Crater Rim

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The drive to the Crater Rim travels 11 miles around the top of the Kilauea volcano’s caldera and provides visitors access to one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The Crater Rim is the centerpiece of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and one of the national park system’s most profound geologic treasures. Visitors will experience firsthand the power of an active volcano by looking deep into its center from an unprecedented access point.

Be sure to take in the sulfur banks, steam vents and lava flows that make this volcano one of the most approachable in the world. While on the rim, you can also see an underground lava tube formed from lava that has long since cooled. The entire drive and destination provides a dramatic example of an environment constantly in flux. Kilauea has erupted lava almost continuously from its east rift zone since 1983. These lava flows have added over 568 acres of new land to the southern shore of Kilauea and covered 8.7 miles of highway with lava as deep as 115 feet.

Don't miss Kilauea Overlook, located on the left side of the road, approximately 0.7 mile from Steaming Bluffs. The road sign here indicates picnic area, making its splendid overlook of the Kilauea Caldera and Halema'uma'u Crater a best-kept-secret. The view similar to the one visible from the Jaggar Museum, but this overlook is usually much less crowded.

When to Go:

Because Kilauea is active, it’s always important to check with the park before traveling to the rim as it can be closed at any time due to volcanic activity. The park also monitors air quality daily to ensure that it is safe to visit. The best time to visit the park is in June or July after the wet spring season. If you’re lucky the volcano will be particularly active during your visit.

GPS:

N19° 25.7304', W155° 15.2088'

Getting There:

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is located on the island of Hawai’i. From Hilo the park is 30 miles southwest on Highway 11. Crater Rim Drive is accessible from Highway 11.

Road Conditions:

Crater Rim Drive is a well-maintained road. All or part of the road can be closed at any time due to volcanic activity, however, so always plan ahead.

More about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park