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Get in the Hot Seat

Big IslandEssential Big Island

Big Island lava flows into the ocean

MADAME PELE, the legendary HAWAIIAN VOLCANO GODDESS, is currently asleep at her home inside her favorite volcano, KĪLAUEA. While activity could always pick up at a moment’s notice, the recent eruptions have ceased and there is no visible molten lava in the park. Things were very different in 2018, when multiple lava flows erupted from various fissures in the Lower East Rift Zone, displacing thousands of residents and destroying hundreds of buildings.

HAWAI‘I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK has been the No. 1 attraction in the state and at press time, most of the park has reopened. Following the guidance of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, the park is in a phased reopening, and the following areas were still closed to the public: Kīlauea Visitor Center (although the lānai and restrooms are open); Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), east parking lot and bathrooms; all Volcano House services, including Nāmakanipaio Campground; The Kahuku Unit (closed Monday through Wednesday, open Thursday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.). Businesses, such as Kīlauea Military Camp (kilaueamilitarycamp.com), Volcano Art Center Gallery (volcanoartcenter.org) and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association (hawaiiparks.org), are open; contact them directly for details. The popular Crater Rim Drive Tour is a great way to see the park. Day hikes such as the Crater Rim Hike (rated: easy), Pu‘u Loa Petroglyphs Hike (rated: moderate) and Devastation Trail (rated: easy) are all open.

It’s best to check with rangers about the latest conditions once at that park, and to check for any park updates on Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park site (nps.gov/havo), or by calling 808-985-6000.

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