After our snorkel, we drove to Volcanoes National Park. The big island has 5 volcanoes. We passed Mauna Loa on our left as we drove to the park. Only Kilauea resides within the park. The drive was very scenic, as you might imagine. You could see the smoke coming from the Mauna Loa rift zone on one side and the land sloping down to meet the ocean on the other side.
Where the lava once flowed
Volcano smoke, which is from the Mauna Loa rift zone, I think
Driving into the smoke
Here is the whole park. We drove in from the left side and headed toward the summit of Kilauea. These maps are from the HVNP website, and can be found HERE.
Here is a more detailed view of the Kilaeua Caldera. We stopped first at the Thurston Lava Tubes, then headed to the visitors center where I bought a hoodie b/c it was FREEZING up there (and I was still in tropical snorkel adventure clothes), and headed to Jaggar Museum to get a good look at the Halema’uma’u Crater (still active) as the sun went down. It was spectacular!
On our way in to the lava tubes
They were pretty cool, but a lot of it was blocked off to avoid people dying, I guess. We considered sneaking past the barriers, but thought better of it. That’s what mature, married couples do – make responsible choices instead of fun ones. 😉
This is the view from the overlook outside Jaggar Museum of Halema’uma’u Crater just before the sun went down.
Just after sun down the crater began to glow. It was super cool!
It looks like we are on another planet.
A more distant view of the crater.
On a side note, we found the park staff to be super helpful and knowledgeable. The museum also had lots of cool info, including a seismograph that is recording the seismic activity of Kilauea, among other scientific equipment. So when something is about to go down with one of the volcanoes, the people in the museum know it right away and keep visitors constantly updated. If you are curious what is happening with Halema’uma’u Crater right now, why not check out the live webcam HERE!?