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“Absolutely amazing - a MUST if you are on the Big Island” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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Triple Crater Hawaii Volcano Hiking Adventure
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Useful Information: Activities for older children
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Absolutely amazing - a MUST if you are on the Big Island”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 30, 2010

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!

Thank JWoww86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Gahanna, OH
Level Contributor
63 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Highlight of my whole trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 28, 2010

Hawaii Volcanoes Nat'l Park was the highlight of my whole trip. From Keauhou Bay, I drove the south route and it took me just over 2 hours to get there. I left at about 7am and got there at 9am, before the hoardes of people came. Watch the movie in the first visitor center, it was very informative. From there, I visited the Jaggar museum which was really educational; I learned so much about volcanoes. From there, you can also see Kilauea, which is boiling and steaming now.

Then I wandered down to the steam vents - super cool, and took the hike to where all of the mineral deposits are. A nice short hike and cool to see all of the colors on the rocks. Then I went to Thurston Lava Tube, though I wasn't that impressed with that. Birds were singing like crazy in that area, which was cool. Hiked Devastation Trail, though that was different than what I expected. I thought I'd see downed trees and a really desolate fire charred area. It, to me, was just more of the same as the rest of the park. Drove down chain of craters road, all the way to the bottom to see the Sea Arch, and from there, you can see a plume of steam rising from the ocean where lava is currently flowing into. I did not hike to "the end of the road" nor did I take the drive out of the park to see the actual lava flowing.

Bring food and drink with you, there's no where to get any for miles.

I spent literally all day there, though I've heard others stay for as short as an hour or two. I took it all in though, and had I done more hiking, I could have spent several days there.

It was awesome, hands down. The power of volcanoes, the destruction, and oddly enough, the life they make was simply amazing. Don't miss it!

1 Thank TravelTwin777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Albans, West Virginia
Level Contributor
34 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Interesting, educational, impressive”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 19, 2010

I think most people would consider this a must-see on the big Island, and I agree. Allow plenty of time for the two visitor centers / museums. The drive to the coast is pretty, but long, and no lava viewing from this side. If you want to get to the active lava flow, it is an hour+ drive toward Hilo and in from the other side. That was also worth the trip, especially after dark. Note a visitor may not see the actual lava flowing from this side either, unless a special tour is arranged ($55 per person, I think, from a vendor set up at the end of Route 130).

By the way, don't be fooled by the Route 130 barricades. You are supposed to go around them carefully, not turn around and go back.

1 Thank dadlerwv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Springfield, Missouri
Level Contributor
452 reviews
246 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 669 helpful votes
“The Awesome Power of Pele”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 24, 2010

This was our second trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This time we stayed at the Kilauea Military Camp right inside the park. It was just 1 1/2 miles to the Jagger Center from the camp. At the Center they will provide you with all the information you need to explore the park, as well as up to date information on current lava flows and road closures. When you begin to see the steam vents along both sides of the road, you'll know you're getting close to the entrance to the park. There is also a nice Visitor Center where Rangers will answer your questions and you can purchase some souvenirs.

We visited at the end of September and Crater Rim Drive was closed to visitors due to dangerous sulfur dioxide gas at the summit. We had driven that road on our previous visit, so decided to explore the remaining roads through the park. We started down Chain of Craters Road, 18 miles one way. It ends at the Holei Sea Arch where the road was closed by a lava flow. You could see in the distance a large plume of white smoke where the lava was pouring into the sea.

There are lots of places to stop and explore along the Chain of Craters Road. We stopped to walk the Devastation Trail and then on to Mau Loa o Mauna Ulu where we were excited to see a pair of Nene sitting under some brush on a lava field. Nene is a goose and the National Bird of Hawaii. It is very rare and endangered, so we felt privileged to see them.

At the end of the road is the Holei Sea Arch. There is a Ranger Station and restrooms, but it was as far as we were allowed to go due to the lava flow. We continued on going south out of the Park to Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, the Punalu'u Bake Shop and Ka Lae, the most southern point in the United States. This area was a canoe mooring site for the ancient Hawaiians. The rental car companies don't want you to drive out to the point, but the road was fine and we had no difficulty getting there.

On the way back through the Park, we stopped at the Thurston Lava Tube. It's a beautiful circular walk through rain forest to the tube which is lit well enough to walk through. There is a section of the tube for the more adventurous explorer that is not lit and more difficult to explore. Bring a flashlight.

If you're in the park after dark, you will definitely be heading for the Jagger Center to see the caldera at night. The glow from the crater becomes alternately bright and dim, almost as if Pele is breathing in, then expelling her breath to the stars. And on a clear night, the stars are brilliant and very close over the crater. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is awesome!

1 Thank Sailorsgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2010

Our family took a tour with "Roberts" of Hawaii. It was a SUPER idea. to have a tour guide for this tour! We were taken to some BEAUTIFUL places, AND the information that they had for us really helped us "connect" to the sites. Please, if you go to Hawaii, make the time to take a tour of Volcanoes National Park. It is beautiful! And don't forget the Black Beaches at the Lava Flow! WOW

1 Thank Sabrina1969
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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