Aloha travelers! My name is Andrew Richard Hara (@andrewrichardhara). Welcome to my article on the incredible Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
I grew up in the humble town of Hilo, Hawaii. What inspired my passion for travel and photography was my dad who unfortunately passed away before completing high school. Photography was his hobby and it became a passion of mine through the desire to reconnect with a passion of his.
Why I Love Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
I’m lucky that Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is only 45 minutes away from my house. I regularly visit Halemaumau Crater to view geological changes, as well as hike around the park. There are lots of great trails within the park such as Crater Rim Trail, Kilauea Iki Trail and Mauna Ulu Eruption Trail.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a truly breathtaking place due to the differences in microclimates, many geological features and rich cultural history. Lush forests, volcanic landscapes and the glow from Halemaumau Crater at sunset are just a few of my favorite features within the park.
Best Trails of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
My favorite trail of Hawaii Volcanoes has to be Crater Rim Trail. Walking along the Crater Rim Trail provides you with an up close perspective of the crater and the dynamic landscape of the Kilauea Caldera. The Kilauea Overlook heading toward the crater is a great location to get the best possible view of the crater and surrounding landscapes.
The other must-do hiking trails of this national park are Kilauea Iki Trail and Mauna Ulu Eruption Trail. The former is a superb hike to descend and walk on the floor of an older crater adjacent to the Halemaumau Crater. While the latter is a great hike to walk across a landscape of different lava flows to Puʻuhuluhulu – a forested hill overlooking the Mauna Ulu Crater.
Favorite Memory from the Park
I remember seeing the red glow from Halemaumau Crater reappear in late 2020 after a quiet break of activity since 2018. That was probably my best moment at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The light mist in the air diffused the light from the lava lake within the crater – creating a red glow throughout the atmosphere. It was really special to see the lava glow again.
Need to Know Before you Go
Bring a good camera for sunrise/sunset photos. Stay a little after sunset to get some great views of the crater glow depending on the lava activity. Bring warm clothes and rain gear as the park is above 4,000 feet elevation with moderate rain and fog. The rainforest and volcanic landscape are beautiful when wet, so be prepared for varying weather conditions.
In terms of accommodation, you can stay in Volcano Village – just a stone’s throw away from the park. Volcano House, Kilauea Lodge and Airbnbs are the best ways to stay around the national park. Dinner at either Kilauea Lodge Restaurant or Ohelo Cafe are my favorite places when visiting.
Make sure you also check out some of the other amazing destinations close to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park such as Punaluʻu Beach in Na’alehu, Rainbow Falls in Hilo and Pahoa Village. They are all fun places surrounding the park that are within an hour’s travel time!