If you’re a fan of national parks, consider a real adventure and take one of the guided tours available at Hawaii’s
Volcanoes National Park. It will provide you with one of the rare looks inside the inner workings of an actively erupting
Clearly, Hawaii’s most active volcano is Kilauea. This small volcano has been actively erupting for several years now and
few guided tours of the Big Island of Hawaii will fail to take you to this fascinating place. In some cases, you can even
stay overnight there at the small hotel called the Volcano House.
Most guided tours will begin in the visitor’s center where you can see and hear about what’s currently going on with Kilauea,
including up to the minute information on what is happening now. Across the street is the Volcano House, which offers both
rooms to stay in and a restaurant overlooking Kilauea’s caldera.
It is often foggy or rainy in the area and most guided tours of the park will take that into account and provide you with
umbrellas. There are places near the visitor center where you can walk but, for the most part, you’ll need to drive. Near
the visitor center are several warm steam vents coming up from the earth and a vast plain, which is a sulfur field that you
can walk to.
The sulfur fields are smelly but quite beautiful. The sulfur is a bright yellow color and, in some situations, you will be
able to see the steam rising from the ground. Take home a piece of sulfur as a souvenir. Guided tours of the area will
explain for you exactly how these sulfur fields came to be.
Next, it’s time to get into a vehicle and travel around the caldera, a deep depression that marks the top of a major
eruption. Many guided tours will allow you to get out and take some pictures and most will take you to the observatory
about halfway around the circular caldera so you can get the broadest view of the area.
Toward the end of your tour around the caldera, most guided tours will let you get out and walk the amazing lava fields,
representing areas of recent eruptions that are as desolate as the moon and covered in black lava. Some of the lava is
ropy and smooth and is called pahoehoe lava. The pricklier lava is called a’a lava and you’ll see that type, too.
Comprehensive guided tours of the Volcanoes National Park will take you to the Thurston Lava Tube-a tube created by flowing
and cooling lava that has been cleaned out for visitors to actually walk through. Located among the rain forest area of
the island, the lava tube is both interesting and beautiful.
The highlight of most guided tours of the park is a trip to where the volcano is currently erupting. At the end of a
winding road, visitors will be surprised that the road simply quits due to recent lava flows. You can walk along areas
of land that didn’t exist even five years ago. If you go toward evening, you’ll begin to see areas of glowing where lava
is bubbling out of the ridge next to the lava field and rangers have a telescope so you can see it up close. They don’t
recommend that visitors get close to the unpredictable lava, nor can one go too close to the ocean shelf as it has been
known to break off unexpectedly.
In the end, many guided tours of Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park will offer you an experience you will never forget.
You’ll learn a lot about volcanoes and see some amazing scenery.