Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is home to two active volcanoes: Kilauea and Mauna Loa. More than that, it’s also home to hiking trails, drives, and sights unlike any you’ll see anywhere else on the planet.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (HVNP) is vastly different from any other national park in the country. Unless you know of another park with two active volcanoes in it, that is! The park is located 45 miles southwest of Hilo and encompasses both Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanoes.
Mauna Loa is the world’s largest, subaerial shield volcano. It last erupted in 1984. Kilauea is another shield volcano and one of the world’s most active, a fact most recently demonstrated in 2018. The two volcanoes are the youngest of a team of six that have worked together over the last million years or so to create the Big Island.
Exploring Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Seeing HVNP is a must for anyone visiting the area. It is truly a fabulous park with lots to see and do.
While Kilauea’s most recent eruption has some spots closed to visitors, much of the park’s greatest attractions remain open. For a list of what’s open and what’s not, visit the park recovery page.
We recommend starting off at the Kilauea Visitor Center, open 9am to 5pm, daily. Here you’ll get an overview of the park and the latest volcano updates. Pick up some maps, attend a Ranger talk, get hike suggestions, and more.
Some of the more popular day hikes include:
- The stunning Kilauea Iki trail, which takes you from a lush rain forest down to the solidified lava lake in the Kīlauea Iki Crater.
- The Steam Vents along the partially opened Crater Rim Trail, which circles Kilauea’s summit caldera.
- The amazing, 230 year-old footprints preserved in the ash along the Maunaiki/Footprints Trail in the Kaʻū Desert.
January is Volcano Awareness Month, and the park will be celebrating with a number of special events. These include After Dark in the Park talks and guided hikes with USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists.
Volcano Art Center Gallery
The Volcano Art Center Gallery, located near the Kilauea Visitor Center in the original 1877 Volcano House, is a must-stop attraction. Continually voted best on the island, the gallery features traditional and contemporary works inspired by Hawaiian nature and culture.
Finely-crafted native wood furniture, hand-blown glass, precious and semiprecious jewelry, paintings, ceramics, photography, fiber and more. You can even shop the gallery online.
Free cultural demonstrations are given on the gallery porch every Friday. You can also witness traditional hula dances on the nearby kahua hula, just a short distance from the art gallery. Hula performances are typically held on the 3rd (or sometimes 2nd) Saturday of each month, from 10:30am to 11:30am.
Perhaps best of all, our Volcano Heritage Cottages are located in and around Volcano Village, an artists community just minutes from Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Spend the day exploring the park then it’s just a short drive back to the supreme comfort of your Volcano Heritage Cottage!
Special thanks to photographers John Coney and Hawkins Biggins.