On the largest island of Hawai i in the same state in the U.S. Site, located in Hawaii i Volcanoes National Park's most active volcano in the world, Kilauea . The park stretches from the Pacific coast to the largest volcano, the 4169-meter-high Mauna Loa , and includes a complex and unique ecosystem . The result of 70 million years ago volcanic activity , migration and evolution can be observed in the park.
More than half of the original 1 August 1916 Hawai i National Park, founded as a conservation area is one of a lava dominated wilderness. 1961 was Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui as an independent unit separated. In 1987, the Hawai i Volcanoes National Park by UNESCO for World Heritage says.
Because the eruptions of Hawai'ian volcanoes are gentler than those of most other volcanoes around the world, the edges of active vents are frequently accessible, allowing people to come pay their respects to Pele. The early Hawai'ians revered her and made offerings to placate her wrath. Missionaries William Ellis and Asa Thurston visited Kilauea's boiling lake of lava in 1823, the first Westerners to do so. Pele's fiery lake was described in magazines of the day, and adventuresome travelers came to see it firsthand. Mark Twain, on seeing Kilauea in 1866, enthusiastically wrote, "Here was room for the imagination to work!"
Lorrin Thurston, publisher of the Honolulu Pacific Commercial Advertiser at the turn of the century, loved to explore the volcano lands. Among his discoveries was a giant lava tube, formed when a river of hot lava cooled and crusted over and the still-molten interior continued to flow downhill. Eventually, the lava drained out, leaving a cave-like shell. The Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku) is a major attraction on the Crater Rim Drive. Another large attraction is the Chain of Craters Road (see above).
In 1906, Thurston began a campaign to make this amazing area into a public park. His efforts were not effective until he was joined in 1912 by Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar, who came to the islands to establish and serve as director of the Hawai'ian Volcano Observatory. Together, the two conservationists collared politicians, wrote editorials, and promoted the idea of making the volcanoes into a national park in what was then the territory of Hawai'i.
On August 1, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the country's 13th national park into existence. It had taken 10 years, but the perseverance of Thurston and Jaggar paid off.
At first, the park consisted of only the summits of Kilauea and Mauna Loa on Hawai'i and Haleakala on Maui. Eventually, Kilauea Caldera was added to the park, followed by the forests of Mauna Loa, the Ka'u Desert (the site of ancient warrior footprints set in ash), the rain forest of Ola'a, and the Kalapana archaeological area of the Puna/Ka'u Historic District.
In 1961, Haleakala was made a separate national park. Today, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park protects 377 square miles of the island's volcanic wonders and is a refuge for surviving native plants and animals.
In 1980, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural organization (UNESCO) named Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park an International Biosphere Reserve because of its outstanding scenic and scientific values. The park was recognized for its important volcanic sites (including two of the world's most active volcanoes); its volcanic island ecosystem, which preserves one of the largest significant ecosystems on the Hawai'ian Islands; and its cultural and historic sites. The Biosphere Reserve program goals are to conserve the diversity of a designated site's ecosystems and provide areas and facilities for international ecological and environmental research, education and training.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. World Heritage Sites recognize and protect areas around the globe that have outstanding natural, historical, and cultural values. It evolved from the idea that certain natural and cultural sites have "universal value" for all people.
Thurston Lava Tube:
The first major stop on the circle route in Volcanoes National Park is the Thurston Lava Tube. The 300 foot tube is a remnant from a flow before 1790 - the lave covered over forming the tube, the source blocked up and the tube flowed until it was empty. In 1913 Lorrin Thurston discovered the tube and it is a now a well developed and traveled piece of the Park. The park has installed walk ways, lights and stairs to make it completely accessible.
The second big stop is the was the Devastation Trail. When the nearby Kilauea Iki Crater erupted in the 1959 it ejected tons of stone onto the nearby jungle. The light rock burned and buried most of the plant life but a few tree trunks from the original forest are still around. The rocks buried the trees trunks and solidified around them leaving holes in group. 32 years after the eruption life is starting to colonize the expanse of light rock.
Kilauea Iki Trail:
After the Devastation Trail most continue on the circle drive route but the overlook of Kilauea Crater will most likely tempt us to walk down into the calendra and see the environment. If you drive back to the parking lot for the Thurston Lava Tube you'll noticed a trail sneaking out of the lower end of the parking lot. The trail is obviously well traveled (wide) and completely tropical. After about 20 minuets of walking, you come out into another world. The reason I put this afterwards... some say it's better to see above (the overlook) before you head below. But feel free to do this before you get to the overlook.
The surface is like nothing you've ever hiked on, trust us - it's like a giant paved parking lot that's been thought hundreds of earthquakes and is venting steam. The surface is cold - this was a lake of boiling lava in 1959, but it hasn't erupted in 30 years. The large cracks have moist warm air flowing out of them and have stained regions around the vent. The rocks themselves are very porous - some look like sponge and are really light. Make sure when walking through here you also are aware of the a'a rock. It can eat holes in your shoes much faster than you think.
Highway to the Coast:
If you are short on time, cut short the circle tour round the crater and start heading for the coast. Your next stop, given the huge rainbow in front of you is Pauahi Crater - a double crater that had lava in it in 1973 and 1979. There is still a distinct ring around the crater showing the "high lava" mark where the lava had filled to. There are a number of offerings on the lip of the crater.
After a long descent off the bluff, you'll come down to the ocean. This land is of varying ages - lava flows crisscrosses the plain with some areas without life, others well colonized. You may enjoy stopping at Holei Sea arch and walking around. The lava formations on the ground are so interesting, you might almost forgot to look over the edge to see the sea arch. Wow! Small black sand beaches are momentarily exposed and then covered by the next crashing wave. Being washed up here would be a death sentence. Speaking of which... don't swim.
The End of the Road:
Shortly after the sea arches the road just ends. Lava from the Pu'u O'o vent flowed downhill and covered over the road in 1983. Seeing a road just disappear like this is a little strange. Depending on the flow, lava is usually within walking distance of this point, but ask the park service for better details. Don't just go out and explore.
Visiting Volcanoes National Park is an experience you won't likely forget in your lifetime. Chances are you'll come again, encourage others to come, and review it in your mind as the one place that's truely new geologically, for indeed this is the newest land on the earth.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours a day year-round. Kilauea Visitor Center is open daily from 7:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Jaggar Museum is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. "Born of Fire... Born of the Sea" is the featured 25 minute film that is shown in the Kilauea Visitor Center on the hour throughout the day, starting at 9:00 a.m. with the last film shown at 4:00 p.m.
Entrance to the park (a seven-day permit) is $10.00 per vehicle, $5.00 for pedestrians or bicyclists. Fees for those arriving by commercial bus or tour vary by passenger capacity. Persons holding a Golden Age Passport (available to U.S. citizens or residents 62 years of age or older for a one-time fee of $10.00) or Golden Eagle Passport are admitted free of charge. An annual pass may be purchased for $20.00 which allows access for 1 full year at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Haleakala National Park, and Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park.
Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is located on the Big Island of Hawai`i. From Hilo: 30 miles southwest on Highway 11; from Kailua-Kona: 96 miles southeast on Highway 11, or 125 miles through Waimea and Hilo via highways 19 and 11.