group logo

So you want to see lava in Hawaii?

2:54 AM · Jan 18, 2020

(hint: there is no liquid lava but that also doesn’t mean it’s cooled down completely): There has not been any hot liquid lava at the surface since September 2018 (finally, after 35 years). However, the rock is still very hot in some places, and you will see lots of steam coming up from the black lava rock, especially when it rains. What is open and closed in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: One of the questions frequently asked is about the Jaggar Museum, which was damaged in the earthquakes surrounding the 2018 eruption. The museum and the surrounding area sustained heavy damage and there are currently no plans to repair it. For more information about the status of the Jagger Museum and where to go instead, please visit this Hawaii Tracker thread: As for the rest of the park, please check here: as for what is currently open and closed as this may change. As of January, 2020, you can drive Crater Rim Drive on the north side of the caldera to Kilauea Military Camp and walk from Steam Vents to the point where the road is closed, but beyond Kilauea Military Camp there is no access (closed to not just vehicles but foot traffic as well). Going around toward the south side, you can drive Crater Rim Drive to Keanakakoi Crater/Devastation Trail parking lot and walk further along Crater Rim Drive from there. Thurston Lava Tube along this road is closed. Hilina Pali Road is open to drive to the campground and you can walk in further. Chain of Craters Road is open to the coast and ends at Holei Sea Arch where the road was overrun by lava in 2003. Outside the Park: From Pahoa, you can drive on the recently rebuilt Highway 132, which will provide some of the best public perspectives of the 2018 eruption of Kilauea. As of November 2019, you can drive to what used to be 4 Corners but right now is only one corner. Be careful with parking, there are areas where the rock is still hot enough to damage your tires. From here you can view miles of new lava rock, and when it’s clear you can see the ocean. Leilani Estates is all private roads except for Leilani Avenue where there is no parking, So, if you have any consideration for the residents who have been through this at all, unless you’re visiting somebody there, just don't. You can also drive down Highway 130 past Pahoa to Kalapana, and then drive up Highway 137 (the “Red Road” after the pavement that is made from red cinder in areas) to Pohoiki Beach, which was nearly covered by the Leilani Eruption, and has massively changed as a result. Beware as part of the road to Pohoiki is still unpaved. Please be aware that the route described here is the only sanctioned route to Pohoiki. Google Maps may suggest other routes, but these are through private communities and we recommend you avoid them. While in Kalapana, especially if you happen to be there on a Wednesday late afternoon/evening, go to Uncle Robert’s for music, food and locally made items. In Pahoa there is the Lava Museum which has some of the exhibits which were saved from the Jaggar Museum, as well as prints of photographs taken by many of the local photographers. Right next door is Kaleo’s, one of several restaurants in Pahoa that are well worth eating at. Thanks to Caterina Purves and Dane Dupont for some editing help.


Excellent writeup Maren, thank you!

Jan 18, 2020

© 2024 Tracker LLCGive feedback