How to see lava flow on Big Island?

Oct 7th, 2011, 01:13 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,522
How to see lava flow on Big Island?

Hi All,

I'll be going to Big Island the first week of December, and would like to see lava flow fairly up close. How to go about this? What are the optiosn (hike, boat, helicopter) and how much would the latter 2 cost and where to catch the boat/helicopter from? Top preference is to hike. Is the lava good now? Where should I start the hike and how long does it take to get to the place to view the lava?

Thanks for all your help!
JC98 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2011, 02:00 PM
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San Francicso Peaks as seen from Lava Flow Trail. ... Pick up a trail guide and explore an exciting ... You are exiting the National Park Service website

Always rent a car

head for volcanoes NP guides have the latest scoop

Happy Trails but be careful...
qwovadis is offline  
Oct 7th, 2011, 02:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
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The lava is not flowing right now in any accessible area. Who knows what it will be doing in December.

Generally, your best bet is a helicopter trip.

You are not allowed to hike except in designated areas. You will be arrested if you attempt to hike into a restricted area.
Placename is offline  
Oct 7th, 2011, 02:04 PM
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Oops bad link try these...head for the Park main office

for BEST current info specific to when you will be there.

you cannot see much up close from boat/chopper EXPENSIVE

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park P.O. Box 52 Hawaii National Park, HI 96718-0052 ... Island weather is unpredictable. Visitors should be prepared ...

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island |
Watch the landscape change before your very eyes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Located 30 miles southwest of Hilo, this is the home of Kilauea volcano, one of the ...
qwovadis is offline  
Oct 7th, 2011, 02:07 PM
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Actually lots going on monitor for updates on site

Eruption Update - September 26, 2011:

There is a 500 ft wide active vent in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater that is emitting a gas and steam plume viewable from Jaggar Museum and the Kīlauea Overlook. The level of the lava lake in the vent fluctuates from about 230 ft to 500 ft below the surface. On a clear night there is often a strong orange glow.

Please be aware of the construction area at Jaggar Museum. An alternate viewing area has been established.

The eastern of the two lava lakes within Puʻu ʻŌʻō remains sluggish and is confined within its own basin.The western lava lake, however, was filled to overflowing and fed lava onto the western part of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor. Lava refilled two perched lava ponds on the western edge of the crater, overflowing the southern-most one around 2:00 am on September 20, 2011. These crater overflows fed a channelized flow that had advanced about 800 m (0.5 miles) down Puʻu ʻŌʻō's west flank by 9:00 am.

September 22 update - A fissure breakout that started yesterday morning continued this morning. As of yesterday's overflight at about 3 pm, the flow had advanced as a channelized ʻaʻa flow about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) from Puʻu ʻŌʻō to the southeast within the Kahauale`a Natural Area Reserve. At about 4 am this morning, a second flow branch started to the west of the first. If the flows continue to advance, they will likely continue southeast, along the western edge of the Episode 58 (TEB) lava flow, toward Royal Gardens. In addition, a small pad of lava was actively refilling the bottom of the drained eastern lava lake and small seeps were barely active at the west edge of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

New Fissure Eruption on the East Flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō (pdf-639KB)

September 26 update from USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory - The fissure breakout that started Wednesday continued this morning. Most of the active lava was spreading out at a higher elevation south and west of Puʻu Halulu (1.3 km or 0.8 mi northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō). Minor lava activity resumed within Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater with short flows issuing from the base of the east wall yesterday and from the west wall base overnight. The floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater has been slowly subsiding.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in a remote non accessible location, but at times on clear nights a glow can be viewed from locations on this map (pdf - 4.48MB).
qwovadis is offline  
Oct 7th, 2011, 06:26 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
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If you've ever seen footage of a lava shelf crashing into the sea, you will never again consider a boat tour. There are a couple of very educated locals and a guide - I think his name was lavaguy that participate at trip advisor.

Whether the lava is flowing is the luck of the draw, but if it is they might be good sources for you to hire a guide or guidance with copter companies.
HR_Puffin is offline  
Oct 18th, 2011, 02:49 PM
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Thanks, all, for your responses. Has anyone hiked out to see the lava recently? Please share your experience.

JC98 is offline  
Dec 12th, 2011, 09:21 PM
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Update: no active lava flow that you can see from land. Only the orange glow of the lava pool and fume from the Halema`uma`u crater is visible at night from the Jaggar Museum. Still pretty neat to see. Heard the current lava flow is still visible 5 miles away from the viewpoint in Kapalani Hwy, and people were turned away this weekend due to the toxic fume.
JC98 is offline  
Dec 16th, 2011, 07:21 AM
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Now you can see lava flowing into the sea

BUT!! It's a 4 mile hike over very rough broken lava rock, which is sharp like a food grater if you fall on it. You need to take a sun hat and plenty of water, as it gets very hot and there's no shade. wear closed shoes. And it could also rain, in which case some of the lava is very slippery. You need to be in very good shape to do this hike! If you go to see it at night you need a good flashlight (Check that the batteries are good) for each person. There is no actual trail, only rough rock.
charnees is offline  
Dec 16th, 2011, 06:25 PM
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When we went to the Big Island some years ago we took a flightseeing plane out of Hilo. The bottom of the plane had glass windows and we thought it was a nice alternative to the helicopter.
edjim is offline  
Dec 17th, 2011, 02:48 PM
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Kudos to you for providing an update. Wish more people did that.
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 08:57 AM
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AndyTravels is a tout. He is touting a website. You can go directly to the helicopter tour website without going through Andy's site, where he makes money off of you.

Don't patronize this sort of spam.
Placename is offline  
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