Top 10 Things to do in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii

October 24, 2021 Esmeralda Fenner

Hawaii's premier natural attraction offers a wealth of live volcano activity, rainforest, hiking trails and spectacular scenery. See the park's wonders from fifty miles of usually navigable roads - lava flows sometimes necessitate a detour - or take a few days to explore its marvels. Don't miss Kilauea's four-kilometer-wide Halemaumau caldera, Kilauea Iki crater trail, the easy Kipuka Puaula Trail or the chance to pick up a souvenir of the red hot action at Volcano Art Center & Gallery.

1. Kilauea Iki Trail

Crater Rim Drive, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI 96785 +1 808-985-6000 http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/Kilauea-Iki-Trail-Guide-2013.pdf
Excellent
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5.0 based on 1,428 reviews

Kilauea Iki Trail

A moderate 4 mile hike into a an old volcanic crater.

Reviewed By jdc8mbc

Start early in the day, if only because parking is extremely limited at the Kilauea Iki Overlook. There are two ways to hike: clockwise, the more difficult direction which begins with an unpaved path, or counterclockwise, the easier direction which begins with going down steps. The descent to the crater floor is 400 feet... the ascent back to the parking area via the counterclockwise direction involves hiking switchbacks which is easier than climbing uneven, high, and steep steps if one has taken the clockwise direction. If in relatively decent shape, allow approximately 2 to 2.5 hours. Elevation/altitude is about 4,000 feet. The interpretative map/guide is available for $2 at the park headquarters and is worthwhile. Pack a hat/cap, sunglasses, plenty of water and insect repellent.

2. Nahuku - Thurston Lava Tube

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI 96718 +1 808-385-6000 http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/craterrimtour_tube.htm
Excellent
51%
Good
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4.5 based on 1,593 reviews

Nahuku - Thurston Lava Tube

Reviewed By psudino - Weehawken, United States

We saw lava tubes on both Maui and the Big Island and these are hands down the biggest lava tubes. If you didn't know better it looks like a tunneling truck for a mining company created these. Also, the path to and from the lava tubes has some beautiful and lush plant life. It is amazing how the landscape on this island can be so varied!

3. Kipuka Puaulu (Bird Park) Trail

Strip Road, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI 96785 +1 808-985-6000 http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/hike_day_kipukapuaulu.htm
Excellent
57%
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4.5 based on 70 reviews

Kipuka Puaulu (Bird Park) Trail

An easy one-hour hike through meadowlands and old growth forest.

Reviewed By Steve82WCHS - Nappanee, United States

Easy trail with minimal elevation gain through a cool tropical forest. Opportunities to see many birds, including honeycreepers, but go early or late as they are not very active mid-day. Trail has lots of interesting signage concerning the trees and other plants found in the forest. Highly recommended as part of your Volcano NP visit

Hwy. 11, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI 96785 +1 808-967-7565 [email protected] http://www.volcanoartcenter.org/
Excellent
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4.5 based on 232 reviews

Volcano Art Center Gallery

Volcano Art Center (VAC) provides ongoing opportunities for visual artists in all media to sell their work on consignment in Volcano Art Center Gallery. Volcano Art Center Gallery, located within the former Volcano House Hotel built in 1877, is open year-round, seven days a week (except Christmas Day). It is operated under a Cooperative Agreement with the National Park Service, as an enhancement to the interpretive programs of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (HVNP).

Reviewed By kcchin

The art gallery is housed in the original hotel located in Volcano National Park. There is six original hotel rooms which each room is now use for displaying top quality artwork. There was a $2500 (yes..two thousand five hundred) canvas oil which I was impressed with. I believe everything is restored and upkeeped in the original mid 1800’s look...catchment still in use ! Even the small restroom building next door. Living history !

5. Kilauea

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI +1 808-985-6000 http://www.nps.gov/havo/contacts.htm
Excellent
76%
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4.5 based on 865 reviews

Kilauea

Active volcano built on the southeastern slope of Mauna Loa features a caldera approximately 4 by 3.2 kilometers wide and walls from zero to 120 meters high.

Reviewed By psudino - Weehawken, United States

This is one of the highlights of the Big Island tour because there are very few places on Earth where one can see an active volcano like this. There hasn't been an active lava flow for a few years since the last major eruption, which is unfortunately, but it is still an active Caldera. An amazing sight for sure!

6. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Volcano National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI +1 808-964-1000 http://www.nps.gov/havo
Excellent
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4.5 based on 8,241 reviews

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Reviewed By Mikemhs

Beautiful park, great views, great hiking, this is a must on any trip to the big island, allow one full day here & maybe two we were there in mid September lava flows receded & some portions of the park was still closed & several of the hiking trails

7. Kalapana

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI +1 808-938-7842
Excellent
70%
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4.5 based on 223 reviews

Kalapana

Reviewed By ronaldmD6184CT

The two lava flow areas on the west end have roads across them to see the devastation and for the people to access what was once their homes, and new dwellings are being erected on top of the flows. Amazing and sad too. I am putting a picture of Isaac Hale Beach Park and the enormous lava flow showing how it cut off the Highway 137 and redid the park area. The roads are narrow and treacherous to the park, but well worth it for nature lovers.

8. Holei Sea Arch

Chain of Craters Road, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI 96778 http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/ccr_holei.htm
Excellent
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4.5 based on 597 reviews

Holei Sea Arch

Reviewed By Escape-overseas - Stevenage, United Kingdom

Located a short walk from the restricted parking area at the foot of the Chain of the Craters Road, across the lava field to the viewing area, where the power of nature is again in full view. The erosion of the lava by the power of wave action crashing onto the shoreline has created a sea arch in the lava outcrop. A definite photo opportunity.

9. Sulphur Banks

99-165 Crater Rim Drive, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/hike_day_sulphur.htm
Excellent
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4.5 based on 211 reviews

Sulphur Banks

Reviewed By kalamakid - Kailua, United States

Now with Jagger Museum closed, this is as close to Halemaumau as you can get from the Volcano House side. Sulphur banks still profuse, and a nice parking area and short walk to the crater rim. Volcano House on your left, Jagger on your right and the crater in front of you. Good view of the area that has fallen in, which you can get closer to parking at Devastation Trail and walking down the road, but it's good to get views from both places. Also a nice view of Mauna Loa on a clear day. There is an open crater rim trail between this area and Volcano House if you chose to park here or at the Visitor Center and walk back and forth. Nice walk in the trees.

10. Devastation Trail

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI +1 808-985-6000 http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/craterrimtour_devastation2.htm
Excellent
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4.0 based on 243 reviews

Devastation Trail

Once a forest, this area is has been completely devastated by the volcanic eruption of 1959.

Reviewed By kpammy

The Devastation Trail walk is only 0.5 miles long. It has been cut short and roped off so hikers are not able to actually walk on the actual terrain. The landscape here is pretty much completely barren with an occasional tree limb or two. It is nice to walk though this trail to get a sense of how volcanic eruptions can leave the terrain. It is somewhat like walking through space with nothing alive in sight. A somewhat eerie feeling but definitely an experience in itself. To our amazement, we were able to spot several nene goose at the end of the trail, which was a nice surprise! Allow 45 min. to an hour for this walk. The trail is on a boardwalk plank. You must stay on the trail.

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