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Our Visit to the Active Volcano in Hawaii in Volcanoes National Park

 Our visit to the Volcano in Hawaii took place on day two of our Pride of Hawaii Cruise. After docking at 7 am in Hilo on the Big Island, we rented a PT Cruiser to tour around Hawaii's #1 tourist attraction - Volcanoes National Park.


This was one of our favorite days in Hawaii! It was about an hour drive uphill along Hwy 11 to the Volcano in Hawaii and the Volcano National Park from the Hilo airport. The drive was beautiful and lush and didn't seem like an hour.


Our Map around crater


We paid our $10 entrance fee and drove to the Visitor Center.


Volcano in Hawaii


We had done our research with the Big Island Revealed guides about what to see in Volcano National Park and when we arrived made sure that we went to the Visitors Center and watched the introduction to the park movie. It was worth the stop to orient ourselves to the park and decide what we wanted to see in our limited time. It was a well invested 20 min or so.


We then drove clockwise around Crater Rim Drive, the road that circles the Kilauea Caldera and takes us to all the major attractions in the park. Crater Rim Drive is 11 miles so that shows you how big the crater is.

Volcano House on our Visit to the Volcano House in Hawaii

We were told on several occasions to make sure we stopped at the Volcano House Hotel. Before we took the drive along Crater Rim Drive. Were they ever right - the views were spectacular!


Volcano in Hawaii
View from Volcano House


Make sure you stop here it is worth it! You get a completely different view of the Crater.


Dating back to 1846, the Volcano House has accommodated many guests including Mark Twain. Since 1877, the fire in the lava rock fireplace has been burning continuously.


Make sure you eat before you go and bring food with you as this is the only place we found to eat other than a little shack and the bottom of the Chain of Craters Road. We did return here to eat a late lunch as we didn't plan very well and were starving when we were finished our day at the park.


Next time I think we will stay overnight in the park at the Volcano House. (according to Tripadvisor the Volcano House is undergoing renovations so make sure you research it before you visit it)

Crater Rim Drive Around the Active Volcano in Hawaii

We decided to do the 11 mile loop on Crater Rim Drive in Volcano National Park and all the attractions in reverse from the tour groups to avoid the crowds and tour buses. We went left around the loop (from coming in the park from HWY 11), while the tour buses went right. (We actually went right first to stop at the visitor center - which is to the right of the Hwy 11 entrance).


This was great for all the attractions except the Thurston Lava Tube - which was always busy and the parking was scarce. DO NOT MISS IT though. It was was so worth it. We ended up going through it on our way out of the park.


Volcano in Hawaii
Kilauea Iki Overlook


Crater Rim Drive hosts most of the attractions, the first for us was the Kilauea Iki Overlook. Our original plan of just doing Crater Rim Drive was washed out, so we decided to take the drive down the Chain of Craters Road.

Kilauea Iki Lookout Over the Active Volcano in Hawaii

We stopped at this awesome lookout - the Kilauea Iki Lookout. It amazed us how we were in a rainforest, overlooking a desert volcano crater. We could see people hiking at the bottom - it looked like a lot of fun. They looked like toy soldiers walking at the bottom of the crater.


We were amazed at how lush it was at the top of the Volcano. We took a short walk -less than an KM - along the trail and enjoyed the view. The crater is HUGE!. On our way back along the trail the fog rolled in - it took no time - in fact we were shocked at how quickly it fogged over! It then started to rain. This changed our plans from the Crater Rim Drive to Chain of Craters Road. We figured it had to be sunny in the desert area. This was an excellent idea!


To continue our adventure of our Volcano Activities click here including our trip down Chain of Craters Road, our Visit to the Thurston Lava Tube and the Steam Vents.


Click here for more information on Volcanoes National Park

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