Witness the fire of creation in two of the world's most active volcanoes -- and the birthing of new land right before your eyes.
Lava viewing, hiking, biking, camping, Mt. Kilauea caldera, Thurston Lava Tube, Crater Rim Drive, Chain of Craters Road
One for the Bucket List
Marvel live lava flows. Eruptions entirely depend on Mother Nature's mood swings and Pele, the volcano goddess who lives inside Kilauea. Both can be very unpredictable -- meaning eruptions may last another 100 years or stop tomorrow. But a drive down the Chain of Craters Road offers you the best chance of seeing live lava flows, or at least the fresh remnants of the most recent ones (if Pele's just puffing sulfur dioxide).
Expect to spend two to three hours to make the 20-mile drive down and back -- and four-wheel-drive is not necessary. There are also tour companies that offer sunset cruises or coastline tours near the most active areas.
Seasons and Hours
The park is open year round, 24 hours a day. The Kilauea Visitor Center is open daily 7:45AM-5PM and is the best spot to ask rangers for the most current information about volcanic activity and safety conditions within the park.
Located on the southeastern portion of the Big Island of Hawaii, the park entrance is about a 45-minute drive from Hilo and about two to three hours from Kailua-Kona and the popular resorts of the Kohala coast. The County of Hawai'i also offers Hele On Bus service to the park on weekdays only.
Average Temps (ºF) High/Low
Approximate Drive Time From...
Hilo, HI - 45 min.
Kailua-Kona, HI - 2 1/2 hours
Waikoloa, HI - 3 hours