Get Primal on the Island of Hawaii - Volcanoes National Park

Photo and story by Jerome Shaw

Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii is a primordial place that bring your instincts to the fore and lets your intellect recede. Standing at a crack in earth's crust allows you reach back into time and imagine when all the earth was much different than today.  A visit to Volcanoes National park is as close to traveling in time to a time when the our planet was forming.

Don't miss visiting the Big Island of Hawaii and you definitely should not miss the chance see the spectacle of fire and rock. The Kilauea Visitor’s Center is where your adventure begins at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (VNP.) It is a good idea  to stop in if only to have a chat with park rangers. The landscape at VNP changes frequently.  Trails are often closed to visitors because of lava flows or simple trail maintenance.  The staff at the visitor's center can point you to the best trails for the time of year and expected whether conditions.

Expert Tip: Ask about any special offerings on that day's schedule.  There maybe a special presentation by one of the Rangers or guided walk to a special area of the park. This is great way to get some in depth information about the park that will enhance your visit or get your questions answered about VNP.

Most people come to Volcanoes National Park tp see one thing but hope not see another. Everyone would like to see a lava flow but most hope they won't get a front row seat to a full-fledged volcanic eruption.  The staff at the visitor's center can point you to the best and safest access points to the lava flows.

Expert Tip: Ask for a map at the visitors center - you can't always rely on your cell phone map.

The Kalpana Lava flow offers one of the best and surest points to see the molten rock. The website Big Island Hikes offers detailed information on the route and details about distance, fitness level and what to bring.  The National Park service website has page offering lava flow viewing tips.

Expert Tip: Your photos of the lava flows will be more dramatic if you can plan your visit when the light levels are low near the end of the day. Combine a lava flow with a sunset for sure fire Instagram hit.

Another place you should see are the steam vents which are not far from the Kilauea Visitor Center, They are on the left side of the road drive less than a mile from the visitor's center. The cause of the steam is ground water that trickles down through to the heated volcanic rock.

Expert Tip: The steam vents make an interesting backdrop for photos of people or selfies, but you need not get too close.

You can also visit the sulphur banks. These are best visited when one of the Park Rangers are giving a walk and talk.  The Rangers enhance the sulphur bank experience and often provide information about Hawaiian Folklore. The walk along the Sulphur Banks Trail is an easy one and wheelchair accessible.

I hope you'll visit Volcanoes National Park as part of your Hawaiian Island Adventure.  Here is a nice video titled Living in the Moment on the Island of Hawaii to inspire your Hawaiian visit.

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