Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Posted in North America | April 19, 2010 | Comment Now

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is located on Big Island off the island of Hawaii in the USA. The park, established in 1916, has a long natural evolutionary history. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been designated as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage Site in 1987. The area of the park is 1,309 square kilometres. The park is governed by National Park Service. Hilo is the nearest city.


The park has a great geographical variety ranging from sea to massive volcano (The largest volcano in the world, Mauna Loa with an altitude of 4,169 metres is located here). The landscape features range from volcanic lavas, dry forest to rainforest and rocky beaches. Volcanic manifestations include calderas, pit craters, lava tubes, geothermal vents and flowing lava.


Radiocarbon dating says that ancient Hawaiians settled in Puna and Ka`u sometime between 1200 and 1450 AD. The coastal area was likely settled first.


The park’s temperature varies by elevation. Weather at Kilauea’s summit can be rainy and chilly at any time of the year. The coastal plain at the end of Chain of Craters Road is often hot, dry and windy with possibility of passing showers.


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park features a hugely diverse ecosystem and animal habitats. It has as many as seven different ecological life zones. The park fauna features carnivorous caterpillars, happy face spiders, Hawaiian honeycreepers, endangered sea turtles and bats.

  • 1790 Footprints
  • Ainahou Ranch
  • Ainapo Trail
  • Kilauea Crater

  • Volcano House
  • Whitney Seismograph Vault No. 29
  • Wilkes Campsite
  • Volcano Art Center
  • Thomas A. Jaggar Museum
  • Kilauea Visitor Center
  • Volcano Art Center Gallery

  • Crater Rim Drive
  • Thurston Lava Tube
  • Ka`u Desert
  • Chain of Craters Road
  • Pu`uloa Petroglyph Fields
  • Native Guide Hawaii
  • Volcanoes (The island of Hawaii is made up of five volcanoes, namely, Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, Mauna Loa and Kilauea)
  • Hiking (the park features easy walks like Bird Park or Kipuka Puaulu and Thurston Lava Tube or Nahuku to longer trails like Kilauea Iki or Mauna Iki). Rangers at Kilauea Visitor Center help hikers.
  • Camping (Namakanipaio and Kulanaokuaiki are drive-in campgrounds in the park)/backcountry camping

Reaching Hawaii Volcanoes National Park:
  • By air:
    Hilo and Kona International Airports serve the park bound tourists.
  • By road:
    Hawaii Volcanoes is located 30 miles southwest from the city of Hilo and 96 miles southeast from Kailua-Kona on Highway 11. Limited bus service operates between the park and Hilo.
  • Get around:
    The park has no public transportation.

Entry fee is $10 for vehicles and $5 for individuals arriving on foot, bicycles or motorcycles (valid for seven days). Hawaii Tri-park Annual Pass is available for $25.

  • Volcano House (only hotel in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park)

  • The nearby town of Volcano Village offers wide range of accommodation facilities
Safety tips:
  • Drink plenty of water and wear sturdy shoes and long pants
  • Do not deviate from marked trails while hiking
  • Do not try to explore cracks, holes and thin lava crust while hiking.
  • Avoid from being exposed to volcanic fumes and eruptions
  • Do not enter closed areas
  • Do not swim in the park beaches.
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