Hawaii Volcanoes and Lava Tours

One of the Top 10 Hawaii Attractions is the volcanoes that have sculpted and formed the Islands of Hawaii. The Big Island of Hawaii is made up of five volcanoes. From oldest to youngest, they are Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea. Each of the Hawaii volcanoes can be recognized by its size, shape, and physical features. Two other Hawaii volcanoes, Mahukona and Loihi, add to the submarine base of the island.

The best place to get up close and personal is at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It is located on the Big Island of Hawaii. From Hilo, it is 30 miles southwest on Hwy. 11. It is about a 45-60 minute drive. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a great place to learn about the geology of the different Hawaii volcanoes.

The Hawaiian Islands were formed from volcanoes many years ago, and the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands is Kauai. The only active volcano that consistently has lava flow is Kilauea. Kilauea is located in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii and features one of the most popular Hawaii activities, volcano lava viewing tours. Nature tours take hiking tours to see the many volcano attractions such as the Thurston Lava Tube, Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs, Devastation Trail, and the Hilina Pali Lookout. Other popular Hawaii activities are Hawaii helicopter tours where you can get a bird’s eye view from above. Many people also enjoy biking down a volcano, which can be done on either Maui’s Haleakala Crater or on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park allows you to view exhibits, films, learn about current volcano erruptions , volcano lava flows and even take a short guided walk with a Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Ranger. Included in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are the summits and rift zones of two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park you will find some of the best Big Island sightseeing.

Mount Kilauea

Mount Kilauea has been in nearly continuous eruption since 1983 and is the world’s most active volcano. Depending on the volcanic activity at the time, you may be able to view active volcano lava flows. Several volcano lava tours are available. Some of the Hawaii attractions that will be viewed on these volcano tours are the Thurston Lava Tube, 11 Mile Crater Road, and the Halemaumau Crater. Of course these Hawaii volcano lava tours will put you in position to best see the Kilauea lava flows.

kilauea shield volcano hawaii

Mauna Loa

Of the top 10 Big Island attractions is the Mauna Loa volcano. It is an active volcano with claim to being the largest volcano in the world, but not currently in an erupting state. The Mauna Loa Volcano has been nicknamed the “Monarch of Mountains” and when measured from its base at the sea floor, it is actually the largest mountain in the entire world.

Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984. Volcanic features found within the park include calderas, pit craters, cinder cones, spatter ramparts, fumaroles, solfataras, pahoehoe and ʻaʻa lava flows, tree molds, lava tubes, black sand beaches, and thermal areas.

Rising to an elevation of 13,679 feet, Mauna Loa is just slightly shorter than Hawaii’s tallest mountain on Maui, Mount Haleakala. The incredible mass of Mauna Loa has caused it to sink into the crust of the planet–if measured from top to bottom; Mauna Loa would be 56,080 feet high. You can see this marvelous volcano by participating in a Hawaii volcano tour at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park showcases Hawaii volcanoes, craters, lava tubes and active lava flows. A safe and fun way to explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is by guided volcano tour with Hawaii forest and trail.

Mauna Loa is among Earth’s most active volcanoes, having erupted 33 times since its first well-documented historical eruption in 1843. Its most recent eruption was in 1984. Mauna Loa is certain to erupt again, and scientists carefully monitor the volcano for signs of unrest. Safety is very important and all tourists are advised to stop by the Visitor Center at the entrance of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The Visitors Center has knowledgeable Rangers who will update you on current conditions and safety precautions. A great way to explore Mauna Loa is in the company of an Interpretive Guide, where they will share with you their passion and knowledge of the volcanoes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Mauna Kea

Hawaii volcanoes are magnificent, majestic, and breathtaking. While you are on the Big Island of Hawaii be sure to enjoy at least one of the volcano lava tours such as one of the volcano helicopter tours, volcano hiking tours, boat lava tours or the biking down volcano tours. The Hawaii volcanoes are one of the top 10 Hawaii attractions so be sure to include them in your Big Island sightseeing.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Highlights

  • Chain of Craters Road
  • Crater Rim Road
  • Devastation Trail
  • Devil’s Throat
  • Hilina Pali Lookout
  • Jagger Museum and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
  • Kilauea Caldera
  • Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs
  • Thurston Lava Tube
  • Volcano National Park Trails
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