Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Overview

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, established in 1916, displays the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution -- processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with complex and unique ecosystems and a distinct human culture. The park encompasses diverse environments that range from sea level to the summit of the earth's most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet. Kilauea, the world's most active volcano, offers scientists insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and visitors views of dramatic volcanic landscapes. Over half of the park is designated wilderness and provides unusual hiking and camping opportunities. In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park has been honored as an International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

Island weather is unpredictable. Visitors should be prepared for rain and wear layers of clothing to ensure their comfort while exploring the park.

Local weather at Kilauea's summit (4000' elevation) varies daily and may be rainy and chilly any time of the year. Temperature varies by elevation. At the summit of the volcano, temperatures may be 12 to 15 degrees cooler than at sea level. The coastal plain at the end of Chain of Craters Road, where lava crossed the road in 2003, is often hot, dry, and windy with the possibility of passing showers.

Directions

Driving: 

Located on Hawai'i, often called the "Big Island", Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is 96 miles from Kailua-Kona driving southeast on HWY11 (2 to 2 1/2 hour drive), or 125 miles through Waimea and Hilo via highways 19 and 11 (2 1/2 hour drive). The park is 30 miles from Hilo (45 minute drive). Vehicles may be rented at the Hilo and Kona airports. Most major car rental companies are represented at both airports.

For the current Hele On bus schedule, visit this webpage:

www.co.hawaii.hi.us/mass_transit/transit_main.htm

go to: What's New

select: Bus schedules

Flying: 

Hilo and Kona Airports are served by inter-island carriers: go!, Hawaiian, Island Air, Mokulele, and Pacific Wings.

In addition, international and mainland carriers also provide service to Kona International Airport. There is no longer any major airline offering direct flights from the continental U.S. and Canada to Hilo, the nearest large city to the park. However, several major airlines offer direct flights to Kona (more than 100 miles and about a 3-hour drive from the park).

Public Transport: 

The public bus, Hele On Bus, serves the park. Call 808-961-8744 for schedules and pickup locations.