Home Places to Travel Best Things To Do In Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Best Things To Do In Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The world’s most active volcano, Kilauea, is the centerpiece of this unique park. Mauna Loa, the largest shield volcano in the world, has been largely dormant since its last eruption but is expected to awaken soon.

Attractions In Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, located on the southeastern shore of Hawai’i, is home to two active shield volcanoes. Mauna Loa (4,170m) and Kilauea (1,250m) are both characterized by shield-building eruptions that create a dynamic landscape with ongoing geological processes.


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The flora of Hawaii Volcanoes is rich with native plants, many of which are endangered. The park’s seven ecological zones include alpine, subalpine, upland forest, rain forest, mid-elevation woodland, lowland, and seacoast.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

There are over a thousand species of flowers and over 50 of the state’s endangered species call Hawaii Volcanoes home, including Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian goose, Hawaiian petrel, hawksbill turtle, and yellow-bellied snake.

In addition, over a hundred species of birds are also found within the park. Despite its awe-inspiring natural beauty, the park is not without human impacts. Visitors can expect long waits at the entrance station and congestion on roads and popular trails.

While the park’s iconic volcanoes are the main attractions, it also preserves a large collection of archaeological sites. These include heiaus (temples), graves, paved trails, cave shelters, and house sites along the coast.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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In addition, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park also protects a number of petroglyph fields that are a testament to the ancient culture of the island. These carved rock art images are believed to date back 700 years.

Today, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park manages a diverse range of environmental and cultural resources in compliance with the Organic Act of 1916 which established the United States National Park Service. In addition, the park is designated as a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site under the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Natural Habitats.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a fascinating place to visit. Its volcanic landscapes offer scientists insight into the birth of Hawai’i and glimpses of rare flora and fauna.

About the Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a natural treasure of the United States, providing visitors with an unforgettable experience. Established in 1916, it features two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, as well as a rich history of human culture and nature conservation.

The land has been continuously shaped by volcanic activity over the past 70 million years. As a result, this unique landscape is home to many different types of plants and animals that have adapted to the environment.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Over half of the park is designated wilderness and offers unusual hiking and camping opportunities. This is why the park was recognized as an International Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site in 1980 and 1987, respectively.

Kilauea & Mauna Loa

Kilauea and Mauna Loa are the jaw-dropping centerpieces of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Located on the Big Island, they offer scientists insights on the birth of Hawaii and visitors views of dramatic volcanic landscapes.

The volcanoes are part of a long sequence of volcanic activity that began about 70 million years ago. The park was established in 1916 and offers access to a diversity of environments, from sea level to the summit of the world’s largest volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet.

Both Kilauea and Mauna Loa have erupted repeatedly in the past, although Mauna Loa has been dormant for several decades. Visitors can trek to the summit to peer over the edge of its gigantic caldera, which is several miles in length and width.

Mauna Loa is the most dangerous of Hawaii’s volcanoes because it is possible for a portion of the volcano’s flank to collapse, triggering a landslide and possibly a tsunami. In addition, Mauna Loa is prone to slumps that may occur during strong earthquakes.

Kalapana & Pu’u ‘O’o

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park shelters remnants of the once-rich tapestry of Hawaiian life. But like an island within an island, it is also home to invasive plants and animals that have ravaged forests and scalded deserts. As a result, many unique plant species are endangered.

The park’s staff focuses on the most biologically diverse habitats and those that offer the best chance for restoration. Since 1983, Pu’u ‘O’o has erupted over 300,000 cubic yards of lava each day. This voluminous eruption has changed the face of Hawaii and challenged residents with lava flows.

Lava has cut a swath through Kapa’ahu, destroyed numerous homes, and covered a section of State Road 130. It also buried 14 houses in Kalapana, and devastated the beaches of Kaimu Bay and Kalapana Black Sand Beach.


The massive crater of Halema’uma’u is one of the most iconic sites in all of Hawaii. Although you can’t go inside (because of safety restrictions), you can view the crater from distant overlooks or from the trail below it, which leads to the lava lake floor and an ink black sky full of stars.

While the 2008-2018 lava lake vent is still active, recent eruptions have been initiated from fissures opening on crater walls rather than on the floor of the crater. This is because the volcano is constantly undergoing a natural process that is unpredictable and dangerous.

This behavior is common for volcanoes because the crater walls are the preferred path of magma entry to the surface, especially when they’re under stress. Visitors need to stay away from closed areas where lava is flowing.

FAQs about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

What are 5 facts about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park?

1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is located on the Big Island of Hawaii and was established in 1916.
2. The park is home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa.
3. Visitors can witness lava flows and see volcanic landscapes, including lava tubes, craters, and steam vents.
4. The park’s native plants and animals, including the endangered nene goose, are unique to the Hawaiian Islands.
5. The park also contains cultural and historic sites, including petroglyphs and the Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park.

What is unique about Hawaii’s volcanoes?

Hawaii’s volcanoes are unique because they are shield volcanoes, which are gently sloping mountains built from many layers of lava flows. The volcanoes are also very active, with frequent eruptions that produce new land and shape the landscape. Additionally, the volcanoes are located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, far from any other landmass, making them isolated and distinctive in their geology and ecology.

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