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Lava Viewing Area, Kalapana

4.5
#18 of 37 in Nature in Island of Hawaii
Geologic Formation Nature / Park
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166 reviews
Google
4.7
  • Arrive just before sunset & wear a jacket sine it's cold. If you position your phone's camera against the telescope then you can get even better pictures. Once the sun goes down you'll be able to see ...  more »
  • Biked into the Lava Viewing Area, easy ride in, saw the lava flowing on the right (go early in the morning 4AM) and see the lava entering the water after you hike over the hardened lava off to the lef...  more »
  • My son and I were very excited to see real lava up close and personal. We had read about others seeing the lava flow and saw pictures. My brother was luck enough to have gone about a month before us a...  more »
Google
  • I've always wanted to see lava up and close and so I was really excited to do this. You can rent a bike for around $15 and it will take you to the around 20 minutes to reach the lava viewing area. This was a little disappointing because of how far away you are to it. You can see the lava enter the water, but really you just a bunch of steam and some flashes of red. That's why we decided to hike a total of over 4 miles on lava rock to get up and close the lava. Now that was worth it! But we were not prepared and we did it in just flip flops, and a small flash flight. Do not do that because you'll end up with cuts all over your feet. If you bring sturdy shoes you should be fine. Being so close to the lava was amazing though!
  • This is by far the best thing I have done on the Big Island! You can walk, bike, or get driven in the 3.5 miles (distance may vary). At the end of the access road, you can walk over some hardened lava and view it running into the ocean. It is probably 100 feet (again distance may vary). On the other side of the road, you can hike over hardened lava and see surface flow. This is where I had the most fun. It probably took me an hour to get out there to it, but wow, it was worth it! I started around 4:00 pm so I could see it in the light and then in the dark. It is so gorgeous getting to see lava flowing on top of the ground! The hike in can be a bit rough. Sometimes I got a bit of mist from a rain coming by, which helped. Take running or hiking shoes, bring snacks and plenty of water. It gets VERY hot walking over the newer lava and standing right by the brand new lava. So worth it, though! I walked back in the dark, but had a flashlight and a full moon (thank goodness!) A couple words of caution: the bike ride back is mostly up hill, so after walking over all that lava, you could be extremely tired. I'm 40 and it was hard, especially since I rode the bike back in pouring rain. There are also large cracks in the lava, so when you are walking in the dark, be very careful. Also, I have heard that some people havent been able to see any surface flows when they went. I would still say it is worth a try.
  • This is a really cool thing to do while in Hawaii. My family rented bikes there, and it took us about 45 minutes each way to the lava viewing area. The gravel road was very evident, but got a little rocky toward the end, and might not be the best for young children. We got 3 bikes for $40, but there are lots and lots of places to rent bikes, and most run for about $15- $20 each. We might not have had the best bikes, but mine was good for me, and where we got them had children's bikes, which was a plus. We started off on our bikes at about 6:15 pm, which was perfect timing. It got dark just before we reached the lava flow, so we could get a feel for the trail in the light, but also get to see the glow of the lava. Also, most bikes come with lights, so riding in the dark is ok. Seeing the lava was absolutely amazing, and the glowing steam really added effect to the lava flowing into the water.
  • This is the difference between a national park and a private venture. When you get there, you see a bunch of rent a cops and what looks like a carnival. Not a good start. Right away I feel like I'm being sold something. And you are. They've blocked off the road and forced you to park way out of the way (4 miles). Then you have to rent bikes or walk the 9 mile round trip. Feels like a scam. Best to see lava on a good day at Volcano's National Park. Saw amazing spitting lava from about a mile off through a friendly park ranger's spotting scope. The whole trip I've avoided tourist trap looking deals like this. No need to do this now.
  • Kept far away, but there was a nice steady flow (May 17'). Good bikes available for rental. But make sure to go at night, much better view!

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