Hawaii Volcanoes National Park covers a 520-square mile area on Hawaii Island, the "Big Island" of Hawaii. It is the home of two active volcanoes: Kilauea, which is one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world's largest shield volcano. The park provides us with insight into the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and the processes of volcanism. For visitors, the park offers dramatic views of volcanic landscapes and rare flora and fauna. With more than 150 miles of trails, you can choose from easy walks, such as the Bird Park/Kipuka Puaulu trail, or moderate hikes, like those along Kilauea Iki or Mauna Iki.
The park encompasses a variety of climates, including lush tropical rain forest and barren desert. Elevation ranges from sea level to the summit of the world's largest volcano, Mauna Loa, at 13,677 feet.
There are five volcanoes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Mauna Loa and Kilauea are currently active. Another active volcano, Loihi, is located underwater off the southern coast of the Big Island.
Things to Do
There are more than 150 miles of trails in the park for hiking and biking. Park trails range from paved, wheelchair-accessible paths to rough wilderness trails. Lava viewing is possible both on foot along the Crater Rim Drive and by small plane or helicopter.
The Kilauea Visitor Center is located just inside the main gates of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Rangers can provide information about the current eruption, hiking routes and scheduled guided activities. The Jaggar Museum is located on Crater Rim Drive, and has views of the main crater of Kilauea. There is working seismograph equipment on display.
Where to Stay
There are two drive-in campgrounds in Volcanoes National Park, Namakanipaio and Kulanaokuaiki.
Namakanipaio Campground is located 31.5 miles south of Hilo on Highway-11 at 4,000' elevation. It is a large, open grassy area with tall eucalyptus and 'ohi'a trees. This campground has restrooms, water, picnic tables and barbecue pits.
Namakanipaio Campground is operated by Hawai'i Volcanoes Lodge Company.
Please visit http://www.hawaiivolcanohouse.com/cabins-campsites/ or call them at 808-756-9625 for more information.
Kulanaokuaiki Campground is located about 5 miles down the Hilina Pali Road at 2,700' elevation. The nine designated campsites at Kulanaokuaiki have picnic tables and tent pads, and are available on a first-come basis. There is no water at this location.