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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The Diversity of the Big Island on Display

Establishing a Biosphere Reserve
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was established in 1916 as the country’s 13th National Park. It was created to preserve the region’s unique volcanic features, its early human history, and the plant and animal life that is part of this special bio-region. The park encompasses 230,000 acres and ranges from sea level to the summit of the earth's most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet. Kilauea, the world's most active volcano, offers scientists insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and visitors views of dramatic volcanic landscapes. Over half of the park is designated wilderness and provides unusual and amazingly beautiful hiking and camping opportunities. In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been honored as an International Biosphere Reserve (1983) and a World Heritage Site (1987).


Volcano Park Trails display the luch forests

Active volcanoes on the Big Island

Active Big Island Volcanoes
The Hawaiian islands are mere tops of gigantic mountains rising from the floor of the ocean. The newest of these islands, Hawaii, is relatively young, geologically speaking. Five volcanoes formed the Big Island, but only three are considered active: Mauna Loa, Kilauea and Hualalai. Mauna Loa and Kilauea are two of the world’s most active volcanoes.


Recreation in the Park
There are several opportunities to enjoy the beauty and the brilliance of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Hiking and Biking Trails run throughout the park.  The best way to see the amazing biosphere of the park is on foot.  Hikes can go from 2 hours to several days and you can go it yourself or go on guided tours.  The volcano activity has also created several VOLCANIC CAVES that you can explore or go spelunking.  Access to some of the caves can be private and available only by guided tours, but there are others that are open vial the park.  Check with the visitor’s center for more information.  SCENIC DRIVES are also plentiful and range from .5 miles to 40 miles round trip. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory at Mauna Loa is an incredible experience and a fun way add on to a sunset viewing of the volcanoes.


Pele's Throne in Volcanoes National Park

Volcanic Legends
The first western visitor to Kilauea, Rev. William Ellis on August 1, 1823, was told by residents that, "for many kings' reigns past [Kilauea had been] throwing up, with violent explosion, huge rocks or red-hot stones." These same residents related the oral tradition of a battle between the volcano goddess, Pele, and her erstwhile lover, the pig god Kamapua`a, that ended with Pele "driving Kamapua`a into the sea, whither she followed him with thunder, lightning, and showers of large stones."

Importance of Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National park is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The site is a unique example of island building through on-going volcanic processes, and represents the most recent activity in the continuing process of the geological origin and change of the Hawaiian Archipelago. The park represents native subtropical rain forest and mesic forest communities, providing an excellent example of succession following dynamic volcanic activity, as well as habitats for several threatened and endemic species.


Hale Ho`ola
Big Island Hawaii Bed and Breakfast Inn

85-4577 Mamalahoa Hwy
Captain Cook, HI 96704
Toll Free: 877-628-9117 or 808-328-9117
E-mail: tlc@hale-hoola.com


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