Lava Viewing Area

Top choice viewpoint in Kalapana Area

Pele (the goddess of fire) is fickle. She may treat you to a primordial fireworks display of molten rock exploding in the waves or show you nothing at all. Keep expectations in check. When flows are consistent, Civil Defense sets up an information center, recently located at the end of Hwy 130. Although you can hike to the lava at any time, the parking lot is staffed by informative personnel and emergency services between 3pm and 9pm.

At time of research, it was a 4-mile one-way hike down the gravel emergency road to view the ocean entry, and another 1 to 3 miles over warm lava rock to find surface breakouts. Enterprising locals rent bicycles ($10 per hour) in varying stages of repair.

Dress appropriately, bring plenty of water and a light, and respect private property. If venturing near an active flow, remember that what looks like solid rock may be just a thin crust over a nasty mistake.