Top National Parks Experiences
Watch flowing lava at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.
You can watch nature at its most elemental as fiery orange-red lava from active Kilauea Volcano spills dramatically into the blue Pacific Ocean. As lava enters the sea, it creates magnificent plumes of steam as well as new areas of coastline—more than 500 acres since the current volcanic activity began in 1983.
How to Do It
Drive the 19-mile-long Chain of Craters Road and walk out to viewing stations along the route. The station closest to the flowing lava requires a three-hour walk each way, but there are others. Leaving in late afternoon lets you see the lava fireworks at night. Call the park visitor center ahead to be sure that lava is flowing (it doesn't always) and to pinpoint safe viewing spots: (808) 985-6000.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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hulagirl is correct, the Ocean Entry is spectacular but you won't always see lava as the flows vary day to day. We saw amazing, active clouds of ash towering over the sea but no lava. Having said that, the drive down Chain of Craters Road is great - don't miss the Thurston Lava Tube. This blog post has links that will help plan your visit http://bit.ly/5kLtVb
You no longer can view flowing lava from Chain of Craters Road. You must drive down towards Hilo, leaving the park, to a State Run Viewing area. RT drive time from Volcano is about 1.5 hours. Viewing here is better than anything I ever saw near Chain of Craters Rd!