Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Sign Hawaii

Where is Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is located on the southern portion of the Island of Hawai’i, the largest of the Hawaiian Islands. The park itself juts up against the ocean as the flows from the volcanoes within its borders pour into the water. The park is actually part of a town appropriately named Volcano, which has many of the usual amenities that a vacationer would need. The city of Hilo is a forty-minute drive from the park’s visitor center and the city of Kalaoa is an hour and fifty-two-minute drive from the park.

How Big is Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes US National Park is a pretty large park with about 523 square miles, or 335,259 acres that encompasses a lot of different features important to both the ecology and geography of the area, and the culture of the island and the area. The park begins at sea level and the tallest peak within the park reaches up to 13,677 feet. The larger volcano, Mauna Loa, when measured from its base on the ocean rises around 30,000 feet which is higher than even Mount Everest.

Helicopter Cockpit View of Volcano Erupting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Hawaii

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Weather

The weather in the entire Island of Hawai’i can be varied and can change rapidly due to the irregular weather patterns formed from the ocean and varying elevations found on the island. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in particular can be chilly and rainy no matter the time of the year. At the very top of the volcanoes the temperatures can be up to 12 to 15 degrees cooler than what you will find along the sea level portions of the park. Portions of the park where lava has passed through can tend to be hot, dry, and windy with occasional rains. While the weather conditions can be unpredictable you can still get an idea of what the weather may be from various weather-related websites that are linked within the park’s main website.

When did Hawai’i Volcanoes become a National Park

It has been estimated that people have lived near the area that is Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park since about 1000 to 1200 AD. The more modern expeditions to the island began in the early 1800s which led to the creation of many of the modern industrialized and developed cities and farms. It wasn’t until August of 1916 when the park was officially established to protect the volcanoes and surrounding ecology for both tourism and scientific study.

Things to do in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park offers only a few activities that are available to visitors due to the dangers of the volcanoes and protected areas, our National Park Visitors Guide created the following list to go over the most popular options.

Day Hiking

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park offers day trips for those that would like to walk through the natural splendor of the park. Many of the day hiking trails, such as the Mauna Ulu trail, allow you to walk by ancient historical sites and lava formations that are unique to the park.

Backcountry Hiking

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park also has many backcountry hiking trails. The backcountry trails, such as the Pepeiao trail, allow visitors in-depth experiences along the varied ecosystems and lava formations found at the park and can be quite strenuous depending on the topography.

Erupting Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Hawaii


There are a few ways to camp at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. There are 8 main campsites within the park that you will have to get permits for depending on the type of stay you wish to have. There are also sites just outside the park that are run by the Hawai'i Volcanoes Lodge Company, there are fees and rules that are available on their website.


Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park offers some of the most stunning and unique views due to the still active volcanoes that currently move and shape the landscape. Visitors can expect to see varied habitats, ancient native historical sites, as well as bizarre looking cooled lava formations.


Because of how naturally beautiful the flora, fauna, and landscapes are at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, visitors can find many opportunities to pull out the camera and capture the many features that might catch their eye.

Drive Tours

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park has two major drive tour roads, the Crater Rim Drive Tour and Chain of Craters Road Tour. These tours have many stops along their routes that visitors can get out and explore such as overlooks and trails through cooled lava tubes. Both the Crater Rim and Chain of Craters tours allow access to the various craters and landscapes.

When to go to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park offers a smaller variety of activities than most national parks found in and around the continental United States of America. While there are not as many things to do in this national park, the activities that are provided are able to be participated in all year round as long as the daily weather is pleasant enough. It is possible to have severe ocean storms hit the islands all year round, yet you are most likely to encounter them in the months of year that typically run from June 1 to November 30. Depending on the year you plan on traveling to the park, this may prevent you from sometimes even traveling to the Island let alone getting the chance to visit the park.

Sunrise Over Haleakala Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Hawaii

Must-Have Things to Bring to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is a beautiful place to visit. The Park offers activities available to people of all abilities and experiences, the following list will go over what visitors will need to bring for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Weather Appropriate Clothing

Since the weather in and around Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park can be highly unpredictable no matter the time of year it's a good idea to bring the right kinds of clothing to match the situation you are in. Be sure to bring the correct number of layers to keep yourself comfortable no matter where you are in the park.

Water and Purifiers

While you may be able to find water during your stay at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park there is no guarantee that it will be safe to drink. List of Parks advises it will be in your best interest to bring enough water with you for the length of your trip and the number of people in your party. A fast-acting water purifier can also come in handy in the event you lose any water and need to use what is around you.

Food and Snacks

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park does have a restaurant but if you plan on doing any hiking or backcountry traveling you will have to bring your own food with you. Be sure to bring enough food and snacks for the length of your trip and even a bit extra if you plan on camping and something happens to your main stash.

Proper Footwear

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park offers varied terrains that are accessible by foot and some of it can be quite rugged. You should bring with you the proper kinds of footwear that will keep your feet comfortable and blister free to allow you to have an enjoyable experience while on the trails.

Lava Flowing Into Ocean at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Hawaii

Emergency Car Supplies

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park offers several driving tours that allow you to view the beauty of the park from the comfort of your car. It would be wise to any visitors to bring things like a spare tire or reflective windshield covers in the event of a breakdown.

First Aid Kit

awai’i Volcanoes National Park is relatively close to modern emergency facilities and much of the park is easily accessible by emergency vehicles, but a quality first aid kit is still an important thing to bring due in the event that you will be on your own for an indeterminate amount of time in the event of an emergency.

Camping Supplies

Since there are several types of campsites available in and around Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, visitors that wish to camp here should bring gear and supplies that will allow them to have a comfortable and enjoyable experience as well as keep their equipment dry.


Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park has some of the most spectacular views found at any national park. A quality camera is a crucial piece of equipment to capture the memories and scenery for visitors that wish to share what they see at the park with friends or loved ones.

Rain Gear

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s weather is often full of moisture, whether you are near sea level with high humidity or experiencing surprise rain showers along your hike, bringing rain gear will help keep the water off you and your supplies.


Because much of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is closed off for the safety of its visitors, as well as off-trail traffic being discouraged, a quality pair of binoculars will allow visitors to get a closer look at interesting flora, fauna, and landscape features that may catch their eye.

View of Sunrise Over Haleakala Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Hawaii

Where to Stay in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Because of the dangerous nature of the currently erupting volcanoes that are found within Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, as well as the strictness of the protected areas within the park there are only 8 campsites available and you can only stay up to three or seven nights, which you will need a permit for each type of stay. For visitors that would rather not stay within the park or the campsites are already filled up, there are several hotels just outside of the park in the town of Volcano and even one right near the visitor center that can give visitors views into the volcanoes right from the room’s window.

Food Nearby Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

You are allowed to bring food with you on your visit to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, whether you’re camping, hiking, or driving through the park as long as you can follow the leave no trace practices to help prevent polluting the park. For visitors that are looking for a more formal sit-down experience there is a restaurant near the visitor center as well as several other restaurants in the town just outside the park’s boundaries.

Airports Near Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

There are several airports that are located throughout the entire island that Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park sits on, which may be used for travel between the islands or private plane use but the two international airports that you would use to arrive on the island are the Kona International airport, which is about a two-hour drive from the visitor center, and the Hilo International Airport which is only a thirty-nine-minute drive from the park.

Hawaii volcanoes national parkNational parkNational park guide

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published