Watch the landscape change before your very eyes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Located 30 miles southwest of Hilo, this is the home of Kilauea volcano, one of the most active volcanoes on earth. The chance to witness the primal process of creation and destruction make this park one of the most popular visitor attraction in Hawaii and a sacred place for Native Hawaiians.
Founded in 1916, the Park encompasses 333,000 acres from the summit of Maunaloa to the sea. Here you'll find 150 miles of hiking trails through volcanic craters, scalded deserts and rainforests as well as a museum, petroglyphs, a walk-in lava tube and two active volcanoes: Maunaloa, which last erupted in 1984 and Kilauea which has been erupting since January 3rd, 1983. The extraordinary natural diversity of the park was recognized in 1980 when it was named a World Biosphere site by UNESCO and in 1987 when the park was again honored as a World Heritage site.
Kilauea is sometimes called "the world's only drive-in volcano." This prolific volcano currently produces 250,000-650,000 cubic yards of lava per day, enough to resurface a 20-mile-long, two-lane road daily. As of January 1994, 491 acres of new land have been created on Hawaii Island. The current eruption may last another 100 years or stop tomorrow. Pele, the volcano goddess who lives here, is very unpredictable. But the chance to watch Kilauea's blistering lava flows meet the sea (click here for Kalapana viewing update) is just one of the reasons to visit.