Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Photo tour of the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park… a must-see travel destination on the Big Island.
Our first weekend off from Care Taking in Hawaii brought us to the Hilo side of the island. We had two days to explore and started out by visiting the town of Kalapana in the Puna District on the Island of Hawaiʻi. In 1986, lava flows from the Kupaianaha vent of Kīlauea destroyed and partly buried most of the town, as well as Kalapana Gardens and nearby Royal Gardens subdivisions.
The lava flow that destroyed Kalapana erupted from the southeast rift zone of Kīlauea. While we were there several people were busy building tiny homes right on the lava flow outside the park.
You can see our work truck in the background.
Little ferns are growing in the cracks of the lava flow.
A beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean.
Walking on Lava Flows sounds and feels like walking on sugar.
The main park entrance and the Kilauea visitor center in the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is a short drive (about 40 minutes) southwest of Hilo on Hwy 11. This was our destination on the second day.
We stayed overnight at an AirBNB in the town of Volcano (we don’t recommend this as it was very overpriced for the value). We did find an excellent Thai restaurant in town. We decided that the next time we visit the area we will either stay at the Kilauea Volcano Mountain Cottages right at the park or get a room in a hotel in Hilo.
When you first enter the park outside of Volcano be sure to stop by the visitor center first and pick up a copy of their hiking and tour guide.
They also have clean restrooms at the visitor center, a nice gift shop, very friendly park rangers, huge maps of the area and show an interesting movie that starts over every 20 minutes.
We spent several hours hiking along the Kilauea Iki Crater, explored a Lava tube, listened to birds in the rain forest and walked the Devastation Trail. There are several different well maintained hiking trails, from short one-way walks to long loops that can take 2-3 hours depending how fast you like to hike.
Overlooking the Kilauea Iki Crater
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Lush Rain Forest
Entrance to a 500-year-old lava tube – The Thurston Lava Tube
Hiking The Devastation Trail – A Starkly Beautiful Landscape
Watch a short YouTube video to see and hear what it’s like to walk on lava:
At the end of the road (Crater Rim Drive) is the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the Kilauea Overlook, a picnic area and the Jaggar Museum.
Even after spending two days in the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park we still having seen everything there is to see.
We had a wonderful time hiking, sight seeing and spending a relaxing time together. This little getaway was a nice change of pace after care taking a large Hawaiian property for the past month.
Next time we visit the area we will be sure to spend more time at the park after nightfall so we can hopefully get some cool lava shots.
Have to been to the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island? Leave us a comment below.