Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

April 26, 2012 by

Looking for a travel hotspot that’s truly hot? How about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit — roughly the temperature of the lava that bubbles and flows in Volcanoes National Park?

Located on the southeast edge of the Big Island of Hawai’i, Volcanoes National Park includes portions of two giant volcanoes. Mauna Loa is more famous, but Kilauea is where the action is, with continuous eruptions for almost 30 years.

You could spend days hiking, camping and exploring the Park’s 500 square miles, or you can just pop in for a glimpse of Kilauea’s big crater.¬†For a quick visit, head to the overlook behind the Jaggar Museum for a view of the Halema’uma’u Crater and its active vent with impressive plumes of gas and steam.

But visit only during the day, and you’ll miss the real show. At night, that plume glows orange from the light of a lake of lava inside the vent. It may not sound like much — just a big cloud of orange steam — but the unearthly glow (or the inside-the-earthly glow, as the case may be) and the way the plume swirls and changes makes for an awe-inspiring sight. It’s your chance to meet the Hawaiian volcano goddess, Pele. And wow, is she powerful.

Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours and charges a small entrance fee. Lava conditions change frequently, so be sure to check the Park Service website when planning your visit.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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