We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Rare Treat”

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Triple Crater Hawaii Volcano Hiking Adventure
More Info
and up
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Waterfall and Lava Full-Day Tour from Hilo
More Info
and up
Big Island Hawaii Volcano Adventure
Certificate of Excellence
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed August 25, 2013

Worth the trip to get there regardless of how you get there. Because of scheduling conflicts we decided to drive from Kona. The drive was not difficult and there very may great stopping points along the way. Plan on spending the entire day. Take water!! There is a restaurant which was a little pricey but good.

Thank a_a_mart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (6,834)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages

5,353 - 5,357 of 6,836 reviews

Reviewed August 24, 2013

How can you visit the Big Island of Hawaii and not spend at least a full day at the park? Every chance I get I do. I have had the opportunity to stay in the park several times, once for a week at the Kilauea Military Camp (which really isn't camping at all) as well as the the camping cabins a couple of times which is a great an inexpensive way to stay. I have also experienced the joy of camping in my own camper van and waking up to a cool misty morning in March no less. I have a couple of must do's besides taking a morning jog along the rim from the Volcano House to the Jagger Museum and Hawaii Volcano Observatory where you can see the orangish pink glow from the fire pit and back. I encourage everyone to hike Kilauea Iki Trail (be sure to take plenty of water) and then if you are lucky schedule in the "beyond the gate" guided tour of Thurston Lava Tube. The paved and lighted part of the tube is actually interesting as is the walk through the fern forrest to the opening from the parking area, but the behind the gate experience is, well, an experience worth having. If you have the time, I would also suggest that you take the drive down to the end of the road where the lava entered the sea (and still does most of the time). Sometimes the hike to the ocean entry is only a mile or so, at other times it is a six hour hike, so be sure to check with the Rangers and if you go wear real shoes, take water, and several flashlights or headlamps. A couple other favorite places are Kipukapuaulu and Pu`u Loa Petroglyphs trail as well as the Sulphur Banks trail close to the visitor's center. Make a day of it or a week, you will be glad you took the time to enjoy the park and discover some of it's secrets.

Thank Richard J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2013

Our family of four (2 adults, 2 teens) stayed at a nearby cottage for three nights while visiting the park over two full days. For volcano enthusiasts like ourselves, it was not nearly enough time. I would say it would take 5 to 7 days to really explore all the trails and sights this park has to offer. This park offers some incredible scenery and repeatedly gives you the feeling you are atop a volcano that is still very much alive and kicking.

We particularly enjoyed the Kilauea Iki hike, which I highly recommend. Pack a lunch for a picnic on the crater floor. You don't need to be terribly fit to do this hike. Also don't miss seeing the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater in both daytime and nighttime from the Jaggar Museum overlook. You can't get close enough to see the lava lake, but from all the smoke and steam -- which glows at night -- you'll know it is there.

Prepare for variable weather. Very variable. There is about a 4000 ft elevation change from sea level to the visitor center and the weather seemed to change from sun to mist/showers, hot to cool, windy to calm, and back again every 15-20 minutes. Bring a rain-resistant cover up and something for warmth -- even in summer (our visit was Aug 2-4). Carry a backpack with water, snacks, and bags for your wastes. We also carried a camera pack with rain cover to protect our photo gear during occasional showers. We wore hiking sneakers -- which have a harder sole making them well suited for hard, uneven ground -- and long pants. The lava can be sharp. For most of the hikes, flip-flops are foolhardy (though we saw some anyway). Older hikers and the less sure-footed might consider a hiking stick.

The visitor center sells guide books for the trails, which we bought as a package. We also had a tour book called Hawaii The Big Island Revealed which, with its corresponding GPS enabled smart phone app, was an excellent trail reference.

To see running lava when we were there, it was necessary to take a fairly expensive guided hike over private property. We opted for an only slightly more expensive helicopter flight instead, which allowed us to see lava flowing into the ocean and at the Pu'u O'o vent where it was originating. The latter is not possible on foot (too dangerous). We also saw some lava running into the forest and burning trees on our flight.

If you are really fascinated by volcanoes, leave enough time to really see and enjoy this park. I did not, but I'll be happy to return and correct that mistake in the future.

1  Thank OnTraveler_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2013 via mobile

If you've always wanted to visit an active volcano, this park is the place to be. Steam holes, lava flowing, lava tubes and many ancient craters: they're there. Large parts of the park are closed due to hazardous fumes from the active volcano, but there's plenty to explore. Bring hiking gear as you don't want to sit this one out in the car! Return to Jagger museum after sunset to see the crater glow.

Thank Stijn27
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed August 22, 2013

Ten bucks gains your vehicle entry for an entire week - what a deal. We drove the Chain of Craters road and hiked a bit at the end. The Visitor Center is interesting and the rangers informative about the location of current lava flows. There was a large steam vent viewed from a number of locations near Jagger Museum. Thurston Lava Tube is worth a brief stop as well.

Thank SandraTLH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Hawaii Volcanoes National Park also viewed

Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii

Been to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing