Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park established in 1916 in on the
island of Hawaii. The park has two active volcanoes: Kīlauea,
one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the
world's most massive volcano. The park gives scientists insight
into the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and ongoing studies into
the processes of vulcanism. For visitors, the park offers
dramatic volcanic landscapes as well as glimpses of rare flora
and fauna. In recognition of its outstanding natural values,
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park was designated as an
International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage
Site in 1987.
Hawaii Volcano's Enviroment
Hawaii Vocano National Park includes 505 square miles of land.
Over half of the park is designated the Hawaii Volcanoes
Wilderness area and provides unusual hiking and camping
opportunities. The park encompasses diverse environments that
range from sea level to the summit of the Earth's most massive
volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677'. Climates range from lush tropical
rain forests, to the arid and barren Kaʻū Desert. Active
eruptive sites include the main caldera of Kīlauea and a more
active but remote vent called Puʻu ʻŌʻō.
The main entrance to the park is from the Hawaii Belt Road. The
Chain of Craters Road, as the name implies, leads past several
craters from historic eruptions to the coast. It used to
continue to another entrance to the park near the town of
Kalapana, but that portion is now covered by a lava flow.
Visitor Center and museums The main Visitor Center is located just within the park
entrance. The center includes displays and information about
the features of the park. The nearby Volcano Art Center,
located in the original 1877 Volcano House hotel, is listed
on the National Register of Historic Places and now houses
historical displays and an art gallery.
The Thomas A. Jaggar Museum, located a few miles west on
Crater Rim Drive, features more exhibits and a close view of
the Kīlauea's active vent Halemaʻumaʻu. The museum is named
after scientist Thomas Jaggar, the first director of the
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, which adjoins the museum. The
observatory itself is operated by the U.S. Geological Survey
and is not open to the public. Bookstores are located in the
main visitor's center and the Jaggar Museum.