Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is perhaps best known for its four active shield volcanos (Kilauea, Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, and Hualalai) and eight-mile-long lava flow that once actively poured flowing lava directly into the ocean. After an eruption in 2018, Kilauea’s lava lake drained and the flow of lava to the ocean stopped. According to the National Park Service (NPS), “there is no molten lava or lava glow to see anywhere in or out of the park.” The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) is now tracking a pool of water at the Summit of Kīlauea where a lava lake used to be. Despite the lack of visible lava at this time, there is still plenty to do and see at this fascinating National Park. It offers some of the most unique cultural, biological, and geological landscapes in the world. While visiting, plan on taking the Crater Rim scenic drive around the summit of Kīlauea and don’t forget to make a stop at the Steam Vents, Steaming Bluff, and Ha‘akulamanu (Sulphur Banks) on your way! Continue down the slopes of Kīlauea to the sea on a spectacular drive ending where lava-rock meets the ocean. Hike one of several trails while enjoying the natural beauty of this volcanic landscape or take a walk through lush rainforest to see a 500-year-old lava flow up close and personal. Pack your camera and your sense of adventure! If you’re lucky enough to make a trip to the Big Island (Hawai’i), it’s definitely one you’ll never forget!
Top Photography Locations and Sights at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park:
As photographers, we know that many of you will only have one chance in a lifetime to visit the National Parks. To make your life easier, we have compiled a list of our top photography locations and sights at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park! While this is not comprehensive, and there are many more amazing sights to see, it should give you a good feel for the park.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
- Halema’uma’u Crater (sunrise) – May no longer be accesible
- Kilauea’iki crater (short hike)
- Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) – According to the NPS, the best time to visit is before 9am or after 4pm. Parking is very limited.
- Steam Vents, Steaming Bluff, and Ha‘akulamanu – Sulphur Banks
- Nāpau Crater and Nāpau Trail to the base of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō (18 mile round trip hike!)
- Kealakomo Overlook
- Pu‘u Loa Petroglyphs
- Hōlei Sea Arch
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park – Kahuku Unit
- Pu‘u o Lokuana Cinder Cone (0.4 mile round trip)
- Pu‘u o Lokuana Trail (2 miles round trip)
- Kamakapa‘a Trail (0.5 mile round trip)
- Palm Trail (2.6 mile round trip)
- Pali o Ka‘eo Trail (2.1 miles)
- Pit Crater Trail (2.4 miles)
Other Park Photography Options
- Boat Tours
- Plane Tours
Map of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park:
- Featured Photo Credit: Volcano Lava Eruption
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