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Lava Flows

posts: 7
Lava Flows

I am going to Big Island for 2 nights with my husband and 2 teenagers as part of a 10 day Hawaii trip. We are staying in VNP and we were keen to hike up to watch the lava hit te ocean at sunset ( A friend had done this in 2008 and said it was spectacular). But in my research last night I came across info that says you cant do this any more as the lava has changed direction. Can someone tell me if this is so, and if so can you suggest activites for to amuse 2 teenagers ( girl 18/ boy 15- not great hikers) we are leaving on Saturday! Please help!

Destination Expert
for Kohala Coast, Island of Hawaii
posts: 9,327
reviews: 1
1. Re: Lava Flows

You should read the Hawaiian Vocanoes National Park website for information on what to see. There is plenty to see in the park.


They have a section decribing the current conditions:


Palm Springs...
posts: 11,470
reviews: 61
2. Re: Lava Flows

It is open, weather permitting the viewing are is at the end of hiway 130 and opens at 1730 to 2000. each day

You will not be able to get closer than about 1 km. and havent been for allowed closer for a decade. the area beyond the viewing area is closed to entry by state, local and federal authorities. Subject to arrest and fine for violations

The NPS does allow you to walk closer from the park side... BUT its a 20 km rt hike, across raw old lava, no trail, no water no shade. Plan on a 2 day hike if you do that. You will need a permit form the park for overnight.

By weather permitting thats not rain... thats air currnets. Some times, and frequently the winds shift or die down and the volcanic gasses cover the area makng the area un safe and healthy. They close it then

Toward that end, they have had some unstable weather in the park as to winds, and have had to close the visitor center and much of the park without warning.... due again to a bild up of gasses. It cam happen without warning and happen fast. Be flexable.

Island of Hawaii...
posts: 7,972
reviews: 24
3. Re: Lava Flows

Just make sure you understand the lava flow area is at least an hour drive from VNP and you still have to hike from the end of the road to see anything. Conditions change here every day, it might be steam one day, lava flow the next, or nothing at all if they close down the area because of the unsafe conditions.

Long Island
posts: 1,568
reviews: 22
4. Re: Lava Flows

How about a helicopter ride?

Kona, Hawaii
posts: 4,246
reviews: 5
5. Re: Lava Flows

Some links for you to check out:

Volcano National Park info on Lava Flows into the Ocean


Volcano National Park Webcams


Here is a map to the viewing area:


Visitors may call the lava update recorded message for more information about the lava viewing area at the end of Hwy 130: (808) 961-8093.

Destination Expert
for Kohala Coast, Island of Hawaii
posts: 9,327
reviews: 1
6. Re: Lava Flows

I was hoping this was going to be a review of the famous Hawaiian cocktail from various watering holes. :(

Kauai, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Kauai, Kapaa
posts: 18,968
reviews: 40
7. Re: Lava Flows

>> havent been for allowed closer for a decade. <<

Ummmm, no. We hiked out to the lava about 5 years ago (whenever the surface outbreak was right near the end of CofC Road - about a 10 minute or less hike), and I got within about 2'. Stupid, I know, and should anyone else try this, well... you can extrapolate my opinion. Now, if you're talking about venturing out onto the lava bench, even that was allowed at that point. Again, stupid. (See previous comment.) Both were, at the time, sanctioned by the rangers; there was one right onsite or guiding the tour.

Stay safe, folks. I'm lucky to still be here, I suspect. Fortunately Madam Pele was in a good mood at the time, and I did thank her.

Hilo, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
posts: 29,200
reviews: 4
8. Re: Lava Flows

Also check out the topic "Lava Viewing 2009" which I bumped yesterday so it's not buried too far. It has a lot of current info and photos.

You can do what you are wishing for as long as you stay back the distance. Bring binoculars and a telephoto lens. But like TT said, you need to read up on how to get there as it's not in the park. Lots of info here not only from that topic but many detailed posts from folks like hawaiipalms. Just do some reading of similar topics.

As for what your friend did in 2008, that was after the flow shifted so it ought to be the same thing.

This isn't really aimed at any one person, but to all those reading who are tempted to wander out of bounds. First, it is not safe.

In addition, the land is private down there, not National Park land, so please respect that the only place to be where you are not engaging in trespassing is the area where the County has negotiated with the landowners to have the viewing area.

People often assume that lava flows negate private property rights and that no one cares about the land, but it's not true.

Not least in all this, the Native Hawaiians have religious beliefs concerning Pele, and again it is not respectful to go wandering around on Pele's land. There are ancestral lands down there and you should only be there by personal invitation.

Obviously the National Park has jurisdiction over its land, but most visitors aren't knowledgeable about park boundaries. A licensed guide will be.

Kona, Hawaii
posts: 4,246
reviews: 5
9. Re: Lava Flows

PareoB you gave me a big smile, so this is for you :)


* 1 oz. light rum

* 1 oz. coconut rum

* 2 oz. fresh or frozen strawberries

* 1 small banana

* 2 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice

* 2 oz. coconut cream


Blend the 2 rums and the strawberries in a blender to form a smooth paste. Pour this mixture into a tall (Collins or Hurricane) glass. Rinse the blender. Blend the banana, the coconut cream, and the pineapple juice in blender with crushed ice until smooth. Pour this mixture into the glass with the rums very slowly and watch as the strawberry mixture oozes its way to the top along the sides of the glass creating the flowing lava effect. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and paper umbrella.


posts: 1,307
reviews: 7
10. Re: Lava Flows

OMG, Adeline, you read my mind!!!!! Yum!