We dedicated the entire Day 6 for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I am glad that I modified the plan because half of a day was just not enough. We visited most of the destinations in the park, including Jaggar Museum, Steam Vents, Sulfur Banks, Thurston Lava Tube, and Chains of Crater Road. Of course, the most memorable moment is to see the glowing lava after dark!
After a brief stop at the visitor center, we decided to tour the park in the clockwise direction, and thus Jaggar Museum was our first stop. From the exhibits, I learned that the island of Hawaii is made of 5 volcanoes, including Mauna Kea we visited on Day 3. At this moment, only Mauna Loa and Kīlauea volcanoes are active, and the park is located at the latter one. We could see the Halemaumau crater at the overlook outside of the museum, and this was where we would see the lava glow later this evening.
Our second stop was Steam Vents. We saw these well-like structures with steam constantly coming out near the parking lot. What we didn’t know that if we walked down the trail a bit, we would see the more magnificent Steaming Bluff!
We parked our car at the visitor center and walked down the trail to Sulphur Banks. With steam and the yellow sulphur crystals on the ground, I finally felt that I was in an environment with active volcanoes.
Thurston Lava Tube
Our next stop was Thurston Lava Tube. We were unlucky because the tube was under maintenance and closed half way through. They were repairing the lighting system and thus the tube was completely dark. With the light from our phones, we couldn’t have a detailed look at the tube.
Chains of Crater Road
Chains of Crater Road was the most scenic drive we’d experienced in our trip. It brought us from the mountain to the seaside with many spots with great views.
Holei Sea Arch
Holei Sea Arch is at the end of Chains of Crater Road. It was quite impressive and made me wonder about its formation. From here we could also walk 5.5 miles (one way) to see the lava going into the ocean. We didn’t do it because we were not prepared for this hike. We probably should walk a little bit further to the point where lava took back the road.
Kilauea Iki Crater
After returning from Holei Sea Arch, we still had a few hours before sunset. I originally wanted to walk down Kilauea Iki Trail and go to the bottom of Kilauea Iki crater, but my sister stopped me halfway through because it was getting dark due to clouds.
Lava glow after dark
The most important event of the day was to view the glowing lava. We returned to Jagger museum at about 5:30 pm, and there were already loads of people. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I am very happy that I made it!!