Steam Vents, Steaming Bluff, and Ha‘akulamanu - Sulphur Banks

Crater Rim Drive Tour- Stop #2
Steam Vents

Steam Vents
After leaving Kīlauea Visitor Center, .8 miles ahead on the left are Steam Vents. Ground water seeps down to the hot volcanic rocks in this area and returns to the surface as steam. While standing at the steam vents, take a good look around. The area between the caldera's edge and outer cliffs of Kīlauea Caldera is a treeless plain. The ground just a few feet down is so hot that tree roots can not survive. But shallow-rooted grasses and plants grow here.

Sulphur Banks

Ha'akulamanu - Sulphur Banks
Across the street from Steaming Bluff and the Steam Vents parking area is the trailhead to Sulphur Banks. The area is now wheelchair accessible along a paved path and boardwalk. At Sulphur Banks (Ha'akulamanu), volcanic gases seep out of the ground along with groundwater steam. These gases are rich in carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide -- the gas that smells like rotten eggs. Some sulfur gases deposit pure crystals at Sulphur Banks. Other sulfur gases form sulfuric acid which breaks down the lava to clay. This clay is stained red and brown with iron oxide. Visitors with heart or respiratory problems (such as asthma), pregnant women, infants, or young children should avoid this walk.


Last updated: May 28, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 52
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718


(808) 985-6000

Contact Us