What’s Open (and What’s Not) In Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is truly a wonder. Here you can experience the vastness of Hawaii’s open landscape and witness – first-hand – the power of mother nature.
Since the Kilauea eruptions of summer 2018, park staff has been working tirelessly to get all areas open and ready for visitors. Today, most spots are accessible – with the exception of two – Mauna Loa Road and Pu’u Pua’i Parking Area and Overlook.
If you’re planning to visit Volcanoes National Park in the coming months, here’s our guide for the best spots to visit while you’re here.
There are many ways to experience Volcanoes National Park. You can take a self-guided driving tour, go on a day-hike, our back-country hike to a remote campsite. Visiting by car is one of the easiest and most popular choices, so we’ll start there.
The park has two main roads for visitors – Crater Rim Drive and Chain of Craters Road. All roads in the park are suitable for two-wheel-drive cars.
Crater Rim Drive
Scenic view: Kilauea Iki crater, framed by hapu‘u ferns
On the Crater Rim driving tour, you’ll start your visit at the Kilauea Visitor Center just beyond the park’s entrance station. Here, you will receive the latest information on trails, ranger-led activities, road conditions, and safety precautions. This is important as volcanic conditions can change rapidly. A fun Crater Rim drive tour may include the following stops:
- Steam Vents, Steaming Bluff and Ha’akulamanu – Sulphur Banks
- Kīlauea Iki Overlook
- Puʻu Puaʻi Overlook
- Devastation Trail
- Hike to Keanakākoʻi Crater
Chain of Craters Road
Another great driving tour follows Chain of Craters Road to the southern coast of the island. This region was once home to a number of villages including Kamoamoa and Lae ‘Apuki, Kealakomo. Here you’ll find trails, homesites, temples, petroglyphs and agricultural sites that attest to the complex uses of this area since first human settlement.
Although the area’s topography has changed over the years, presently Chain of Craters Road is 18.8 miles long with an elevation gain of about 3,700 feet. Chain of Craters Road begins off of Crater Rim Drive, 3.3 miles south of Kilauea Visitor Center.
Looking to hike or camp? The following options are available:
Kīlauea Summit Trails
- Ha’akulamanu (Sulphur Banks)
- Devastation Trail
- Crater Rim Trail
Chain of Craters Road Trails
- Mauna Ulu / Pu’u Huluhulu
- Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs
Back-country camping sites
- Ka‘aha, Halapē
- ‘Āpua Point
- Pepeiao Cabin
- Red Hill Cabin
- Mauna Loa Cabin
To camp at these sites you’ll need a permit and stays are limited to three consecutive nights on-site. Campers can move to other backcountry sites for a fourth night, but no more than 7 consecutive nights per permit.
In addition to these fun drives, hikes, and overnights, the park hosts Kahuku orientation talks on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 am and 1 pm.
At these 20 to 30 minutes talks, you’ll get a general overview of the park and a volcanic activity update. Topics and subject matter will vary depending on interests and will highlight the natural, cultural, and historic attributes of Kahuku.
Come stay with us! Our eco-friendly hotel is just 3 short miles from the entrance of Volcanoes National Park and we offer three accommodation options. To learn more about our property and special offers, visit our Properties & Rooms page. You can also visit our Activities page to learn more about fun things to do once you’re here.