Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, established in 1916, displays the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution—processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with complex and unique ecosystems and a distinct human culture. The park encompasses diverse environments that range from sea level to the summit of the earth's most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet.
Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, offers scientists insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and visitors' views of dramatic volcanic landscapes. The park includes 505 mi˛ (1309 km˛) of land. Over half of the park is designated wilderness and provides unusual hiking and camping opportunities. In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has been designated as an International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site. It is said that if any volcanic rock is taken from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (or anywhere in Hawaii) that the person that took it will be cursed until it is returned. The same is true for black sand. The volcanic activity generated by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park helped create Punaluu Black Sand Beach and other black sand beaches.
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory & Jaggar Museum
after leaving Kilauea Overlook, you arrive at the Jaggar Museum, one of the busiest locations in the park. Inside the Museum you will find videos of volcanic activity, geologic displays and lots of working seismographs. There is also a splendid overlook into Kilauea Caldera and Halema'uma'u Crater. The Museum has large windows which afford a sheltered view when the weather is inclement.
The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), is adjacent to the Museum. It is not open to the public.
Pauahi Crater, HI
This constructed overlook and deck provides the visitor with a view of Pauahi Crater, and the small spatter ramparts and trail of lava flowing from them. Signs explain the layering of lava as seen on the crater wall.
Puhimau Crater (ever smoking)
Puhimau pit crater is about 160 m deep. The crater probably formed between the mid-15th century and A.D. 1800. No eruptions have occurred from Puhimau Crater, and no lava flows from historical eruptions have poured into the crater. Dense forest surrounds the crater, but a small thermal area lies just north of the crater. Steam often can be seen low on the northwest wall.
Halema'uma'u Crater Overlook
Halema'uma'u is home to Pele, Goddess of Hawaiian Volcanoes. The ancient traditions are honored and practiced here by native Hawaiians. Respect this area.
The Halema'uma'u Crater Overlook is a 10 minute walk from the parking area. From the overlook you look down directly into Pele's home. The crater is about 3,000 feet across and nearly 300 feet deep.
Halema'uma'u changed greatly during the 20th century. In 1924, it was only 1,500 feet in diameter but was filled by a lake of molten lava that bubbled and boiled at 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keanakako'i, meaning "cave of the adzes" is beside the road on your right. This pit crater lays on the boundary fault that encircles Kilauea's summit. Until its floor was buried in 1877, Keanakako'i was the source for superior stone used in tool-making by the Hawaiians. The floor was covered with an additional 20 feet of rock during the 1974 eruption.
Carefully crossing the road, you can walk to the overlook and view the fissures with their still smoking fumaroles from the 1974 eruption
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>>> Wailuku River, Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots
>>> Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo
>>> Akaka and Kahuna Falls (Updates)
>>> Hilo Area(Updates)
>>> Hamakua Coast(Updates)