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Thurston Lava Tube - Another one of Our Volcano Activities

Continued from Our Volcano Activities

We were running out of time and we knew that we wanted to see the Lava Tube. So we waited a short time for a parking spot - the parking really is scarce.


Thurston Lava Tube
Thurston Lava Tube


The Thurston Tube is an amazingly preserved and large lava tube. It was discovered by Lorrin Thurston (go figure) in 1913. And if you can imagine it, when he found it, the tube was covered in stalactites. Unfortunately they disappeared quickly to collectors.


A lava tube is formed when the outer crust of a flowing river of lava cools. When the lava finishes flowing through it, it is left as a cave like structure. The Thurston Lava Tube is about a 15 minute walk, not too bad and well worth it. 


Apparently there are many other lava tubes to explore if you are hiking. Talk to the rangers at the visitor's center to find out where the best ones to explore are, and what you will need in the way of equipment to explore them.


It was a highlight of our day. And a nice break in the cool cave and tropical rainforest.


Thurston Lava tube


Here are some pictures - if you click on them you can see our journey through the Thurston Lava Tube.


As you go through the Tube, at the end of the stairs, past the gate, the more adventurous may want to take a flashlight and visit the "darker" part of the tube. We didn't as we didn't have a flashlight. Apparently it goes on for another 1000 feet or so then it stops at a wall. I have included a YouTube Video I found showing people going in the more exciting part of the tunnel. As you can see you really need a flashlight!


Staying in Hilo Hawaii? Looking for a tour of Volcanoes National Park and the Lava Tube - Viator offers a great tour here

Thurston Lava Tube

Thurston Lava Tube Video

To get a better understanding of the Lava Tube Check out this Video:


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