It’s not every day you get to see an active volcano. Actually, make that two active volcanoes. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (on the Big Island) encompasses two: Kilauea and Mauna Loa. My visit here was rather short and I wish we could have stayed longer to explore more of the park! If you have the time, I highly recommend doing the Kilauea Iki Trail hike. You actually get to hike across the crater floor and get up close and personal with the steam coming up from the cracks in the floor! The round trip mileage isn’t too bad either–just 3 miles.
I didn’t have time to go on this hike myself, so I settled for the next best thing: a hike down to the lava tubes that takes you along the outer rim of the crater. Because you’re further up, you get a gorgeous view of the whole crater. And you get to hike through a beautiful trail with lots of unique flowers and plants. Make sure to bring a rain jacket or poncho, though! The weather here is very unpredictable and sudden. It’ll be super hot for 5 min and start pouring rain the next. So especially for those of you who decide to hike the crater floor….bring yo gear!
The lava tube at the end of the hike is called Thurston Lava Tube–named after a local newspaper publisher who discovered it. The segment of the lava tube open to the public is pretty short now (only about 1/3 of a mile) since the rest of it got closed down. But hey, at least you get to experience part of it!