Safety

Large earth crack off trail.
If done safely, exploring a volcano can be a thrilling experience. Stay on marked trails.

NPS Photo/J.Wei

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National remains open 24 hours a day, and the public is reminded to stay safe by following these precautions:

  • Volcanic conditions can be hazardous and change at any time. Stay on marked trails and overlooks, and avoid earth cracks and cliff edges. Do not enter closed areas.
  • Levels of volcanic gas (sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide) can remain locally hazardous even though Kīlauea is no longer erupting. At risk groups include people with heart or respiratory conditions, infants, young children and pregnant women. For more information on air quality visit: https://www.hawaiiso2network.com/
  • Slow down and drive safely. Expect long waits for parking spaces at popular vantage points like Kīlauea Overlook.
  • At 1,219 meters, (4,000 feet), the summit of Kīlauea can be chilly at any time. Bring a rain jacket, wear long pants and closed-toe shoes.

COVID-19

The danger of COVID-19 remains the same. Visitors are urged to recreate responsibly by acting with care while in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park:

  • Visitors are required to wear face masks indoors including restrooms. Businesses in the park, such as Volcano House, Volcano Art Center Gallery, and the Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association store, may require masks to be worn inside the facilities they operate.
  • Masks are required indoors for all, and are optional outdoors but recommended when in crowds. Masks are required for everyone on all forms of public transportation.

  • Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of distance between you and others.   
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use your hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.   
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.    
  • If you feel sick, please visit another day.  

Hiking

  • Use only open trails and roads and stay on marked trails. Closed areas, trails and roads are dangerous, do not enter.
  • Stay away from cliffs, cracks, and steam vents; these unstable features may collapse or be slippery.
  • Wear sturdy close-toed shoes.
  • Hiking on lava rock can be hazardous due to uneven, unstable, and sharp hiking surfaces.
  • Lava fields are shadeless and hot. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Carry at least two quarts of drinking water per person.
  • Along the coast expect strong winds, steep cliffs, high waves, and unpredictable surf.
  • If possible, hike and travel with at least one other person and let someone know where you plan to visit.
  • Stay out of closed areas. Visitors in closed areas put visitor resource protection staff at risk.

Driving

  • Stay alert. Scenic views, wildlife, the navigation system, your phone, passengers. These are some of the many things that can distract you while driving on a national park roadway.
  • Don’t be in a rush to get from Point A to Point B when visiting. Roads are narrower, speed limits are slower, and curves may be steep.
  • Buckle up! It’s the law. Wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to prevent serious injury and death.
  • Always be aware of pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles. Check your mirrors and blind spots before merging, turning, or switching lanes.

 

Wildlife

  • Never approach animals. The animals at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be. The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from a distance. Exercise caution when driving. Wildlife such as the nēnē and wild pigs may be around roadways.
  • A good rule of thumb is, well, "the rule of thumb." It is a technique to help ensure you are staying a respectful distance from wildlife. Hold out your arm, raise your thumb, and close one eye. If you cannot cover the animal with your thumb, you are probably too close.
  • Never feed wildlife. Animals that become dependent on human food may become aggressive toward people. Keep all food, garbage, or other smelly items packed away when not in use.

Last updated: June 14, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

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

Phone:

(808) 985-6011

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