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Ann-Marie
05-20-2007, 04:39 PM
We will be staying in Kona for a week. I have decided to spend an overnight on the East side. So, this is where I need help. We will definately do the VNP. We will probably leave Kona early, and head to the park. However, we can not do any hiking. If we stay in the park that night, will we be able to see the lava flow if we can not hike out to the crater? If the answer is no, then I might consider doing the park during the day/evening, and then spending the night in Hilo. This way we will start our sightseeing in Hilo the next morning, and then head back to Kona that evening

Spence
05-20-2007, 04:57 PM
We will be staying in Kona for a week. I have decided to spend an overnight on the East side. So, this is where I need help. We will definately do the VNP. We will probably leave Kona early, and head to the park. However, we can not do any hiking. If we stay in the park that night, will we be able to see the lava flow if we can not hike out to the crater? If the answer is no, then I might consider doing the park during the day/evening, and then spending the night in Hilo. This way we will start our sightseeing in Hilo the next morning, and then head back to Kona that eveningWe hiked out over the lava flow at dusk, to walk right up to some of the flows, but one of the most amazing sights to us was as it was starting to get dark the whole side of the mountain lit up with flows you didn't see during the day. These flows were visible from the road you drive down to hike out over the lava. Thus no hiking required to see this sight! We'll be doing it again this summer, don't know whether we'll stay a night on that side or not, we're in Kona for a week.

T. R. Oglodyte
05-20-2007, 05:04 PM
We will be staying in Kona for a week. I have decided to spend an overnight on the East side. So, this is where I need help. We will definately do the VNP. We will probably leave Kona early, and head to the park. However, we can not do any hiking. If we stay in the park that night, will we be able to see the lava flow if we can not hike out to the crater? If the answer is no, then I might consider doing the park during the day/evening, and then spending the night in Hilo. This way we will start our sightseeing in Hilo the next morning, and then head back to Kona that evening

Your chances of seeing lava flow without hiking are slim at best unless you are in airplane or helicopter. If there is a visible active lava flow, it is usually on the lava field.

The lava field was created when Kilauea began erupting from Pu'u O'o. The flow has covered the road that followed the coast along that side of island - to reach the flow you have to park at the end of the road (at the edge of the lava field), then hike out to wherever the lava is flowing. The only way you would see the lava flowing without hiking is if the flow happened to be occurring right next to the road (and even then the road might be closed for safety reasons).

***

Your post suggests that you might be thinking that the lava is flowing from the crater that is shown on maps of the park. That is not correct. Pu'u O'o is one of a chain of smaller eruptive craters located along a deep fracture zone that radiates down the SE flank of Kilauea from the main crater. The road down to the lave field from the main crater is called Chain of Craters because the roughly follows that chain of craters.

The main crater is currently dormant, and has been dormant sufficiently long that hiking trails have been created across it. You can look into the crater from overlooks along the park and near the Visitor Center, but you won't see any active volcanism in the main crater.

T. R. Oglodyte
05-20-2007, 05:20 PM
We hiked out over the lava flow at dusk, to walk right up to some of the flows, but one of the most amazing sights to us was as it was starting to get dark the whole side of the mountain lit up with flows you didn't see during the day. These flows were visible from the road you drive down to hike out over the lava. Thus no hiking required to see this sight! We'll be doing it again this summer, don't know whether we'll stay a night on that side or not, we're in Kona for a week.

Here are some pics of what Spence is talking about. Don't be fooled by the lighting - both of these pics were shot at dusk.

This was taken during our hike in, as we were getting close to the lava area. As dusk sets in, the lave starts to glow. That orange streak on the hillside in the background shows where the lave was descending from the upland area to the coastal lava field. An hour earlier, that orange was not visible at all. That hillside is easily visible from the road.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid74/p3d5832f903c34060ba7548df581d666a/fb62488e.jpg


This one was taken after hiking out to the lava flow, but if you look in the distance you can see the reddish glows extending all the way back to the cliffs in the background. (And yes, I was actually as close to the lava as that figure suggests - that image is not telephotoed or zoomed.)

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid74/p72aec2baed1a7d8f194d74c31ca93a8c/fb624879.jpg
And here's a pic of the main crater:

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid74/p71dd9602a1c527c3ca06b7b429b4c37c/fb624945.jpg

Faust
05-20-2007, 06:17 PM
I have never been to the Big Island, so I can not help with your question about the volcanoes or the lava flows.

Here is a site I use when we go to Hawaii for things to do. I hope this helps on your trip.

Hawaii Vacation Travel Guide (http://www.alternative-hawaii.com/index.html)
Hawaii Calendar of Events (http://www.alternative-hawaii.com/calendar.htm)

dale7
05-21-2007, 08:53 PM
Go to this links for some new lava flow.

thehawaiichannel

Watch KITV This Morning, 5, 6, 10 p.m. LIVE - Video - KITV Honolulu (http://www.thehawaiichannel.com/video/12517300/index.html)

The National parks link is down below find the Information on what is going in the park. I thing there are phone numbers to the park rangers for info.

National Park Service - Experience Your America (http://www.nps.gov)

Dale

bigfrank
05-21-2007, 10:37 PM
I don't think you need to do an over night. Start out as early as you can from Kona do the park early and get to the bottom of the parking area by 3pm. You can walk out during the day with out any problems. Just bring old hiking boots or old sneakers and a walking stick. Each person should hae there own flash light and pleanty of water. Heading back at night is not bad since there is little traffic but it will take about an hour and a half.

TimeshareVon
05-22-2007, 12:29 PM
Very cool - thanks for sharing!

Luanne
05-22-2007, 12:54 PM
The first time we visited Volcano National Park we did it as a one day trip. I believe that year we were on the Big Island for one week. Every subsequent visit we have stayed at least one night in Volcano Village. It is do-able in a one day trip, but you are on the road and in the car a LONG time.

T. R. Oglodyte
05-22-2007, 01:44 PM
It certainly can be done as Frank suggests. Returning to Kona is then a 2 to 2-1/2 hour drive (from the parking lot at the end of the lava flow) at night on some extremely dark roads. (There is very little stray nighttime light on Hawai'i - that's one reason why they put telescopes on the islands.) Add another half hour if you're staying at Waikoloa.

You will be doing that driving after a very long day and what could be a tiring hike on the lava fields. If it's early in your trip and you haven't adjusted to jet lag, you will be making that drive back when your body is telling you it's midnight (or later).

Yes, it can be done. But before doing it know what is involved and be sure you are prepared. It is vacation; don't get yourself caught unprepared in a situation that taxes and stresses you and robs you of much of the reason why you are there in the first place.

And for those who are travelling with children, be sure to assess how you think they can handle a day trip such of this type.

T. R. Oglodyte
05-22-2007, 01:48 PM
It certainly can be done as Frank suggests. Returning to Kona is then a 2 to 2-1/2 hour drive (from the parking lot at the end of the lava flow) at night on some extremely dark roads. (There is very little stray nighttime light on Hawai'i - that's one reason why they put telescopes on the islands.) Add another half hour if you're staying at Waikoloa.

You will be doing that driving after a very long day and what could be a tiring hike on the lava fields. If it's early in your trip and you haven't adjusted to jet lag, you will be making that drive back when your body is telling you it's midnight (or later).

Yes, it can be done. But before doing it know what is involved and be sure you are prepared. It is vacation; don't get yourself caught unprepared in a situation that taxes and stresses you and robs you of much of the reason why you are there in the first place.

And for those who are traveling with children, be sure to assess how you think they can handle a day trip such of this type.

Ann-Marie
05-22-2007, 02:08 PM
Thank you everyone for all the suggestions. This is our plan: we arrive on Sunday from Maui. So, there should not be any jetlag. Wednesday is July 4th. We are going to Volcano National Park on Thursday. We will leave sometime around 9Am, and drive to the park, possibly making a stop or 2 along the way. That will depend on how much we have seen in the beginning of the week. Arrive at the Volcano by 1PM. We will do the drive around the Crater Rim. We will try to do some walking, but no hiking. I can't do it, so that is definately out. We then decided to spend the night at Volcano House in the Park. The price is not bad. Not special, but a convenient place to stay for a good price. So then after it gets dark, we will take the ride down Chain of Crater Road. Hopefully we can at least see the glow of the lava. Then, the next morning we will head to Hilo, and see the sights there, and do a slow ride back to Kona. We will go back the opposite way, so we are basically circling the entire Island. I hope this all makes sense. I just can't wait to get there!

bigfrank
05-22-2007, 02:16 PM
So then after it gets dark, we will take the ride down Chain of Crater Road. Hopefully we can at least see the glow of the lava.


Just so you know the parking is one long street by the lava flow. If you are not there early you will have to walk a mile or more. It is best to get there no later than about 4pm or it will be a long walk to the car both ways coming and going.

Luanne
05-22-2007, 02:19 PM
Sounds like a good plan. Several years ago we were on the Big Island over 4th of July. If I remember correctly there were fireworks on the 3rd in Kona and on the 4th in the Waikoloa area. Of course things could have changed by now. :wink:

If you have time, and want a really good dinner in Volcano, check out the Kilauea Lodge: Kilauea Lodge - The Restaurant (http://www.kilauealodge.com/TheRestaurant.html) It is one of the best restaurants on the island. Reservations are a must.

T. R. Oglodyte
05-22-2007, 03:27 PM
Just so you know the parking is one long street by the lava flow. If you are not there early you will have to walk a mile or more. It is best to get there no later than about 4pm or it will be a long walk to the car both ways coming and going.

And that also adds to the time required to get back to the resort. You could easily walk almost an hour to get back to the car, and the hike back out is much slower than the way in because you are returning in the dark. You should probably double the time hiking in on the lava field for the hike back out across the lava field.

So let's say you walk two miles from where you park your car to get to the end of the road, then you walk in another 45 minutes across the lava field to get to the flow. If you start heading back from the lava flow about 8:30, you'll get back to the end of the road about 10 pm, then walk another 45 minutes to your car. By the time you get in your car and turned around (if you parked pointing in) you will finally be on your way back up Craters Road at 11 pm. So you will get back to Kona about 1 am.

And that's after having left Kona early in the morning to get in a full day at the park, hiking about 1-1/2 hours from where you parked the car at dusk across hot and dry landscape, then a 2-1/2 hour return hike.

If the lava flow is more than 45 minutes hike in (whether that is due to distance or the walking/hiking abilities of the people in your group) and the day gets even longer.

Make no mistake - I think seeing the lava at night is worth. It's one of those amazing things that you can't see or do anyplace else. In fact, I think it's so worthwhile that I think it's worth taking a bit of extra effort to ensure that you can enjoy it without feeling pressured or stressed about the return home.

Luanne
05-22-2007, 04:26 PM
I think Ann-Marie has said a couple of times that she won't be hiking. Sounds like they were just going to drive down the Chain of Craters road as far as they could to see if they could see anything. :wink:

T. R. Oglodyte
05-22-2007, 05:02 PM
I think Ann-Marie has said a couple of times that she won't be hiking. Sounds like they were just going to drive down the Chain of Craters road as far as they could to see if they could see anything. :wink:

Correct - but there are people besides the OP who read threads for info.

T. R. Oglodyte
05-22-2007, 05:07 PM
I think Ann-Marie has said a couple of times that she won't be hiking. Sounds like they were just going to drive down the Chain of Craters road as far as they could to see if they could see anything. :wink:

Correct - but there are people besides the OP who read threads for info.

Luanne
05-22-2007, 05:20 PM
Correct - but there are people besides the OP who read threads for info.

Okay, I got it, you don't have to tell me twice. :abused:

It just looked liked all the responses were directly to what Ann-Marie had said. Frank quoted her last response, and then you quoted his. Just didn't want her to think she needed to add all that additional walking/hiking time since she wasnt' planning on doing any of that.

T. R. Oglodyte
05-22-2007, 05:21 PM
I think Ann-Marie has said a couple of times that she won't be hiking. Sounds like they were just going to drive down the Chain of Craters road as far as they could to see if they could see anything. :wink:

Correct - but there are people besides the OP who read threads for info.

Ann-Marie
05-22-2007, 07:51 PM
Luanne, thanks for the response. I was trying to figure out how I get my point across that I Will not be hiking So, are we waisting our time driving down Crater Road at night if we Do Not Hike?

Luanne
05-22-2007, 08:03 PM
Luanne, thanks for the response. I was trying to figure out how I get my point across that I Will not be hiking So, are we waisting our time driving down Crater Road at night if we Do Not Hike?

But remember, other people read these posts. :wink: :rotflmao:

You might, or might not, waste time driving down Crater Road at night. It all depends on how active the volcano is at that time. You might just have to play it by ear, check with the rangers at the visitor center earlier in the day. But, I'll tell you one thing, you will not be disappointed if you have dinner at the Kilauea Lodge (broken record here :lol: ). We're staying there for two nights in August and already have our dinner reservations for both nights.

Ann-Marie
05-22-2007, 09:16 PM
Luanne, what I was trying to figure out is if we won't really see much at night, then maybe we would just head out of the park towards Hilo for the night instead of staying at Volcano House.

Luanne
05-22-2007, 09:48 PM
I mentioned your question, and dilemna, to my dh. He said even if you don't see the lava flow it's just kind of magical to be out on the Chain of Craters road at night. You said that you are planning on staying in the park, right? You could still play it by ear, see what the rangers say about the flow and visibility if you don't want to take the hike. Then, if there will be nothing to see you could drive into Hilo for the evening (you'd be coming back to Volcano to sleep, or are you thinking of staying in Hilo instead?).

T. R. Oglodyte
05-23-2007, 12:15 AM
Last time we decided to spend an evening in Hilo, we wandered into the Barnes and Noble to browse, and saw the staff moving displays around to create an open area in the center of the store. Then they started setting up chairs around the edge of the open area. Next they set up microphone and sound system.

About half an hour later, we found ourselves in the middle of a free Keola Beamer (http://www.kbeamer.com/) concert. Auntie Nona Beamer (http://www.kbeamer.com/?q=node/28), his mother, was with him, and she did authentic hula during a couple of his songs.

Ann-Marie
05-23-2007, 10:33 AM
Luanne, thanks for your help. You have been great. I think you are the only one that seems to understand that we will not be hiking. I just thought it would be more convenient to stay in the park if we do the Crater Road trip. If there is not enough of a reason for us to stay in the park, then maybe we should go to Hilo for the night. Then start from there in the AM to see Hilo and waterfalls. Or, if we start out early enough, and again if there is no reason for us to stay at all, we could drive back to Kona. However, my DH will not do that at night.

Glitter Brunello
05-23-2007, 10:47 AM
Luanne, thanks for your help. You have been great. I think you are the only one that seems to understand that we will not be hiking. I just thought it would be more convenient to stay in the park if we do the Crater Road trip. If there is not enough of a reason for us to stay in the park, then maybe we should go to Hilo for the night. Then start from there in the AM to see Hilo and waterfalls. Or, if we start out early enough, and again if there is no reason for us to stay at all, we could drive back to Kona. However, my DH will not do that at night.

You can do Hilo and some falls on your way back to Kona. The most impressive of these, imho, is Akaka Falls, which does require a walk, though not a rugged hike, through a spectacular garden/forest and is well worth it. There is a paved path, but it does incline in spots so should probably be avoided if that's a problem.

We are going back to Kona this summer, and honestly I don't think we are going to bother with VNP... we got rained out there last year after walking a few miles on the lava to a viewing point. If we did go back, we would drive through, and wouldn't stay in the park. But we did really enjoy Luanne's restaurant :)

Luanne
05-23-2007, 11:01 AM
We're not big hikers at all. Small, short walks are our speed. :grin: But, if we are going to be on the Big Island we always manage a trip to Volcano National Park. Since we like Kilauea Lodge so much we spend at least one night there. Two summers ago we were at Kilauea Lodge for three nights and to be honest we spent a lot of time in Hilo. While in the park we generally drive around the rim of the crater and maybe out Chain of Craters road a bit. We did attempt the "walk" out to the lava flow at night one year and turned back pretty early. I was lucky enough the first time I was on the Big Island in 1968 to be able to see the caldera when it was still active and we had a great view of the lava from the restaurant at the Volcano House.

Ann-Marie
05-23-2007, 11:19 AM
Luanne, so do you suggest that we stay in Hilo instead? Will I be disappointed if I were to think that we will see a lot more at night in the park. Am I correct in thinking that we will really need to hike if we want to see any activity at night? If that is the case, then maybe we should go to Hilo for the night.

Glitter Brunello
05-23-2007, 11:33 AM
Luanne, so do you suggest that we stay in Hilo instead? Will I be disappointed if I were to think that we will see a lot more at night in the park. Am I correct in thinking that we will really need to hike if we want to see any activity at night? If that is the case, then maybe we should go to Hilo for the night.

Not Luanne, but there is a site or two quoted in this thread that monitors lava flow activity, and you can contact the park service for more info. It seems to have been moving further and further away from accessible road, when we were there last summer we couldn't see much from the road but some flow in the far distance, as pictured in T.R.'s first photo.

If you are going to explore VNP by car, whether by day or night, you can stay near the park, or in Hilo, or in between. There were a few threads both here and OY last year about places to stay.

Luanne
05-23-2007, 01:01 PM
Luanne, so do you suggest that we stay in Hilo instead? Will I be disappointed if I were to think that we will see a lot more at night in the park. Am I correct in thinking that we will really need to hike if we want to see any activity at night? If that is the case, then maybe we should go to Hilo for the night.

Depending on what you want to see at the park, you will most definitely see more during the day, unless you want to hike out to the flow. But, depending on the flow activity, you might see something from the Chain of Craters road without having to drive out to the end. It won't be as impressive as if you hiked out all the way. But, you won't know what the flow activity is until you actually get there and can check at the visitor center. Since we like staying in Volcano Village, and don't plan on hiking out to the lava flow (wherever it might be), I have never really considered staying in Hilo. We talked about it for the last time we were on the Big Island, but dh wanted to stay in Volcano Village and didn't mind the 30 to 45 minute drive when we wanted to go to Hilo.

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