in real life. Would love to visit the lava tube, it looks amazing!

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