Volcano Hawaii Attractions
Discover Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home of the world’s most active volcano, Kīlauea, and Mauna Loa, the largest shield volcano on Earth. Located on the Big Island, the only place where you can experience 11 of the 13 world climate zones in just a few hours, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park features unique hiking trails and a first-hand look at the Earth’s most beautiful creative and destructive forces, volcanoes.
From snow capped volcanic peaks to the Pacific Ocean, explore a wilderness of twisted lava deserts, active steam vents, lava caves, serene forest trails with giant tree ferns, and the birth of new land from red hot lava. Designated a World Biosphere Preserve and home of the legendary Hawaiian goddess, Pele, we invite you to discover where we live and play… in a magical rainforest on the crater’s edge of a live volcano.
Hiking in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Pu’u HuluHulu. This is an easy, spectacular trail that begins at the Mauna Ulu parking lot a short way down the Chain of Craters road. The trail winds its way through a pretty pahoehoe lava area studded with Ohelo berry bushes. Ohelo berries are a favorite of Nene geese, Hawaii’s endangered state bird, so lucky hikers and birdwatchers may find this an ideal spot to watch for this elusive species. The trail continues slightly uphill, then climbs a larger hill. This area is a kipuka - a mass of land that the lava went around and left the forest intact. From the top of the hill there are great views of the smoking Puʻu Ōō vent, and closer views of the steaming Napau Crater. Total distance: about two miles round trip.
Kīlauea Iki Trail. For the more advanced hiker, Kīlauea Iki Trail provides a fascinating look at the Kīlauea Iki crater lava lake, which, despite being solidified, still emits steam. You’ll navigate a beautiful rainforest before descending into the crater, spotting stacked ahu along the way to mark the trail. This hike features some of the volcano’s most interesting features, including steam vents and cinder and spatter cones. Because the hike follows a steep and rocky path, hikers will want to be prepared for a challenging walk and come prepared with proper gear and clothing for multiple weather conditions. Total distance: about four miles round trip.
Some of Our Favorite Things
- Don Slocum, An amazing local photographer specializing in the natural beauty of Big Island
- Onomea Tea Company - Visit an oceanside green tea farm
- Volcano Garden Arts - Ira Ono's gallery and vegetarian cafe
- Island Tours via Kilauea Military Camp - Kilauea Military Camp offers a great variety of tours to explore the wonders of the Big Island, all with departures conveniently located inside the National Park.
- Volcano Winery - Local wines of all types
- Hilo Farmer's Market - Fresh, local fruits and vegetables
- Volcano Farmer's Market - Every Sunday at Cooper Center
- Original Hawaiian Chocolate - Tour a working Kona Cacao farm
- Hawaii Photo Retreat - Photographers Mary and Ken Goodrich offer photo tours of the Park
Hiking guides in Hawaii
- Hawaii Forest & Trail - pickup from Kona side or in Waimea
Mauna Kea Summit
Mauna Kea Observatory has a visitor center at 10,000 ft. It is accessed by the Saddle Road. Many car companies do not allow you to take a vehicle on Saddle Road, so be sure to check the policies if this is high on your list of places to visit. The visitor center has telescopes and computers to look at, the actual professional telescopes are another 3000 ft to the top and not open to the public. The “brains” for the telescopes are located in the Hilo Technology Park. You will also find a great museum there, the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center.