This park was the main reason why my husband and I wanted to come to the Big Island and we were not disappointed. We decided to drive around ourselves in a rental car and we are glad that we did! We allotted an entire day to visit the park, and next time we visit, we will be sure to plan at least three days as there is so much to explore here.
The availability of several areas of the park varies due to the amount of volcanic fumes in the air. When we were there (Oct 2010), a large potion of Crater Rim Drive was closed due to the recent volcanic activity. Nonetheless, there was still a good days worth of things to be seen on this road, including the amazing Kilauea Iki trail, the Thurston Lava Tube, the steam vents, Jaggar Museum and several interesting lava flows.
My favorite part of the park is the Chain of Craters Road, which is an 18 mile long drive from about 4000 feet above sea level all the way down to the ocean. It was raining quite heavily the afternoon we were there, but we stumbled across several incredible lava flows and landmarks, including the petroglyphs trail.
You can come back to the park at night to see some lava glowing, but don't expect to see heavy flows. We decided to drive south to the edge of the island and watch the lava flowing into the ocean at night. From what I understand, the best way to see it is to take a boat out and we plan to do so next time.
All in all, this is a DO NOT MISS in my opinion. People seem to complain in their reviews about this being closed and that being closed when they came to visit...but isn't that part of the fun of visiting an active volcano? You never know what you are going to find!
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.