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“Fun to see, lots of steam and gas, no active lava flow” 4 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
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Useful Information: Activities for older children
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
291 reviews
169 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 228 helpful votes
“Fun to see, lots of steam and gas, no active lava flow”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2011

There are lots of steam vents and gas to see, no active lava flow. Part of the park was closed due to the immense amounts of gas. The caldera was so barren it looks like the surface of the moon. Would recommend coming here as well as a few of the hikes such as the Kilauea Iki Trail and Thurston Lava Tube.

1 Thank MissMandaMay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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New Jersey
Level Contributor
302 reviews
147 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
“Outdoor wonder!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 28, 2010

Volcanoes National Park was a beautiful landscape of desert, rainforest and lava fields. I definitely recommend driving the main road and checking out the steam vents, the crater, the lava fields and the lava tubes, which are immersed in a rainforest. We didn't do much hiking, it was extremely windy the day we were there, but we drove around and got out at all of the various stops. I think that we got a true feel for the various landscapes of the Park and got to see everything we had hoped for. The BEST part was the nighttime walking lava tour. It was truly one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Our guided tour took about 2 1/2 hours each way. We walked through pitch black lava fields and ended up SO close to the hot lava, we could feel the heat. We sat there and watched the lava pour into the ocean for 20 mins and it was amazing! It truly was unlike anything we've ever seen.

1 Thank Jhn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Mother nature determines all.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 22, 2010

We took the Nui Pohaku volcano and lava tour. The company picked us up at Roy's and drove us across the island giving us the history of the island. This was interesting and informative. The only complaint I have about this part of the tour is that our driver DID NOT stop talking the entire 2 1/2 hours across the island which did not really allow any of us to ask any questions. Our next stop was the Thurston lava tube. Very interesting and we had a different guide, Nathan. He was pretty typical of what you'd expect of an islander, very laid back, but extremely knowledgeable and fun. Our last guide, Sean, had only been giving tours for about a year and a half and it showed. He gave us no island info, unless you count all the reasons why you should move the the Hilo area (no electricity or plumbing, lots of rain, not great beaches, but a great place to live). He should read up on the history if he wants to give tours, because not all of us are interested in a true island life. We didn't get to see any lava, but because it rained and the lava doesn't always flow. You take a chance with nature, but the experience is still worth the time and effort.

Thank chk1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Level Contributor
461 reviews
168 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 189 helpful votes
“Worth the visit.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2010

We were in Volcano for two nights – got here around 3pm the first day and then had another full day in the area. It’s worth it to stop at the Kilauea visitor center for a map and info from the rangers. We went to the end of Chain of Craters Road for a fantastic view of the ocean and a beautiful sea arch. Well worth the 12+ mile drive. The Jaggar museum is also worth going through. You can view Kilauea from here (see the smoke) and then return at night for a different perspective (it’s glowing red). The second day we hiked the Kilauea Iki trail – about 4 miles round trip for this loop hike. Start to the right of the parking lot, walk down to the crater and walk on this huge area. It’s very stunning in a different sort of way. Then hike back up via switchbacks (that’s why you start to the right of the parking lot – easier to get back up). Definitely a different type of hike and I would consider it easy for anyone who hikes much. We wore our hiking boots and were glad we did since it had rained the night before and it was a little muddy. The Thurston tube is at the end of the hike so it’s just a short walk to go through it. It’s interesting only because of its age and trying to imagine the lava flowing through it but it’s really just like a cave. We were VERY impressed by the Arts Center near the visitor center – it’s a nonprofit and filled with very nice upscale art from local artists. Definitely worth going through if you enjoy art. While in the area, we went to the Volcano Winery where they have complimentary wine tasting. Very friendly staff and they have a small gift shop.

1 Thank RBonTheLake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ashburn, VA
Level Contributor
185 reviews
72 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 192 helpful votes
“Once in a lifetime experience!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 8, 2010

This place is fantastic!! We ended up visiting the park on November 11th, which was Veterans Day…so there was no admission fee. We stopped at the Visitors Center, which is just inside the park gates. We looked around a bit and picked up a map. Then we hit the road. We headed down Crater Rim Drive first, toward the Jaggar Museum. On the way, we stopped to check out the Steam Vents (easy walk from the parking area). It was really odd to see steam coming from the earth like that. This is where we got our first look at the Kilauea Crater…you can see it in the distance from a little viewing area near the vents. After our first look at the crater, we were so excited to see it closer!! We headed to the Jaggar Museum (when we visited on 11/11/10, Crater Rim Drive was closed beyond the Jaggar Museum). We got out of the car and walked toward the museum. This is the only place during our entire trip where we detected a sulfur-like smell in the air. Certainly not overpowering in any way - and once you pass the National Park sign for the museum, the smell went away. We walked around the museum to check out the displays. They have a bunch of huge rolls of paper behind a glass wall which appear to be tracking seismic activity all over the area. They also have some samples of lava for you to check out. There is also a small Vistors Center where you can pick up some souvenirs. Don’t plan to eat here – there is no food or drink. Then, the big moment….we walked over to the viewing area and there it was….the Kilauea Crater!! There was a vent in the crater with steam pouring out constantly (thankfully the steam was heading away from the viewing area). As of our visit, there was no visible, flowing lava here….just steam. But it is an amazing view. According to one of the rangers that was walking around, the lava is about 150 feet below the surface. I could have just starred at it for days. But, we didn’t have days….so we left the Jaggar and came back down Crater Rim Drive, heading back towards the Visitors Center and the Park Entrance.

Just past the Visitors Center, you need to turn right to stay on Crater Rim Drive. If you miss this turn, you will end up at the Park Entrance/Exit gate. Next, we stopped at the Thurston Lava Tube. You can’t miss it. There will most likely be cars parked along the road and buses everywhere. You take a path thru the woods to the tube. Signs point you in the right direction. The first part of the tube is lit and no additional lighting (like a flashlight) is really needed. It’s pretty amazing to walk through a tube in the earth where lava used to flow. At the end of the lit tube, you can either leave (exit to the right) or continue straight (up and over) into the unlit part of the tube. You WILL need a LIGHT!! You also will need to be able to get down a small rocky slope to get into the tube (and you exit the same way you came in). Some people were walking part way into the tube using the light from their cell phone. This worked at the beginning, but once you were deep inside, you really need a flashlight. The place is pitch black inside if you turn your lights off. We made it to the “end”, I think…until we couldn’t walk any further. There isn’t much more to see in the unlighted part of the tube vs. the lighted part of the tube…it was just fun to go into a really dark cave and walk around. Once we got deep in the cave, we were virtually alone. Back at the entrance to the cave, we had another couple take our photo inside. It’s really strange to have your picture taken in the dark.

We got back to the car and headed down Crater Rim Drive and turned left onto the Chain of Craters Road. There were all kinds to lava flows and craters to check out on this road. We stopped a few times to check out the view. Finally, we reached the end of the road. We parked and walked across the hardened lava to the edge of the cliff. There is a viewing area here to see the Holei Sea Arch. It is an amazing sight!! A huge arch cut out of the side of the cliff. The waves crash up against the side the cliff and the arch – just beautiful. Now, you can park here and walk to the actual end of the road – where a past lava flow ran across the road. I think it is less than a 2 mile walk. But we decided not to do the walk. I wish now we had. We were just running out of time and were worried we wouldn’t make it to the lava viewing area outside the park before it closed. We headed back up the Chain of Craters Road and at one point, noticed a car pulled over to the side of the road. We stopped to check things out. We found you could see the steam rising at the point where the lava is entering the ocean. Too cool for school!!

Later that night, we came back to the Jaggar Museum. The park appears to be open 24 hours a day. I assume you only pay to enter the park during the daytime, so once night falls and its dark outside, you can enter the park for free. Back at the Jaggar Museum, it was a bit cold outside, but the view made it worth the chill. Now, where we had this afternoon seen steam, we now saw a beautiful red glowing spot in the earth. The steam was still flowing, but now the whole vent was awash in a red/orange glow and just was just an amazing sight to be seen. For the most part, the visitors that were there that night were very quite, as if talking would anger Pele. It was amazing. Everyone just silently enjoying the serenity and beauty of nature. Because it was quite dark here too, a flashlight is helpful to get you from the parking lot to the viewing area. If you plan to take pictures (and who wouldn’t want to do that), be advised that taking a picture in the dark of a small red glowing spot in the earth is challenging. A tripod really helps, as you will probably need to set your camera for a longer than average exposure. If you try doing this while holding the camera, it is nearly impossible not to move. There are stone walls that encompass the viewing area, so if you don’t have a tripod, you can try to use the wall to steady your hands or the camera itself. Regardless, do NOT miss this place at night!!

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

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