Tourists view the Sulphur banks that can be found walking along the boardwalk in Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, Hawaii. Volcanic gases steam from the ground as sulphur vents / steam vents
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Sulphur Banks

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

A wooden boardwalk weaves between misty, rocky vents stained chartreuse, yellow, orange and other psychedelic colors by tons of sulfur-infused steam rising from deep within the earth. Once frequented by rare birds (hence the Hawaiian name, Haʻakulamanu), invasive plants and other changes to the environment have made it less hospitable to nene (native Hawaiian goose) and kolea (Pacific golden plover). The easy 0.7-mile one-way trail connects to Crater Rim Dr near the parking lot for Steaming Bluff. Wheelchair-accessible.

About 500 years ago, Kilauea's summit collapsed inward leaving a series of concentric cliffs stepping down towards its center. These sulphur banks are on the outermost ring and formed due to deep cracks along the fault that allow gases to escape from the magma pocket below. This potent gas creates the small crystalline structures that give the rocks their hue.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park attractions

1. Volcano Art Center


Near the Kilauea Visitor Center, this sharp local art gallery spotlights museum-quality pottery, paintings, woodwork, sculpture, jewelry, Hawaiian quilts…

2. Kilauea Visitor Center & Museum

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Stop here first on your visit to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Extraordinarily helpful (and remarkably patient) rangers and volunteers can advise you…

3. Steam Vents & Steaming Bluff


Creating impressive billowing plumes in the cool early morning, these vents make a convenient drive-up photo op. Hot rocks below the surface boil…

4. Lava Tree Molds

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Near the start of Mauna Loa Rd, there's a turnoff to some neglected lava tree molds – deep wells that formed when lava flows engulfed the rainforest and…

5. Kilauea

1.47 MILES

Kilauea volcano lies at the center of activity in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The unassuming bump on Mauna Loa's southeast flank would be easily…

6. Halemaʻumaʻu Crater

1.53 MILES

The original Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook off Crater Rim Dr was closed in 2008 due to volcanic activity and the very real threat of death. For the next decade,…

7. Niaulani Campus

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On the edge of an old-grown ohia forest, this campus of the main Volcano Art Center gallery in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park showcases spillover and…

8. Kilauea Overlook


A pause-worthy panorama that was closed at time of research with an expected reopening date in 2020. It's most remarkable for the 6-ton volcanic bomb…