Experience some of nature’s most awe-inspiring wonders at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Located 45 miles southwest of Hilo, the park is home to two volcanoes including Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes on earth. The chance to witness the primal process of creation and destruction makes it one of the most popular visitor attractions in Hawaii and a sacred place.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park encompasses 335,259 acres or about 523 square miles from the summit of Maunaloa to the sea (by comparison, the island of Oahu is 597 square miles). Discover 150 miles of hiking trails through volcanic craters, scalded deserts and rainforests, as well as a visitor center, petroglyphs and two active volcanoes: Maunaloa, which last erupted in 1984 and and Kilauea which last erupted in 2018 (1983-2018).

Kilauea is often called “the world’s only drive-in volcano.” At one time, this prolific volcano produced 250,000-650,00 cubic yards of lava per day – enough to resurface a 20-mile-long, two-lane road each day. As of January 1983, more than 875 acres of new land has been created on the island of Hawaii.

Kīlauea’s high state of activity has a major impact on its mountainside ecology, where plant growth is often interrupted by fresh tephra and drifting volcanic sulfur dioxide, producing acid rains particularly in a barren area south of its southwestern rift zone known as the Kaʻū Desert. Nonetheless, wildlife flourishes were left undisturbed elsewhere on the volcano and is highly endemic thanks to Kīlauea’s (and the island of Hawaiʻi’s) isolation from the nearest landmass.

Historically, the five volcanoes on the island were considered sacred by the Hawaiian people, and in Hawaiian mythology Kīlauea’s Halemaʻumaʻu served as the body and home of Pele, goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes. William Ellis, a missionary from England, gave the first modern account of Kīlauea and spent two weeks traveling along the volcano; since its foundation by Thomas Jaggar in 1912, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, located on the rim of Kīlauea Caldera, has served as the principal investigative and scientific body on the volcano and the island in general.

In 1916, a bill forming the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson; since then, the park has become a World Heritage Site and a major tourist destination, attracting roughly 2.6 million people annually.

According to en.Wikipedia; gohawaii.com. Source of photos: internet