Destinations / TRAVEL BUZZ
Good news — you don’t have to visit
another country to walk on the most
active volcano on the planet. Kilauea
at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
on the Big Island is one passport-free
plane ride away. Considering that more
than 4,400 visitors can descend on
this 24-hour national park daily (during
peak hours), rangers have come up
with some tips for visitors. MIMI TOWLE
Get Active ARRIVE EARLY If you can get to Nahuku (Thurston Lava Tube, pictured on right) before
10 a.m., not only is parking available, but the lava
tube is virtually empty of people. As a bonus, bird-watching at Nahuku is best in the early morning.
HIKE IT One of the most scenic and popular trails
is the four-mile Kilauea Iki Trail. Plan to hit the trail
by 8 a.m. and be out by 10: 30 a.m. Ideally, you can
go to Nahuku (above) first at 7: 30 a.m.
SEE MORE The historic and scenic Chain of Craters
Road originates at the summit of Kilauea and
stretches 19 miles to Holei Sea Arch. Overlooks,
pullouts, and lesser-known hikes (Mauna Ulu,
Puuloa Petroglyphs) abound — and it’s a good
way to avoid the crowds and see more of what the
333,086-acre park offers.
GET THE GLOW The best time to observe the volcanic glow from Halemaumau at Jaggar Museum
overlook is before sunrise or after 9 p.m., when
most visitors have left.
FOLLOW THE LIGHT Since Jaggar Museum is the
closest visitors can get to the summit’s glowing lava
lake, it’s also the park’s most popular spot after 5: 30
p.m. Consider parking at the Kilauea Overlook and
bring a flashlight for the short walk to Jaggar.
GO HIGHER Mauna Loa Road is well worth exploring during prime hours, especially in good weather.
Kipukapuaulu offers an easy, forested hike, and the
views and bird-watching are excellent along the
way to the Mauna Loa Overlook at 6,662 feet.
• VOLCANO VISITOR TIPS