Top Activities In Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Top Activities In Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Check out the best things to do in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

Top Things to do in hawai'i Volcanoes national park

This park can be hit or miss depending on weather. Sometimes it's so foggy you can't see a thing (this happened when I visited the first time). Luckily, we were blessed with a perfect day! Here are the activities I would recommend (in respective order):  

Hike the Kīlauea Iki Trail + Thurston Lava Tube + Crater Rim Trail

You can combine this trail with the Thurston Lava tube and Crater Rim Trail to make a 3 mile loop. This hike can be done clockwise or counterclockwise, but either way you will get the opportunity to hike across the floor of the Kīlauea Iki crater, walk through the Thurston Lava tube, and then enjoy views from the crater rim trail. The connector trail between the lava tube and the Crater Rim trail provides lush greenery and some shade during your hike (which can be hard to come by in this National Park!


Thurston Lava Tube

If you do not combine this with the the Kīlauea Iki Trail, it is most definitely worth a stop as you drive along the Crater Rim road. You will descend on a short trail through the tropical rainforest on your way to the entrance of the lava tube. The lava tube is 600 feet long and 20 feet high in some places!


Crater Rim Drive

Kīlauea Overlook – this is the starting point of the hike mentioned above. If you do not partake in the hike, it’s worth a stop to the overlook!


Steam Vents – pretty self explanatory 

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Volcano Art Center (not pictured) – a nice stop to break up the day – filled with a wide variety of art from local artist that is for sale (paintings, hand-blown glass, jewelry, etc.)

Chain of Craters Road

We also drove the Chain of Craters road which is about 19 miles (one-way). It provided intriguing views of what lava looks like when it makes its way over land. Although this drive provided wonderful scenery and unique perspectives, I would suggest skipping it if you are short on time. 


See The Lava Flow (if possible)

(We visited in January 2022)

We had planned to return to the park at dusk because we were told you could see the lava reflecting off the clouds around that time. Our first stop was at the Steam Vents overlook. As the sun was setting we started to see the red clouds we had hoped to witness! The darker it got, the more surreal and breathtaking it became. We stood at this viewpoint for at least an hour because it was so stunning. We were also able to hike to a location that the park rangers had mentioned earlier in the day to be able to see the actual lava flow (instead of just the reflection of the lava on the clouds). Be sure to check the NPS website for current information regarding current visible lava flows.  


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