Tenting World’s Information to RVing Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park

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Guests to Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park have the chance to expertise firsthand simply how highly effective and awe-inspiring our planet could be. The park permits vacationers to stand up shut and private with Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, two of essentially the most lively volcanoes on the planet. These fearsome peaks proceed to shake, rumble, and spew ash and lava in a powerful show of how Pacific islands kind and develop.

Unfold throughout 344,000 acres, the park’s boundaries stretch from the black-sand seashores of the island of Hawaii as much as 13,680 ft above sea degree. This makes it an setting that’s in contrast to every other on Earth, which is why it attracts greater than one million guests on an annual foundation. It needs to be in your must-visit record when visiting the fiftieth state.

Why Go to Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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The roads inside Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park could be slender and twisting, which doesn’t make it very RV-friendly at occasions. That stated, the park could be very accessible to a Class B camper van, which may function a wonderful base camp whereas exploring the landscapes there. That is very true if you wish to attain a few of the extra distant areas the place you may stand up near flowing lava.

Except you reside on the island of Hawaii, you most likely received’t be bringing your personal RV alongside for the journey. As a substitute, you may discover choices for renting one regionally. This generally is a enjoyable and rewarding approach to discover the area, together with areas past the park itself.

When to Go to Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park

The park is open year-round, however sometimes some sections are closed attributable to volcanic exercise. Earlier than setting out for a go to, it’s all the time a good suggestion to verify the Nationwide Park Service web site for updates. Moreover, the climate circumstances inside the park can range vastly primarily based on location.

It’s not unusual for it to be scorching and sunny at sea degree and chilly and blustery at increased elevations. Mists usually kind above 4,000 ft, and temperatures on the summit of Kīlauea could be 12 to fifteen levels cooler than on the base. Carry a jacket and be ready for wind and rain.

Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park in Spring

Photo Tripping America - Hawaii Volcanoes - Camping World
Picture Credit score: NPS by J. Wei

Spring is a heat and moist time in Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park. Daytime temperatures are sometimes within the upper-60s and low-70s, with in a single day lows falling to round 50ºF. Presently of the 12 months, the park could be wet most of the time, which retains crowds to a minimal however limits visibility. Should you plan to go mountaineering, deliver waterproof footwear and a rain jacket.

Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park in Summer season

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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Through the summer season months, the rains recede considerably as temperatures and humidity start to rise. Count on common highs to succeed in the upper-70s and low-80s most days, with the mercury dropping into the higher 50s in a single day. That is the driest time of the 12 months within the park, however rain nonetheless happens frequently. Summer season can be the busiest time of 12 months for guests, so anticipate crowded roads and trails with occasional delays.

Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park in Fall

Rainfall in September stays comparatively low, however by October and November, it will increase dramatically. Temperatures drop into the low-70s in the course of the day and mid-50s at night time. Early autumn tends to be a busy time within the park, however issues calm down because the season wanes. By late October and early November, there are fewer guests, particularly throughout weekdays.

Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park in Winter

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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Winter is the quietest time in Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park, because the moist season runs from December into March. Throughout this time, there are extra wet days than dry ones, though temperatures normally stay comfortably within the upper-60s in the course of the day and low-50s at night time.

On uncommon events, the temperature can drop under freezing within the winter, significantly at altitude. When that occurs, the summit of the volcanoes could get a dusting of snow.

The place to Keep

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Picture Credit score: Nationwide Park Service

Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park has two campgrounds inside its boundaries. Each are accessible by automobile, however neither has water or electrical hookups. Neither of the areas presents RV-only campsites, and most aren’t sufficiently big to accommodate a big motorhome or journey trailer.

Most websites do have room for a camper van, though most guests elect to remain in a tent. The 2 onsite campgrounds are:

  • Nāmakanipaio Campground – This campground has restrooms and water with drive-in websites and some rustic cabins for hire. It’s operated by Hawaii Volcanoes Lodge Firm, and reservations could be made on-line or by calling 844-569-8849. The utmost keep is seven days.
  • Kulanaokuaiki Campground – This campground has 9 designated websites, a pit rest room, picnic tables, and tent platforms. It operates on a first-come, first-served foundation. You possibly can pay the nightly charge on the campground’s self-registration station upon arrival.

Staying Outdoors the Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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The Large Island has loads of resorts and resorts to remain at whereas visiting, and vacationers incessantly use a homestay rental—reminiscent of Airbnb—whereas there. However should you do hire an RV in your journey, the choices for campgrounds outdoors Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park are considerably restricted.

Listed here are just a few to select from:

  • Camp Ho’okenaPositioned about 64 miles from Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park, Camp Ho’okena is a beachside campground with a lot to supply. Along with out of doors showers, bathrooms, and picnic tables, the campsite has an onsite concession stand with scorching meals, ice, and different provides. The park presents Wi-Fi for a further charge.
  • Mahukona Seashore Campground: This campground has 22 websites and an onsite bathhouse with restrooms and scorching showers. There aren’t many different facilities, however the ocean views are nice, and swimming is permitted. Reservations could be made on-line, however Mahukona is about two hours and twenty minutes from the nationwide park.
  • Spencer Seashore Park: Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park is a couple of two-hour drive from Spencer Seashore. The campground has primary facilities, together with bathrooms, showers, and onsite Wi-Fi. The seashore campsites are beautiful, and the park closes its gates every night time to offer an additional layer of safety. Reservations could be made on-line.

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Suggestions for Your Tenting Keep

Volcanoes National Park
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Should you’re tenting in Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park, listed below are just a few ideas to enhance your keep:

  • Should you’re tenting at Kulanaokuaiki, deliver loads of consuming water. The campsite doesn’t present recent water, so that you’ll need to have a lot readily available for consuming and cooking.
  • Campfires are usually not permitted at Kulanaokuaiki, however you may have a fireplace in a BBQ pit on the Nāmakanipaio campground.
  • No reservations are wanted for Kulanaokuaiki, however the 9 campsites replenish quick. Since it is a first-come, first-serve campground, head to the situation early to nab a spot.
  • The usual nationwide park entry charge is required for staying at both campground.

The way to Get Round Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park

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Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park is situated on the massive island of Hawaii, roughly 30 miles from Hilo. The park is accessible through Freeway 11 from Hilo to the northeast and Kailua-Kona 96 miles to the northwest. Transportation is required when visiting Hawaii Volcanoes, because the park has no central transportation system. Most guests hire a automobile at Hilo Worldwide Airport upon arrival.

The park headquarters lies simply off Freeway 11, the place the primary of two roads inside the park begin. Crater Rim Drive takes guests across the rim of the Kilauea Crater, and Chain of Craters Highway extends from Crater Rim into the remainder of the park, together with all the best way to Holei Sea Arch and the Pacific Ocean.

Locations to Go

Photo Tripping America - Hawaii Volcanoes - Camping World
Picture Credit score: NPS by J. Wei

With a park as giant and various as Hawaii Volcanoes, there are a number of superb locations to go to. Listed here are just a few that you need to have in your record whenever you go to:

Kilauea Customer Middle

Positioned on the entrance to the park, the customer heart has path info, a bookstore, and a theater that exhibits a movie that gives insights into the pure and geologic historical past of the area. It is usually an ideal place to attach with park rangers and get the newest info on highway closures and climate circumstances.

Volcano Home

Hawaii Volcanos National Park
Picture Credit score: Nationwide Park Service

Initially a thatched-roof construction the place meals was bought to guests within the 1840s, the Volcano Home is now a set of buildings that function as a resort on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The unique constructing—which dates again to 1877— nonetheless stands on the bottom and now serves because the Volcano Artwork Middle.

Crater Rim Drive

Starting on the customer heart, this scenic route permits vacationers to identify steam vents, craters, protect volcanoes, and the remnants of earlier eruptions across the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The highway is 38 miles lengthy and may take a while to traverse in the course of the busier season.

Chain of Craters Highway

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Branching off Crater Rim Drive, the Chain of Craters Highway takes vacationers to a number of volcanic craters which have skilled current venting and eruptions. Solely 19 miles lengthy, the highway traverses lava fields earlier than ending on the coast. There, guests can spot the Holei Sea Arch, which was reduce by flowing lava. At occasions, the Chain of Craters Highway itself has been coated in lava, which is clear whereas en route.

Puapo‘o Lava Tube Tour

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Picture Credit score: NPS by Dave Boyle

Take a ranger-led tour via tropical forests and go inside a lava tube. Due to the delicate nature of the tube, no kids underneath the age of seven are allowed. Excursions are held as soon as per week, and reservations are required no less than per week upfront.

Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs

Positioned alongside Chain of Craters Highway, Pu’u Loa has greater than 23,000 petroglyphs created over the previous 500 years by native Hawaiians who consider the realm is sacred. Guests can be part of a ranger-led tour into the lava fields to find the tales of those drawings and to look at the indigenous art work for themselves.

The Kahuku Unit

The Kahuku Ranch has been a working cattle farm on the flanks of Mauna Loa for greater than 150 years. The landscapes supply an surprising dichotomy, providing a prairie-like setting that has been scarred by countless volcanic exercise. The ranch is a good place to take a hike and soak within the stunning vistas.

ʻIke Hana Noʻeau

Photo Tripping America - Hawaii Volcanoes - Camping World
Picture Credit score: NPS by S. Geiger

Which means “Expertise the Skillful Work,” these each day applications showcase skilled craftsmen, gifted performers, and consultants in dozens of fields. All share the cultural arts of Hawaii with guests to the park. Packages are held on the Kilauea Customer Middle and are extraordinarily academic and entertaining.

Issues to Do

Outside actions abound in Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park. Listed here are just a few of the preferred choices for guests:


Photo Tripping America - Hawaii Volcanoes - Camping World
Picture Credit score: NPS by S. Geiger

The park is residence to a number of fashionable mountaineering trails, most of that are good for day hikes. These treks permit guests to expertise the volcanic exercise in a extra private means. These are a few of the hottest choices:

  • Ha‘akulamanu (Sulphur Banks) – Scorching steam vents and colourful mineral deposits are just a few of the highlights on this hike, which is a straightforward 1.2 miles in size.
  • Kīpukapuaulu – Hike for 1.2 miles via old-growth forests to see a few of Hawaii’s rarest crops and bugs on this loop path which usually takes about an hour to finish.
  • Devastation Path – Stroll a paved path via a cinder panorama from a current eruption to see how wildlife have recovered. This simple strolling route is only one mile in size and is accessible by wheelchair.
  • Crater Rim Path – An enchanting hike across the summit caldera of Kilauea exposes guests to gasses and steam whereas passing via lush tropical forests that overlook desert landscapes. That is one other simple stroll with a number of branching paths.
  • Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) – This 1.5-mile roundtrip hike takes vacationers on a reasonably tough trek via the rainforest and right into a lava tube. The inside of the tube is illuminated from 8:00 AM to eight:00 PM every day, providing a captivating glimpse at what lies beneath the floor of the park.
  • Mauna Ulu – Hike up a forested cinder cone to view an eruption fissure, then take pleasure in a panoramic view of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes. This path options some vertical acquire close to the top of its 2.5-mile size, which makes it reasonably difficult.
  • Kīlauea Iki – These in search of a more difficult hike ought to head to the Kīlauea Iki trailhead. On this path—which varies in size relying on the place you begin—trekkers descend greater than 400 ft via the rainforest to succeed in a solidified lava lake. There, the volcanic vent that erupted steam, lava, and ash 1900 ft into the air in 1959 nonetheless looms ominously.


Photo Tripping America - Hawaii Volcanoes - Camping World
Picture Credit score: NPS

Backcountry mountaineering can supply superb experiences, however as a result of a few of the trails are overgrown and do not need recognizable cairns, it’s suggested that solely skilled hikers embark on a backcountry journey. Listed here are just a few hikes that may take guests to some gorgeous in a single day locations:

  • ‘Apua Level – Leaving from the Puna Coast trailhead, this hike travels over principally easy lava for six.6 miles right down to the coast. Tent websites are situated underneath three coconut bushes, making a serene place to relaxation for the night time. The water right here is sort of shallow, however attributable to sturdy riptides, swimming is just not suggested.
  • Halape – This hike could be scorching and grueling, however the gorgeous vacation spot on the finish makes it definitely worth the effort. Positioned eight miles from the Hilina Pali Overlook, the path ends at a small black sand seashore the place you may pitch your tent beneath coconut bushes for some well-deserved shade.
  • Mauna Loa – If staying in a single day on the aspect of a volcano sounds engaging, this hike is for you. The trek to the summit is a ceremony of passage for adventurous vacationers, though it’s not simple. The mountain is over 13,000 ft tall, making altitude illness a substantial threat. Should you embark on this hike, be ready for climate extremes, as circumstances can range vastly at completely different altitudes.

After Darkish within the Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Picture Credit score: Hideaki Edo/Getty

The Kilauea Customer Middle hosts numerous audio system, bands, and actions for park guests each Tuesday night time. Vacationers can hearken to scientists inform tales about current eruptions and hearken to native musicians sing songs about native myths and legends. It is a nice alternative to study island customs and historical past.

What to Carry and The way to Put together

Volcanoes National Park
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Earlier than touring to Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park, right here are some things you need to know:

  • Guests who aren’t accustomed to excessive elevations ought to take care when visiting the nationwide park. Elevations within the park lengthen above 13,000 ft, which may trigger shortness of breath, complications, and nausea. Altitude illness is an actual concern, so take it gradual and don’t over-exert your self, particularly when mountaineering.
  • As famous a number of occasions, the climate contained in the park can change rapidly. To remain comfy, deliver a rain jacket and an further layer for heat.
  • Should you plan to go tent tenting whereas within the park, make sure to deliver a shelter with rain fly. This may assist hold you hotter and drier when surprising storms roll in.
  • The park is open 24 hours a day however is busiest between 10:00 AM and three:00 PM. Use that information to your benefit when planning your actions. For example, the Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) path is among the extra fashionable hikes in your complete park, however you may keep away from the group by arriving early within the morning or later within the afternoon.
  • Even should you’re tenting outdoors of the park, plan on staying after darkish. On a transparent day, the sunsets over the ocean are superb, significantly from the summit of Kilauea Volcano. And after the solar goes down, the stargazing is top-notch.
  • Should you’re an early riser, head to the summit of Kīlauea to soak up the dawn. It’s an epic sight as nicely. Binoculars are a wise addition should you’re into figuring out tropical birds in your hike.
  • Cell service could be spotty contained in the park and outdoors of the customer heart, and Wi-Fi is just not obtainable. A cell sign booster might be useful, however you’ll most likely have to share Instagram images and TikTok movies after your go to.

Temporary Historical past of Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park

Photo Tripping America - Hawaii Volcanoes - Camping World
Picture Credit score: NPS by J. Wei

Positioned on the Large Island, the Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park contains greater than 344,000 acres of wilderness, tropical forests, deserts, and two main volcanoes. Kilauea and Mauna Loa had been thought of sacred houses of the Hawaiian goddess Pele, and as such, the volcanoes turned locations for human sacrifice to that goddess.

As just lately as 700 years in the past, a temple was constructed for that function. The construction stood for hundreds of years however was destroyed by a lava stream in 1997. In 1778, British explorer Captain James Prepare dinner and his crew turned the primary Europeans to go to the Hawaiian islands. He and his males had been struck by the attractive landscapes and heat tropical climate they discovered there.

Regardless of the veritable paradise they found, it might take one other 40 years earlier than outsiders started to go to extra incessantly and in higher numbers. Protestant missionaries arrived there within the early nineteenth century, ultimately bringing an inflow of different settlers of their wake.

By 1840, the area that might change into Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park had change into a vacationer vacation spot. It was then that an enterprising particular person constructed a constructing within the area to promote meals, drinks, and different provides to guests.

Ultimately, a everlasting construction that turned referred to as the Volcano Home was constructed on the rim of Kilauea and its Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. It later turned a resort with a number of supporting buildings. Lorrin Thurston was an early investor within the Volcano Home and have become the driving pressure behind establishing a nationwide park there.

To drum up assist, he printed editorials favoring the measure in his newspaper, the Honolulu Advertiser. In 1907, the Hawaiian territorial authorities coerced 50 congressmen and their wives to go to the park to expertise it for themselves.

Naturally, they had been charmed by the native indigenous folks, the attractive landscapes, and the nice and cozy climate. After 9 years of haggling over boundaries, prices, and landowner opposition, Hawaii Nationwide Park was formally created in 1916.

Regardless that Hawaii wouldn’t be admitted to the Union till 1959, it was now residence to the seventh nationwide park within the nation. Two years later, it was renamed Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park after it turned unbiased of Haleakalā Nationwide Park on the island of Maui.

Plan your subsequent journey to the nationwide parks in an RV. Lease an RV, trade-in your RV, or purchase a brand new or used RV and begin touring for lower than $5 a day.

Have you ever been to Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park? Share your expertise and recommendation within the feedback under. 

Camping World's guide to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Shelley Dennis is a journey photographer and author who threw warning to the wind and gave up most of her belongings to journey the nation in an RV. Her trusty sidekick for this lifetime journey is her Golden Retriever, Sully. You will discover them each at www.PhotoTrippingAmerica.com


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