Will I See Flowing Lava?
Without question, the best time to see lava is at night. However, you may not know until the day of your visit whether the lava flow will be in an accessible location, or even visible from a distance. Your best bet is to call the visitor center at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park before you head out. No matter what’s happening at the active lava flows, there’s plenty to see and do inside the national park, where the Halemaumau Crater is located. The nighttime glow of the lava lake within Halemaumau crater, located below the Jaggar Museum, is a jaw-dropping sight and one that should not be missed. Plan your trip to the volcano so that you can be near the crater at dusk. Fortunately, the park is open 24 hours a day, and night visits are allowed.
In recent years, active lava flows have been taking place outside the park near Kalapana. When lava is flowing outside park boundaries, hiking is sometimes regulated because trails pass through private land. Pay attention to all warning signs, and take safety advice from park rangers seriously. Bring a flashlight, water, and sturdy shoes, and be prepared for some rough going over the lava fields at night.