Eruption Viewing

Attention symbol illustrated with a red triangle and exclamation point within it.
Expect major delays and limited parking due to high visitation. Parking areas may close unexpectedly when full. Consider viewing the eruption from less crowded areas, hike to popular viewing areas from other parking lots, or visit at an unconventional time. Visit before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. for the best experience.
 
 
Witnessing the crust of an active lava lake being dragged into seething fountains is unforgettable. While an eruption is an exciting experience, keep in mind you are observing a sacred event. The summit of Kīlauea volcano is a wahi kapu (sacred landscape) surrounded with storied places. Your visit can be more meaningful by learning about the deep connections between Native Hawaiian culture and this landscape.
 

Where are the Best Eruption Viewing Locations?

The current eruption at Kīlauea volcano, within Halema'uma'u crater, has generated an immense lava lake. Lava is currently visible from many areas and overlooks surrounding Kaluapele (Kīlauea caldera) within the national park. Viewing conditions can change at any time depending on eruptive activity and weather conditions such as fog or rain. Consider factors such as viewing experience, long waits and crowds, hiking ability, and available time when selecting where to view the eruption. Check out the park map and download the new NPS mobile app to help you navigate during your visit.
 
Park map showing lava viewing areas with volcano symbols and red lines on trails. Map shows lava viewing areas at Kīlauea Overlook, Kūpinaʻi Pali, and Keanakākoʻi Overlook.
While the lava lake is a powerful and popular sight to behold, avoid the peak time at sunset. If there is no parking where you want to go, visit another area or try again later. The park is open 24 hours a day.
 

1. Kūpinaʻi Pali (Waldron Ledge) from Crater Rim Trail

 
Crater filled with lava during the day. Crater filled with lava during the day.

The least crowded viewing location to see lava. 

NPS Photo/J.Wei

Where to Park: Kīlauea Visitor Center
Walking distance: From Kīlauea Visitor Center cross Crater Rim Drive and walk south on Crater Rim Trail.
Distance: The eruption is viewable from two miles away.
View: Lava is visible as surface plates from the active lake surface are dragged back into the lava lake. A glow is visible at night. 
Amenities: Parking (125 stalls total), Wheel Chair Manageable and Easily Accessible, Picnic, Information and Restrooms at Visitor Center.

 
 
Crater filled with steam during the day. Crater filled with steam during the day.

An excellent overlook to see a section of the lava lake from the highest point of Kīlauea volcano.

NPS Photo/J.Wei

Where to park: Uēkahuna or Kīlauea Overlook.
Walking distance: 500 feet to the east of Uēkahuna overlook over mostly paved terrain with some elevation gain. 1000 feet to the west of Kīlauea Overlook over mostly paved terrain with some elevation gain.
Eruption distance: 1 mile.
View: A sliver of the lake surface is occasionally visible on the east portion of the lava lake. Fountains visible from this overlook. A red glow is visible at night. 
Amenities: Parking (105 stalls total), Restroom, Easily Accessible, Information Available

 

3. Overlook near Keanakākoʻi Crater

 
Lava erupting from a crater during the day. Lava erupting from a crater during the day.

This is the most crowded viewing location. Expect traffic delays and full parking lots between the hours of 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. due to heavy visitation. Pack your patience.

Photo/J.Wei

Where to park: Devastation Trail parking area (limited parking)
Walking distance: 2 miles round-trip over mostly paved terrain if parked at Devastation Trail. The last 300 yards of this trail is over loose rocky cinders and an uneven surface.
Eruption distance: 0.5 mile.
View: Lava fountains fountain in the air from the lava lake. A red glow is visible at night. 
Amenities: Limited Parking (58 stalls total), Restroom at Trailhead, Information Available.

 

Eruption Viewing Tips

  • As the lava lake rises within Halemaʻumaʻu crater, so does visitation! That is why we encourage visitors to get here early in the morning, not just to avoid the crowds, but to behold the breathtaking views of your park in the morning light. Avoid arriving between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. at popular parking destinations like Devastation and Uēkahuna.
  • Don't forget the essentials! Carry a headlamp if you plan on visiting the eruption at night. Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes and a rain jacket for inclement weather.
  • Do NOT go into closed areas! The closure marked by rope lines, and hazard signs protects you from potentially lethal volcanic fumes, sudden and unpredictable rim collapses, hidden earth cracks, and much more. Hazardous volcanic gas can be a danger to everyone, especially people with heart or respiratory problems, infants, young children, and pregnant women. Check the air quality before and during your visit.
 
Scientist using a monitoring device atop the edge of a volcanic crater

What's Going On With The Volcanoes?

Get the latest update on volcanic activity.

A lava lake in a volcanic crater

Webcams

Get a live look inside the park, courtesy of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Trees shrouded in fog

Weather and Climate

Be prepared for the island's unpredictable weather.

Two hikers on a road with a distant snow-covered mountain

Safety

Many hazards exist in this dynamic landscape. Be prepared and informed so your visit is safe and enjoyable.

Last updated: January 10, 2023

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Hawaii National Park , HI 96718

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