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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - General Park Information

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is located on Hawaii and features two volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, that are still spewing lava. Eruptions are common from the Kilauea caldera. Overall, the park encompasses 505 square miles and stretches from the Pacific Ocean shore to Mauna Loa's 13,677 foot tall peak. The area includes lush, tropical flora and fauna and the barren Kau Desert. Hiking trails and camping are available. Tourists use the Hawaii Belt Road to enter the park.

Kilauea is a Hawaiian word that means spewing. The Puu Oo cone has been spewing ash and lava since 1983. Kilauea has erupted 36 times since 1952. Ninety percent of Kilauea is covered in lava. This volcano is about the most active volcano in the world, making it the most visited volcano in Hawaii.

Kilauea is the youngest volcano on Hawaii, estimated at 600,000-years-old. This mountain, appearing more as a bulge, started its life as a submarine volcano and worked its way to the surface about 100,000 years ago. About 90 percent of Kilauea is under the sea.

In 1790, a group of Hawaiian warriors challenging another chief's rule were caught in an eruption of Kilauea. Their preserved and last footprints can be seen at the park.

The ecology in the area is under constant threat from Kilauea. Native forests and plants are typically destroyed by eruptions. Numerous birds have made this park their home along with hawksbill sea turtles. The Puna Forest Reserve in the northern lowland is Hawaii's largest wet forest.

Mauna Loa, meaning long mountain in Hawaiian, is an active volcano that has been erupting for nearly one million years. The main activity from Mauna Loa is lava flows. This volcano has destroyed the village of Hoopuloa in 1926 and the village of Hookena Mauka in 1950.

Camping is available at the Namakanipalo Campgrounds on Highway 11 and the Kulanaokuaike Campgrounds on the Hilina Pali Road. Other lodging and restaurants are present outside the park boundary. Day hikes, scenic stops, wilderness jaunts and ranger programs are available. Lava flows can be viewed from the Chain of Craters Road. Lava flows have caused injuries and death, so caution is advised.