Lava Flow at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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The Big Island, HI
Lava Flow at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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Since August 2018, the lava flow has paused. This has given Kona town some much needed relief from vog (volcanic fog). Hawaii Volcanoes National Park opened again in October 2018! In 2015, there was an amazing crater lake you could visit. But that has drained and collapsed, causing a crater that is four times larger. You can see it from the mile-long hike to Keanakakoi Crater, off Crater Rim Drive. You can see where part of the road fell into the crater.
My favorite trail in the park is the Sulphur Banks Trail where you can see sulphur rise up out of the earth.
Other trails to check out: the Steam Vents Trail, Petroglyphs Trail, and Devastation Trail. You can also drive the Chain of Craters Road to see the Holei Sea Arch, a lovely outing.
If you're hungry, check out Volcano's Lava Rock Cafe for breakfast or lunch. We had great omelettes there. It's only four minutes drive away.
45 minutes drive away in Pahoa, check out Lava Tree State Park and the Maku'u Farmers Market in Pahoa. The Pahoa Lava Zone Museum is a great place to learn more about the incredible 2018 lava flow (open daily 11-5). There are many cafes, coffee shops, and an organic market near the museum.
Here are some webcam images of current conditions
Prior to May 2018, the lava was flowing from the Pu'u O'o cone, which collapsed on the last day of April 2018. 
One of the most rare and beautiful sights I've seen in my life was the Pu'u 'O'o lava flow on a good night in July 2006. We were lucky that the flow was particularly good that day. Driving down Chain of Craters Road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, we were delighted to see two plumes of smoke rising above the ocean where the hot lava was meeting the ocean. Once we arrived at the end of the road, we walked the paved section until we came to the end of the street, where lava from the 2003 eruption covered the road! It was a great photo opportunity. A little further on there was a No Parking sign, almost wholly engulfed by lava.
Yellow markers indicated the safest route over the lava. We kept clear of the areas near the ocean because these "benches" can collapse and at least one tourist has fallen to his death into the hot water. Once the yellow markers end, we were on our own and had to make our own path over the lava. I Was glad we at least did the first half of the hike in the early evening when it was still light. It was dreadful hiking over little hills of glass-sharp lava rock at night on the way back.
There were eight markers- little white poles with flashing lights. We hiked to the third marker because we were told by others that the view was great from there, and it was true! The third marker was two miles in. Once there, we sat on the rocks and watched the spectacle! On the mountain above us, thin rivers of red glowing lava were flowing down. Then at the ocean's edge, red lava was shooting up as it hit the water, creating orange displays amongst the smoke plume. With binoculars, we could see the lava falling into the sea. Wow!
The hike back in the dark was horrendous- I was glad we hadn't gone as far as the eighth marker. The conditions were perfect to twist your ankle. For hours, we navigated mounds of shiny lava rock. The flashlight lit up the little sparkles in the rock making it hard to see the contours of the rock. I was glad to have a hunky guy to hold my hand!
It was well worth it though. What a rare and magical experience.
We were glad we brought a flashlight each and plenty of water to drink, and that we wore good hiking shoes and long pants- the lava rock was sharp as glass.

Continue to directions...

Two plumes rising from where the hot lava met the sea in 2006, seen from Chain of Craters Road.

This is where lava flowed over the road in 2003!

Guess they can't enforce that rule anymore!

The Holei Sea Arch, near the ranger station in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The road reappears!

The plume from the trail during the daylight hours, on our hike in 2006. Now we were waiting for night to come!

Red lava flowing down the mountain above where we stood.

Red lava flowing into the sea, as seen from the 3rd marker where we stopped and stared in awe!

More red lava flowing into the sea!

Wonderful glowing lava.

Full moon over lava rocks at Pu'u 'O'o Flow hike in 2006. This flow is not happening anymore, since April 2018.

The lava lake at Halemaumau Crater, May 2015. The crater has now, August 2018, drained of lava and quadrupled in depth.


The flow has paused as of August 2018, but in May-July 2018 you could see the glow of the lava flow at night from Sacred Heart Church parking lot in Pahoa: 15-3003 Pahoa Village Rd, Pāhoa, HI 96778.
Volcano's Lava Rock Cafe, 19-3972 Old Volcano Hwy, Volcano, HI 96785.


Click on map for interactive view


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Tue, 06 Oct 2009

This is wonderful! My sincere thanks for all of your hard work and time. We can't wait to return.

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Fri, 26 Nov 2010

unreal photos... love them....

Last Updated: Fri, 22 Mar 2024 19:13:58 GMT

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