Featuring unique cultural, biological, and geological landscapes that extend from the sea level to almost 13,700 ft, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii offers campers and visitors the opportunity to view two of the most active volcanoes in the world. These volcanoes - Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, make the park a premier destination for campers and visitors as well as researchers and scientists.
As a park that tells the story of the Hawaiian culture and tradition, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park offers visitors the chance to learn about the historical significance of its features, landscapes, flora, and fauna. With abundant recreational opportunities ranging from hiking, nature observation and drive tours, to cave viewing and exploration, there’s so much to enjoy at the park. The best place to begin at the park is the Kilauea Visitor Center, right at the entrance to the park.
This national park does not have camping facilities for RV but there are two drive-in campgrounds available for tents. Picnic tables, firewood, barbecue pits, and restrooms are available at the campgrounds.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was established in 1916.
Located on the island of Hawaii, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park can only be accessed from the mainland by airplanes. The park is located 30 miles southwest of Hilo, along Highway 11 on the island.
There are various parking locations in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for vehicles.
There is no public transportation within the park, however public bus services are available on the island.
Kulanaokuaiki Campground, located about 5 miles along Hilina Pali Road, features 9 tent-only campsites available on first-come, first-served basis. Tent pads, vault toilets, and picnic tables are available in the campground, but there is no water. Pets are not allowed in the campground.
Nāmakanipaio Campground, located about 32 miles south of Hilo, is a large grassy campground with 16 tent-only campsites. The campground is accessible via Highway 11, but cannot accommodate RVs. Within the campground, there are picnic tables, restrooms, and barbecue pits. A pay station is also available. Maximum stay in the campground is 7 consecutive days.
Pets are allowed in the campground, and all campsites are available on first-come first-served basis. The campground sits at 4,000 ft elevation.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park features diverse caves, ranging from lava tubes, sea caves, pit craters, earth cracks to volcanic vents. These caves usually house invertebrates, unusual geological sites and formations, cultural remains and paleontological deposits. The avid explorer will undoubtedly love these sights.
Although some of the caves in the park may be closed due to safety reasons, they are usually beautiful to see and explore. Besides being available for recreational purposes, the caves are also open for research and educational purposes.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to lots of Hawaiian native fauna species such as birds, dragonflies, caterpillars, and crickets. Bats are also native creatures found at the park. It may interest you to know that this park hosts the largest dragonfly in the entire US. Endangered sea turtles are also present within the park’s waters.
If you’re a scientist, then you’ll know that the Hawaiian Islands are renowned for the most spectacular bird species that have evolved on a remote oceanic archipelago. Moreover, many of the birds in the park are considered endangered species.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the perfect place to visit to see colorful and resplendent plant species in their glory. These plants are present within the various habitats in the park, such as the wind-scoured coastal plain, the rainforest areas, and on the cliffs and elevated areas in the park.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park now hosts more than 90% of the native plant species found on the Hawaiian Islands. Want to see endangered plant species or those that have survived for millennia? Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The park is simply a "plant paradise”.
Visit Kahuku Unit at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to view first-hand the site of dynamic volcanism, rich in Hawaiian tradition and ranching. You’ll find that there are many plants and animals that have been restored at the site through time. At Kahuku, campers and visitors can participate in, and enjoy a number of programs and activities such as Kahuku Orientation Talk, Coffee Talk at Kahuku, and Kahuku Guided Hikes. The orientation talk gives insights into the park and the volcanic activities at Kahuku, while campers enjoy chats with other campers and visitors as well as experts during the coffee talk.
So many wonderful hiking opportunities are available at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for campers and visitors who love to stretch their legs and explore places on foot. Trails are present in the Kilauea Summit Area and Chain of Craters Road.
If you decide to hike on Ha'akulamanu (Sulphur Banks), you will find that there are very few trees in the volcanic thermal area, thanks to the underground heat. In addition, steaming cracks and beautiful deposits of minerals are present along and around the various stops on the trail. You could also take walks along the southern edge of the Kilauea Caldera where you’ll pass by a rainforest and descend 425 feet.
A visit to Kilauea Visitor Center has to be on the schedule when you are at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In fact, your best bet is to make the visitor center your first stop as soon as you enter the park.
At the visitor center, you’ll get the latest information about the weather conditions, details about places to hike in the park, as well as schedules and activities in the park. There is a park store at the visitor where you can get educational materials, books, and posters that will offer you priceless information ahead of your exploration and adventure.