Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii, USA

Visit some of the most active volcanoes in the world and watch lava flow from summit to sea. Start this epic journey at the Kilauea Visitor Center. Then, hop back in your vehicle for a driving tour.

Begin the Crater Rim Drive Tour at Kilauea Overlook, which has some of most breath-taking views of the Kilauea caldera and Halema'uma'u crater. Then, drive clockwise to the Steaming Bluff and the Sulphur Banks (Ha'akulamanu), a 1.2-mile round trip accessible trail where you can see colorful minerals and crystals. Proceed to Kilauea Iki Overlook, which is my favorite. From here, a beautiful 1.5-mile round trip hike takes you to the Thuston Lava Tube (Nahuku), which is a 500-year old cave that used to be a lava flow. The drive finishes up with the Pu'u Pua'i Overlook, which offers the Devastation Trail hike. This 1-mile round trip hike shows the areas hardest hit from the 1959 eruption. There is also a short hike to the nearby Keanakako'i Crater. Much of the sites on this driving tour are accessible to hikers via the Crater Rim Trail.

Another must-do driving tour is the Chain of Craters Road. Notable stops along this 19-mile route include the Puhimau Crater, Pauahi Crater, and short hike to the Pu'u Huluhulu cinder cone. However, these wonders don't compare to what lies next on the road. You start to get into lava flows. I love the alien landscape caused by Mauna Ulu. Then after the Kealakomo Overlook comes the Alanui Kahiko. Here you can see two types of lava covering the road. Moving on, you'll come to the largest petroglyph site in Hawaii at Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs. A 1.4-mile round trip trail features a boardwalk that brings you close to some of the 20,000+ petroglyphs. As you finish your drive down the road, you are greeted with the Holei Sea Arch, viewed in dramatic fashion from a rocky cliff edge.

The park is full of backcountry hiking if you are so incluned. For lodging, the Volcano House is a historic restored lodge. Outside the park, there are several options in Volcano Village. Campers have two options. The Namakanipaio Campground is popular and also offers rustic camper cabins. Kulanaokuaiki Campground is a smaller option with few amenities.

Happy Travels!