Equally as synonymous with Hawaii as hula and the lei, Hawaii volcanoes are responsible for sculpting not only the islands’ landscapes but also their rich histories. Formed by underwater volcanoes, the Hawaiian island chain is home to barren volcanic landscapes juxtaposed with lush and vibrantly colored rainforest paradises, both byproducts of this most tumultuous formation.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The Big Island is home to three active Hawaii volcanoes; Kilauea and Mauna Loa, two inland shield volcanoes said to be among the most active volcanoes in Hawaii, and Loihi, situated underwater off the Southern coast. In fact, the Big Island of Hawaii is home to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park covering over 333,000 acres crisscrossed by 60 miles of paved roads and hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding or mountain biking. Visitors to the park can stroll along black sand beaches, explore the walk-in lava tube, take in the sweeping views from the summit or pay homage at the Halemaumau Crater, rumored to be the home of the Hawaiian Volcano goddess Pele. With camping available and hotels nearby, exploring Volcanoes National Park is best spent at a leisurely pace over a few days time.
Other Volcanoes in Hawaii
The island of Maui is home to the Haleakala Crater, a dormant Hawaii volcano in the Haleakala National Park. Situated in the middle of another sprawling national park, the Haleakala Crater’s big claim to fame is the sunrise view from above the clouds. The visitor’s center is perched at 9,800 feet above sea level and offers panoramic views of dazzling sunrises over the blue Pacific and when weather conditions and visibility permit, a view of three other islands in the Hawaiian chain. Additionally, at night the Milky Way can be seen in astonishing clarity and magnitude as if painted across the vibrant, starry Hawaiian night sky. The park offers 24 hour access to the volcano and its summit so visitors may experience the changing landscape as dusk approaches or as the sun greets the day.
Hawaiian volcanoes have given to the world a tropical paradise with changing landscapes and climates from coast to coast.