Chain of Craters Rd, Island of Hawaii

#2 of 14 in Scenic Drive in Island of Hawaii
Chain of Craters Road is a 19-mile/30-km winding paved road through the East Rift and coastal area of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the island of Hawaii, in the state of Hawaii, United States. The original road, built in 1928, connected Crater Rim Drive to Makaopuhi Crater. The road was lengthened to reach the tiny town of Kalapana in 1959. The road has had parts covered by lava several times due to eruptions of the Kīlauea volcano.
The road has paths and road offshoots that allow access to various volcanic views such as pit craters, active and dormant lava flows, plumes from lava tubes and various geographic sites that can be accessed by trails from the road. Caution is urged as these areas are dangerous. There are also scenic views through tropical rainforests, and the seacoast. Next to the park's Visitor Center is the 10mi paved Crater Rim Drive around Kilauea caldera, off which a short paved road leads to a viewpoint overlooking Kīlauea, the origin of the 1995 eruption that closed the Chain of Craters Road.
The road begins at, the highest part of the eastern rift zone where frequent rains created a rainforest. 3mi down the road is the vent of Kīlauea volcano. The road goes another 2mi, passing the group of craters for which the road is named and then crosses a narrow flow of pāhoehoe lava that erupted in 1974 before it reaches Lua Manu, the first pit crater. The crater formed through a sinking of the earth surface and not as primarily a vent for lava.
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Chain of Craters Rd Reviews
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303 reviews
  • Don't forget to stop by VNP's front office before you start here. The park rangers are really helpful in guiding you. There are plenty of small trails/lookouts/scenic spots along the way so the ranger...  more »
  • This is one of the most beautiful drives with lots of opportunities to stop for scenic lookouts. So much to see and do along the way, lava, craters, petroglyphs, hiking, and at the very end is the hol...  more »

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