photo courtesy: HVNP
Wide open spaces, a variety of micro climates and the natural beauty is what draws amny to the Big Island of Hawaii. But, the most popular attraction on the largest island in the Hawaiian Island chain is by far the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Home of several active and dormant volcanoes, a visit to the park is a day long event of hiking, exploring, culture and science. A visit includes a scenic100 mile one way drive from Holualoa Inn to the park entrance. Some choose to travel via Hilo and Saddle Road that offer a climb up though the clouds with views of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa in an errie landscape not characteristic of those colorful travel posters. Others choose to take the southerly route via Pahala with a two lane highway that slices though coffee plantations and offers numerous tropical rainforests and coastal views. Either way an early start is a necessity to enjoy all the park has to offer and to expect a drive back to Holualoa after the sun sets.
Those looking to view the glow of Halemaumau crater should plan to stop at the Jagger Museum and Kilauea overlook for dusk when the low light gives way to glow of the crater. Many drive up to the park to arrive after 5pm when the entrance booths are closed and access to the park is free. Be sure to take along a flashlight to navigate the parking lots and walkways are for the most part unlighted.
All visitors to start their visit at the Visitors Center near the entrance of the park for information on eruptions, road closures and other park conditions. The Hawaii Volcano Observatory has a telephone information line with daily reports that provides up to date information on Big Island eruptions. The report can be reached by dialing (808) 967-8862.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
1 Crater Rim Dr
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718
Hours: 24 hours
Admission: $10 per car (fee good for 7 consecutive days)