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Bus to Volcano National Park

New Orleans, LA
posts: 1
reviews: 1
Bus to Volcano National Park

Rental cars are scarce and trying to save money. Has anyone ever taken a bus/shuttle to Volcano National Park from Kona or Hilo?

Island of Hawaii...
posts: 7,972
reviews: 24
1. Re: Bus to Volcano National Park

No shuttle, but you can check the Hele-On bus schedule, there probably is one going by every day.

Pahoa. HI
posts: 1,111
2. Re: Bus to Volcano National Park

Not an easy one, and I don't know anyone who has ever done this. But there IS a bus from Hilo to Volcano. You can check the Hele-On website:

http://www.heleonbus.org/schedules-and-maps

There are apparently three daily buses from Hilo to Volcano, leaving Prince Kuhio Plaza (right outside the Food Court) as follows:

5:15a.m.

3:10p.m.

5:10p.m.

55 minutes to the Visitors' Center in HVNP.

For some reason, only two buses in the opposite direction, leaving HVNP:

6:10a.m.

5:50p.m.

In other words, the only real practical option is the 5:15 morning bus from Hilo, returning on the 5:50p.m. bus.

A rental car would obviously make things MUCH easier! On the plus side, the bus is free of charge.

Edited: 1:54 pm, December 22, 2009
oregon
posts: 1,298
reviews: 7
3. Re: Bus to Volcano National Park

The park is BIG. I'm not sure what you'd do once the bus drops you off.

Pahoa. HI
posts: 1,111
4. Re: Bus to Volcano National Park

Forgot to mention one thing; the bus makes a whole lot of stops in Hilo, not just at Prince Kuhio Plaza. The website will give you all the necessary info.

Yes, the park is indeed large, but if someone were to take the morning bus up there and then back just before 6 p.m. they would have more than ten hours in the park. That would be enough to walk from the VC (Visitors' Center) to Jaggar Museum. Back past the VC to the Kilauea Iki outlook. Do the entire Kilauea Iki 4 mile hike and throw in the Thurston Lava Tube in the process. Walk back to VC.

I'm estimating about 11 miles for all of the above. Can easily be accomplished in ten hours' time as long you're used to walking!

5. Re: Bus to Volcano National Park

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Denver, Colorado
posts: 2,240
reviews: 25
6. Re: Bus to Volcano National Park

Yep no way to explore the park w/o a car (too spread out and no park bus service either like some of other national parks).

Cheapest will be a rental car if you can find one, if not a tour service is your next best deal.

If you are really tight on cash, some of the hostels have day trips to the park.

Kona, Hawaii
posts: 4,246
reviews: 5
7. Re: Bus to Volcano National Park

If you are not able/going to rent a car I would do a tour, so much easier than trying to deal with the bus system. Check out Arthur at Big Island Excapes, he might even pick you up if it is not a cruise ship day

http://bigislandescapes.com/

Palm Springs...
posts: 11,470
reviews: 55
8. Re: Bus to Volcano National Park

Bigisland Escapes is no more... it merged with Volcano Discovery as of this month Hawaii@volcanodiscoveries .com. is the new company.

Even better service than before.

Not having a car in the park is worthless.... The Hike palms described is closer to 20 miles... and can be tough in the so3 !!!! The rim between the Jagger and Visitor center REGULARY gets shut or closed due to unhealthy conditions for short bits of time....... Walking is not an option nor wise.

There are no forms of public transport in the park...none no shuttles, busses...zero..zilch..nichts..nada.

Go with a tour or put it off to another time.

Pahoa. HI
posts: 1,111
9. Re: Bus to Volcano National Park

Since we havn't heard from NOLAgirl in a while, this may all be a moot point, but I need to address some of the issues that Dan brought up in the post above.

Yes, I agree 100% - for most visitors, visiting HVNP without a car would be a real bad idea, and not something I would ever recommend. BUT OP asked specifically if it's possible to take a bus to HVNP, which it IS - assuming you're prepared to get up real early. I don't know if that also means that OP is into serious longdistance walking/hiking, but I answered based on the assumption that this is at least a possibility.

I have run numerous races in HVNP. I have also on four occasions done the Hilo to Volcano 50K race (31.1 miles, climb from sealevel to 4000 ft) as a powerwalk in under six hours, If there's anyone here who believe they have more experience in longdistance walking, feel free to speak up and add your opinion! And based on my experience, and based on what I know about HVNP, the walk/hike that I outlined above can easily (big understatement) be accomplished in ten hours, or less. It would be a very relaxed day as far as I'm concerned. The distance is between 11 and 12 miles. And that's a fact. That would involve walking from the Visitors' Center to Jaggar Museum, turn around and then walk back to the Kilauea Iki outlook. Do the Kilaea Iki hike, throw in the Thurston Lava tube, and then back to the Visitors' Center.

Palm Springs...
posts: 11,470
reviews: 55
10. Re: Bus to Volcano National Park

WOW.... Palms is pretty hard core.... I dont thing I could keep up and I hike every day 2 to 3 miles. in National Parks on the west side.

My caution is that the prevailing conditions of any day are subject to change.

Un helathy change change in rapid order and being caught on foot with no place to take shelter from volcanic gas could prove not good.

As an example I was in the park for a week recently aand little changes in the weather... with no notice, caused the Jagger, the Visitor Center to be closed and evacuated for health reasons. Only cars with closed air systems could manage. Even the confrence I was at had to be evacuated.... Rangers all carry a gas detection meter and know when its time to beat feet.... I thus would not feel it prudent to have no option avaiable.