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HAWAII VOLCONOES NATIONAL PARK After an enormous effort to createFranko’s Map Hawaii National Park Guide Map, which included unique and interesting new mapping technology, tons of research, and hiking and exploring the miles and miles of trails and roads of the park, it is at last done! I have come to love the Big Island for many reasons, but Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the number one reason. It is so-o-o-o-o incredible! Only Yellowstone National Park is equally dynamic. To see just the Kilauea Caldera is amazing, but the whole park is so extraordinary that words struggle to do it justice. Franko’s Hawaii National Park Guide Maprelies on exactly 5,999 words, 19 great photos, lots of illustrations, and marvelous new mapping techniques to present this wonderful National Park for your edification and enjoyment. As THE map maker, it is hard to be pleased with my own work. But Oh, my Goodness! I LOVE this map.
As I study and reviewFranko’s Hawaii National Park Guide MapI am reminded just how impressive this place is. I recall walking out to the edge of Halemaumau Crater at 7:00am, all alone on a typically cool morning. I watched the steam spewing from all kinds of holes and fissures and then went to the edge of the crater and peered in. I had been there several times before, but this time I was trying to think of how to describe it on a map. Just a few days before I had been to Pearl Harbor and the Aloha Stadium on Oahu. On Franko’s Map of Pearl Harbor I actually drew an aerial view of Aloha Stadium on the map (it is right next to Pearl Harbor). As I looked into Halemaumau, the legendary home of Pele, Goddess of Fire, I wondered how much bigger is this crater than Aloha Stadium. When I got home to my map making I took my Aloha Stadium image and scaled it next to Halemaumau Crater, and then copied and pasted it over and over to see how many Aloha Stadiums would fit into the crater. The answer was 15! Halemaumau is a huge crater. But wait, the Halemaumau Crater is a relatively small thing that sits within a much larger crater called the Kilauea Caldera. This is the most famous feature of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. So I estimated how many Aloha Stadiums would fit inside the Kilauea Caldera as well. The answer is 150. This tidbit of interesting information is on the map.
When I first made Franko’s Dive Map of Hawaii, The Big Island, back in the year 2000, I visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for my first time. I was interested in how immense the Mauna Loa Volcano really is. I speculated that Mauna Loa is the world’s largest mountain. With a bit of research I learned that I was right. At that time I did a drawing (more like a computer “painting”) of Mauna Loa, and compared its actual size to the greatest mountains in the world, such as Mount Everest, Kilamanjaro, Mont Blanc, Aconcagua, Matterhorn, and Mount Fuji. It turns out that Mauna Loa, the biggest feature of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, absolutely dwarfs ALL of these major mountains in size and height. In fact it is far, far more massive than all of them put together. It is not only the biggest feature of Hawaii volcanoes National Park, it is the biggest feature of the whole of planet Earth! Of course, I depicted the mountain comparison and put it on Franko’s Hawaii National Park Guide Map. When I walked across the Kau Desert downwind from Kilauea Caldera I found it interesting that here is a place that gets a large amount of precipitation, yet appears to be a desolate. The reason for this goes back to those steam-spewing holes and fissures in and around the caldera. It turns out that that steam is not so good for living things. The rains turn acidic, and thus only a few hardy plants can continually survive Kilauea’s downwind climate. A favorite Hawaii Volcanoes National Park experience was when Mrs. Franko and I drove to the end of Chain of Craters Road (you can see it on side 1 of Franko’s Hawaii National Park Guide Map). We got to witness a live lava flow streaming down the flank of the mountain to the sea. We arrived at the end of the road at sunset and saw the brilliant glow in the dark. Earlier in the day we hiked across the shiny black lava from the upwind side to see the explosion of steam where the lava entered the sea. Of course, all of this changes daily and every experience at the ever changing, growing and evolving Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is unique. That is why I call it “dynamic” and compare it to Yellowstone National Park. In 2007 I visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park twice and explored it thoroughly. The first visit was with my wife, but the second visit was alone, enabling me to wear myself out on long hikes. My favorite hike at started at the Volcano House Hotel, went along the Earthquake Trail (which used to be a road until a big earthquake in 1983), over to Thurston Lava Tube, through the tube, then down into the Kilauea Iki Crater, across the crater along the Waldron Ledge, down to the edge of the massive Kilauea Crater (it is 3-miles across), and up the Halemaumau Trail to the Volcano House Hotel again. When I was on the broad floor of the Kilauea Iki Crater I pictured it as it was in 1959, with lava jetting out of its southwest corner 1900 feet high, splattering against the opposite wall of the huge crater, forming a deep, molten lava lake. The still-cooling lava vents of Kilauea Iki Crater let off steam to this day, and it could erupt to form a new lava lake in the future. This was approximately a 7-mile trek, with lots of ups and downs and some rugged conditions, but I saw some fairly feeble old folks and well as some kids enjoying various parts of the hike, so it offers something for nearly everybody. I took 200 photos and managed the hike in 1 hour and 45 minutes. This is a ridiculously fast pace, in fact I jogged some of it, but I still had lots and lots to see that day. When you hike here, bring lots of water. I noticed that the Kilauea Iki Overlook was easily wheelchair accessible as well. This is true for many of the sites and stops all around the Kilauea Caldera. If you look closely at side 2 of Franko’s Hawaii National Park Guide Map you will find the trails I am talking about and descriptions of the notable sites along the way. You could hike miles here every day for the rest of your life and not be bored with it. However, most people who visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park only have a few hours, and are touring from their automobiles. Therefore, the favorite part of this fabulous park is the 11-mile Crater Rim Drive. On side 2 of my map I describe Crater Rim Drive as follows: CRATER RIM DRIVE This 11-mile drive encircles Kilauea Crater, goes through desert and rain forest, and has many places to stop for scenic views and short walks. The pullouts and easy hikes to magnificent viewpoints all around this drive are perfect for visitors who have a limited amount of time to visit the park. Others will want to more closely explore Sulphur Banks, Steam Vents, Jaggar Museum, Halemaumau Crater, Keanakakoi Crater, Devastation Trail, Kilauea Iki Crater, Thurston Lava Tube, and the area around the Visitor Center and the Volcano House Hotel. There are still 5,909 more words on the map. It behooves you to get the map – after all a picture tells a thousand words, and at that rate there are many thousands of words you don’t want to miss. Also, an interesting phenomenon occurs for the owner of a Franko Map. You start to study it, learn about the place, and you somehow find yourself going there! It is strange, but that is what happens. I will presently describe side 1 and 2 of Franko’s Hawaii National Park Guide Map for you, including ALL of the captions. Thank-you for reading this far. By now I hope you will get a copy of Franko’s Hawaii National Park Guide Map in your own hands and prepare your own adventure to this marvelous destination.Side 1 of Franko’s Hawaii National Park Guide Map: This is the most amazing depiction of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, or any other National Park that has ever been created! Yes, I know I made the map, but it is true! The technique, technology and LOVE that went into creating Franko’s Hawaii National Park Guide Map has never been equaled in a map. The inspiration that caused the colorful depiction of the mountain and its lava flows has never been equaled either. The words that describe the details have never been written before, so they are new, powerful and accurate. Even the depiction of the sea below the volcanic slope is brilliant and unique, showing the bathymetry in see-through ocean water. This map view of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park looks like an aerial or a space photo, yet it was created on a base of digital elevation models from the USGS. In other words, the base data of the map is courtesy of Uncle Sam. The colors laid on top of the base digital image, however, are beautiful and unique, courtesy of yours truly and my able right-hand map man, the ever inspired Mr. Bill Tipton. The rendering of this map background, i.e., the hues of the volcanoes flows, the sea, etc., have come about as a result of an interesting and unique mix of high technology and the pure heart. I can’t describe how this happens, nor can I repeat it. It just happens, and I believe you will enjoy it, because even I like this map. So, let us just say that upon close inspection, side 1 of Franko’s Hawaii National Park Guide Map is fabulous, and it does indeed do justice to the fabulous Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The words of the map tell quite a story about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Caption-by-caption it is as follows:HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK Encompassing 333,000 acres from sea level to the 13,679-foot summit of Mauna Loa, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has the world's largest and most active volcanoes. Kilauea is an erupting volcano with glowing molten lava often flowing to the sea, in which case steam explodes out of the crashing waves. Although this has occurred almost continuously since 1983, on Father’s Day, 2007, this trend abruptly stopped, and the lava began flowing on to the north out of vents just east of Puu Oo. The yellow and orange shadings shown on this map indicate the eruptions of just the last few years. Over 90 percent of the land surface area shown on the map above is covered by lava that is 1100 years old or newer. You can drive through the park and get a glimpse of the fresh, black lava fields, fuming steam, scenic crater vistas, and short hikes. However, it really takes days to explore the park well. Seeing a real lava flow may be a hike of several hours, safe conditions permitting, although such favorable conditions are not often likely. The shortest, easiest, and safest exploration begins at the Kilauea Visitor Center at Volcano National Park Headquarters. Then tour the Volcano Art Center & Museum, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the Jaggar Museum, plus the world famous Volcano House. After visiting these sites, continue your visit with a drive around the Kilauea Caldera, making sure not to miss the Halemaumau Crater, which is revered the very home of Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire. This guide map will lead you to a good understanding of your unforgettable visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. LAVA FLOW & STEAM PLUME VIEWING A 24-mile drive from Kilauea Crater to the coast at Holei Sea Arch provides fantastic views and a feel for the awesome size of the world’s most active volcano. When ever there is a seaward lava flow, the up-mountain perspective from the end of the road is also the place where visitors can often best see a “LAZE” (Lava Haze) steam plume rising, or to see a trickle of lava descending from Puu Oo or the Chain of Craters high on the pali. If the lava is flowing toward the sea, the end-of-the-road view sometimes reveals a bright red ribbon of lava streaming down the mountain.LAVA FLOW Kilauea's dynamic lava flow has covered thousands of acres of lush landscape and neighborhoods, with 189 homes and other structures being destroyed. The lava flow has added hundreds of acres of new land to the Big Island since 1983, most of which has flowed out of the ever-changing Puu Oo Vent. January 3, 2008 marked the 25th birthday of this volcanic vent, which has grown to 1/4-mile (0.4 km) across. The white dotted line just inland from the shoreline on the map above indicates where the shoreline was back in 1983 when this eruption event began. As of July 21, 2007 the Puu Oo vent has for a time ceased to vent lava down its slopes and lava tubes to the sea. Instead, several fissures just east of Puu Oo in the East Rift Zone have opened up and the lava is pooling without flowing to the sea. The nature of the Kilauea Volcano dictate that this is sure to change. The map above shows in hot colors the more recent lava flow events in the Puu Oo area. You may track the current eruptions at the U.S. Government website: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/kilauea/update/maps.html For current eruption updates and information you may also call: (808) 985-6000.HAWAIIAN AIR POLLUTION Volcanic Smog, or "VOG", is formed by gasses spewing out of Kilauea's Puu Oo vent. 2000 tons of sulphur dioxide and other noxious fumes rise into the atmosphere every day. Hawaii's trade winds diminish the effect, but the absence of typical trades sometimes makes VOG a health hazard, even on the lovely Kona Coast, or all the way to Waikiki. The steam plume rising at the sea cliffs when lava pours into the ocean is also laden with hazardous lava haze gasses, referred to as "LAZE". When winds take VOG or LAZE over vegetated areas the rains become acidic and damage plants. LAVA HAZE or “LAZE” Laze forms when molten lava flows into the sea. When seawater flashes into steam upon contact with lava, chemical reactions create hydrochloric acid. When the wind blows along the shore or inland, it can also mix with precipitation, making acid rain. Although the lava does not always flow into the sea, it is advised that when it does to be well downwind, and/or not in line with the LAZE plume, because with or without rain it is corrosive and hazardous to your health.PUU LOA PETROGLYPHS A 20-minute walk leads to a boardwalk around ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs. This area has an astounding 24,000 etchings, making it one of the world’s largest petroglyph fields. CAMPING The Park has first-come-first-served, free drive-in campgrounds at Namakani Paio and Kulanaokuaiki. Both have water and rest rooms. Namakani Paio even has cabins available via the Volcano House Hotel. Primitive hike-in campgrounds are shown on the map. Water must be carried with you or treated.KAU DESERT This area appears to be a desert even though it receives substantial rainfall. However, fuming gasses from Kilauea Caldera cause the rain to become acidic and lethal to plant life.BLACK SANDS BEACH Next to the fine volcanic sand at Black Sands Beach (Punaluu Beach Park), there are tall, graceful coconut palms, a freshwater estuary, and hawksbill turtles grazing on the algae along the offshore rocks. This protected habitat for the hawksbill turtles is also a snorkeling and scuba diving spot full of colorful corals and reef fish. Surfing is good on summer's south swells, but the current can be very strong. Don't become a part of the food chain!MULIWAI A PELE “Muliwai” translates to “river of lava”. This flow from Mauna Ulu rolled over the road in 1974 .MAU LOA O MAUNA ULU This trailhead sits atop 1969 to 1974 lava flows Mauna Ulu.PUU HULUHULU LOOKOUT A 1-mile trail over lava fields and past lava trees leads up this forested hill to a grand view, including the smoldering Puu Oo vent 6 miles east.PUU OO Located on the East Rift Zone, the largest cone on Kilauea arose in 1983 and has been erupting continuously ever since. In 1990 two small towns, Kalapana and Kaimu, were destroyed by lava flowing from Puu Oo. The size and shape of Puu Oo are ever changing in the ceaseless volcanic activity.SCENIC DRIVES WITHIN HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARKCircle Rim Drive 11 mi (17.6 km) loop with 400’ (122m) elevation change. Favorite vistas and short hikes.Hilina Pali Overlook 18 mi (29 km) round trip with 1400’ (427m) elevation change on a one-lane road.Summit to Sea 40 mi (65 km) round trip with 3700’ (1127m) elevation change with many lookouts and hikes on Chain of Craters Road.Mauna Loa Road 22 mi (36 km) round trip climbs 2600’ (792m) up volcano. Most of road is one-lane.AKATSUKA ORCHID GARDENS Although outside of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, this garden, with one of the largest orchid collections in Hawaii, is worth your stop. Free self-guided tours reveal rare orchids as well as common species from around the world. New orchid varieties are created with cross pollination. Agriculturally inspected orchid plants and flowers can be shipped home. (808) 967-8234THE 1984 ERUPTION Mauna Loa eruptions usually occur in the Mokuaweoweo summit caldera, then migrate along the rift zones. The 1984 eruption migrated down to the 9,200 foot level, and flowed 8 miles in the first 24 hours. Within 22 days it was ominously threatening Hilo, just 4 miles out. However, townspeoples’ prayers were answered as it abruptly stopped.MAUNA LOA TRAIL Extremely challenging 7.5-mile hike from the Mauna Loa Lookout to a cabin at Red Hill, 10,035 feet (3058m) high, and then 11.6 miles more to the primitive Mauna Loa summit cabin at 13,250, where the sub-arctic climate can make you freeze, snowy whiteouts happen any day of the year, and altitude sickness is common. The route follows the Northeast Rift Zone and provides distant views of 5 volcanoes. The alpine stone desert begins at 9000 feet (2953m), and leads across many-colored fields of cinder, a-a, and pahoehoe to the Mokuaweoweo Caldera. The round trip is a 3 to 4 day ordeal. Registration with the National Park Visitor Center is required. The trail begins where Mauna Loa Road ends. Info: (808) 985-6000.MAUNA LOA LOOKOUT Spectacular view and picnic at 6662 feet (2031m) elevation. The drive up is 11 miles, 8 miles of which are on a one-lane road.KILAUEA The most active volcano in the world. Eruptions at Kilauea occur primarily from the summit caldera or along the East or Southwest rift zones that extend from the caldera to the sea. Kilauea erupted 45 times during the 20th century. The volcano has been erupting virtually continuously since 1983 from a cone called Puu Oo, which is located on the East Rift Zone. MAUNA LOA By far the world’s largest mountain, Mauna Loa is considered one of the most potentially dangerous volcanoes in the world. Towns were destroyed by the volcano in 1926 and 1950, and in 1984 streaming lava from Mauna Loa’s most recent eruption nearly reached Hilo. One of the world’s most active volcanoes, 98% of its surface is less than 10,000 years old. AINAPO TRAIL Extreme hikers climb Mauna Loa's uplands along its southwest slope. It is 20.4 mi (33 km) to the park boundary. Hikers follow stone cairns across recent lava flows, pastures, forests, and then the alpine stone desert. Register with Hawaii Div. of Forestry & Wildlife at (808) 974-4221 to hike the lower trail, and with National Park Rangers at (808) 985-6000 to go to the summit. The trailhead is near the 40.5 mi mark on Hwy. 11.FOOTPRINTS IN ASH There are local accounts that tell a story of Hawaiian warriors that were overcome by a hot, pyroclastic gas and ash explosion in 1790, killing them all. Other warriors who came through, finding their dead brethren, left their footprints in the fresh Kau desert ash to be preserved until a geologist accidentally discovered them in 1919.HOME OF PELE Since ancient times Kilauea Caldera and the Halemaumau Crater have been revered as the Home of Pele, the sacred Hawaiian fire goddess who is the living deity of Hawaii's volcanoes. It is said that Pele controls the limitless powers of creation with her molten strength and unearthly beauty. From 1983 until 2007 she has created new land, pouring lava from Kilauea's Puu Oo vent, adding hundreds of acres along the Big Island’s shore. Visitors often witness lava flowing down toward the sea from the vantage at the end of Chain Of Craters Road. At times the view is near, at other times it is from afar. However, at the whim of Pele the flow may even redirect itself in another direction that is not visible or approachable at all. The just-after-sunset view of brilliantly glowing lava can be spectacular. Steam explodes from the sea whenever the molten lava flows into the crashing waves. In the Kilauea Caldera steam rises and sometimes sputters out of hundreds of vents in a still-cooling lava field. The sights and sounds of the Home of Pele are awesome. BICYCLE RIDES IN HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK1. Circle the Rim 11 mi (17.6 km) loop with 400' elevation change. Crater Rim Drive encircles Kilauea Caldera. Bicyclists watch out for sight-seers in cars. 2. Escape Road to Mauna Ulu 12.5 mi (20 km) mountain bike loop with 800' elevation change. Escape Road descends through forest and across a 1973 lava flow to the Mauna Ulu parking lot. Return via Chain of Craters Road and Crater Rim Drive.3. Hilina Pali Overlook 18 mi (29 km) round trip with 1400' elevation change. This narrow paved road winds downhill over old lava flows in the Kau Desert to Hilina Pali Overlook. Often hot and windy.4. Ainahou Ranch 5.7 mi (8.8 km) round trip with 800' elevation change. 4.5 miles down Chain of Craters Road there is a turn onto a service road with a locked gate. This bumpy road drops 800' in 2.7 mi (4.4 km) to the Keauhou hiking trail, with great views. 5. Summit to Sea Descend 3700’ (1128 m) over 20+ miles through remnants of forest and huge lava flows to the coastal plain. Gusty winds and volcanic air pollution along the Chain of Craters Road are almost guaranteed. Ascent is hot, windy, and steep. No water is available.6. Mauna Loa Lookout 13.5 mi (43 km) one way with 2600' elevation change on the lower slopes of Mauna Loa Volcano to the lookout at 6662' (2031 m). Parking is available at Kipuka Puaulu picnic.MAUNA LOA'S MOST SPECTACULAR ERUPTION Mauna Loa has erupted 37 times since 1832, with the most recent being in 1950, 1975 and 1984. The 1950 eruption of Mauna Loa's Southwest Rift blasted lava out of a 12-mile-long fissure all at once. The lava roared to the sea in just 4 hours. This is the most powerful eruption ever witnessed on Hawaii. Mauna Loa has been erupting and building for over 700,000 years, and it rose from the sea floor to the ocean surface 400,000 years ago. It is by far the world's biggest mountain, rising 32,000 feet from the sea floor (see graphic below).Side 1 of Franko’s Hawaii National Park Guide Map: For most visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes national Park side 2 of this map will be more important than side 1, because it zooms in on Kilauea Caldera, focusing primarily on the 11-mile Crater Rim Drive around the huge crater. This view, like the side 1 view, is made from USGS data, with some rather superb artwork to create the most real looking map of a national Park that has ever been created. It is absolutely stunning, as if you yourself are flying 3 miles high over the Kilauea Caldera. Trail names, distances between intersections of trails, the names of every important part of the Kilauea Caldera area, every single scenic and historic site along the route of Crater Rim Drive, and even the year of the lava flows that you see s you circumnavigate this gaping caldera. Starting at the Kilauea Visitor Center, the counterclockwise captions on this side of the map are as follows:KILAUEA VISITOR CENTER Open daily from 7:45am to 5:00pm. The 25-minute film “Born of Fire, Born of the Sea” is shown every hour from 9:00am to 4:00pm. A schedule for ranger-guided walks is usually posted every morning. From the visitor center, it is just a three-minute walk to a fabulous view of the Kilauea Caldera. VOLCANO ARTS CENTER Enjoy this gallery right next to the Visitor Center. You will see one-of-a-kind art and fine crafts by over a hundred artists. For information call (808) 967-7565SULPHUR BANKS Volcanic gases rich in carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and hydrogen sulphide seep out of the ground along with groundwater steam. Rotten-egg-smelling sulphur gases deposit pure crystals at Sulphur Banks. Other sulphur gases form sulphuric acid which breaks down the lava to clay. This clay is stained red and brown with iron oxide. STEAMING BLUFF This is a treeless plain between the inner and outer cliffs of Kilauea Caldera. The ground just a few feet down is so hot that only shallow-rooted grasses and plants grow here. Ground water seeps down to the hot volcanic rocks and returns to the surface as steam. Visitors enjoy the easy, short walk to the caldera's edge to see the steam along the bluff.VOLCANO GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB Emerald green links, pines and flowering ohias belie the spectacular natural wonder of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park which surrounds this beautiful golf course.TREE MOLDS A deep lava flow overran and torched the forest here centuries ago. Molten pahoehoe lava enveloped the largest of tree trunks, hardening around them. What is left today are fascinating tree mold holes in the ground.KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP Idyllic vacation haven for active and retired military personnel, the Reserve, National Guard and their dependents, plus retired DOD civil servants, Coast Guard civilian employees, and sponsored guests. Call (808) 967-8333 or(808) 967-7315.NAMAKANI PAIO CAMPGROUND First-come-first-served, free drive-in camping. Water and restrooms available.NAMAKANI PAIO CABINS Ten cozy cabins with three beds and a barbeque, plus a picnic table. Managed by Volcano House Hotel. Call (808) 967-7321 KILAUEA OVERLOOK This is a fine, uncrowded picnic spot with a stupendous overlook of the Kilauea Caldera and Halemaumau Crater. LIPUKA PUAULU (BIRD PARK) This is a 1.2 mi (1.9 km) easy walk on a self-guided nature trail through a tall, enchanting Kipuka forest. Many birds, including endemic species like the lovely little Apapane are seen and heard.HANDICAP ACCESS People with disabilities can access many viewpoints and trails within the park. Wheelchairs are available at the Kilauea Visitor Center, Jaggar Museum and the Ranger Station. Suitable wheelchair trails include Sulphur Banks Trail, Devastation Trail, Puahi Crater Trail, Muliwai a Pele, Kealakomo, and Crater Rim Trail immediately in front of Volcano House. Most turnouts and viewpointscan be enjoyed from the car or the immediate parking lot as well. Campgrounds are also accessible. PETS Your pets must be under control at all times. There are NO DOGS allowed on the backcountry. These rules exist to protect the Nene and other wildlife.HAWAIIAN WILDLIFE Hawaii’s unique biodiversity has been severely compromised by human activity and the introduction of non-native plants and animals. An all-out effort by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is restoring and maintaining habitats to help native species flourish.HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY Founded in 1912 by Thomas Jaggar, the observatory monitors the four active Hawaiian volcanoes: Mauna Loa, Kilauea, Haleakala, and Hualalai. The observatory is a worldwide leader in the study of active volcanism. Sorry, the observatory is closed to the public.JAGGAR MUSEUM Inside this busy museum are working seismographs, hands-on activities, and geologic displays. Outside at the museum overlook is an eagle-eye view of the breathtaking Kilauea Caldera and the Halemaumau Crater. If the weather isn’t cooperating, the museum has picture windows for a view while you wait for the weather to clear. VOLCANIC FUMES Noxious sulphurous fumes steam out of hundreds of vents in Halemaumau Crater, Sulphur Banks, and other areas in and around Kilauea Crater. These fumes may be hazardous to your health. If you are with an infant or small children, are pregnant, elderly, or if you have respiratory or heart problems, you should avoid these fuming areas. CRATER RIM DRIVE This 11-mile drive encircles Kilauea Crater, goes through desert and rain forest, and has many places to stop for scenic views and short walks. The pullouts and easy hikes to magnificent viewpoints all around this drive are perfect for visitors who have a limited amount of time to visit the park. Others will want to more closely explore Sulphur Banks, Steam Vents, Jaggar Museum, Halemaumau Crater, Keanakakoi Crater, Devastation Trail, Kilauea Iki Crater, Thurston Lava Tube, and the area around the Visitor Center and the Volcano House Hotel.HALEMAUMAU OVERLOOK One of the highlights of your trip around Crater Rim Drive is this short hike past a rock-strewn barren landscape, spewing with noxious fumes, to this unbelievable lookout. It is at this lookout that you will begin to understand the magnitude of the awesome Halemaumau Crater and the much larger Kilauea Crater.SCALE COMPARISON How big is the Halemaumau Crater and the Kilauea Crater? This drawing of the Aloha Stadium in Honolulu is to scale with this map for comparison to these huge craters. Fifteen stadiums would fit on the floor of the Halemaumau Crater, and over 150 stadiums would fit within the Kilauea Crater.HALEMAUMAU CRATER This is the home of Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire. This site is sacred to Hawaiians. The crater is currently 280 feet deep and 3000 feet in diameter. After a huge eruption in 1924, the crater was 1345 feet deep. Since then, a series of smaller eruptions has gradually filled the crater with lava. Halfway up the sides of the crater a ledge can be seen, which marks the level of a lake of lava that was present in 1967 to 1968. Much of the lava on the floor of the crater is from a 1974 eruption. As you walk out to the overlook, you will smell sulphurous volcanic fumes. These fumes are hazardous to young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and persons with respiratory or heart problems. Halemaumau last erupted in 1982. SOUTHWEST RIFT ZONE Crater Rim Drive crosses Kilauea's Southwest Rift Zone, where the ground is deeply fractured in an area of weak surface along thevolcano's flanks. The Southwest Rift Zone starts at Kilauea's summit and continues to the coast and down into the sea below. This area receives 40 inches of rain per year, yet looks void of vegetation. This is because the 300 tons daily of sulphur dioxide gas coughed up by the Halemaumau Crater creates natural acid rain.NENE The Hawaiian Goose, an endangered species, is the Hawaii state bird. The Nene nests and feeds in the park. Please be aware that speed limits are in place for their protection. Please do not feed the geese as this encourages them to approach dangerous traffic.“A’A” VERSUS “PAHOEHOE” Geologists world-wide use these ancient Hawaiian words to describe the two distinct types of lava, which are found all over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The smooth, almost glassy lava is PAHOEHOE. This lava is formed by extremely hot, liquid lava that has solidified in a molten shape. The chunky, crumbly, piled-up type of lava is called A’A, which is formed when the lava is not as hot and not totally in molten form. It crumbles with the movement of theflow. Remember Pele's curse! Do not take a souvenir piece of lava home. Many will testify that this act brings a curse upon the souvenir taker until the day that it is returned! Please be respectful and save yourself from this fate. Removing lava souvenirs is illegal.HALEMAUMAU TRAIL Moderate 3-mile hike (one-way) from the Visitor Center, 500 feet down into the Kilauea Crater, and across to the other-worldly Halemaumau Overlook. KILAUEA CALDERA A caldera exists at Kilauea’s summit because of collapse caused by magma swelling the summit area and then draining rapidly into the rift zones. The basin was about 900 feet deep when first observed by westerners in 1832. Since then, repeated eruption over-flows from Halemaumau Crater and the caldera floor have refilled the basin almost half-way. KEANAKAKOI CRATER This Hawaiian name translates to “Cave of the Adze’s”, as the smoothpahoehoe lava here was the preferred adze tool- making stone in ancient times. The crater is 115 feet deep and about 1500 feet wide. Most of the crater floor is lava from a 1974 eruption. DEVASTATION TRAIL 1/2 mile path where the forest was destroyed by the explosive Kilauea Iki fountain eruption of 1959. The earth is scorched and the trees are torched from the sizzling cinders that littered the area over a 36 day period.PUHIMAU CRATER This 525-foot-deep crater’s name translates to “Ever Smoking.” It is as deep as it is wide. Although the Puhimau Crater is not smoking, there is a new 12-acre thermal area on its northwest side where the trees have died.LUA MANU CRATER This 327-foot-diameter pit crater is within Kilauea’s great caldera, and it is the uppermost crater in the Chain of Craters. To its northwest are a collection of lava tree molds.KILAUEA IKI CRATER This mile-long crater formed about 500 years ago. Prior to the 1959 eruption, the crater was 600 feet deep and heavily forested. It is now 400 feet deep with a flat lava floor from the eruption. From Nov. 14 until Dec. 20, 1959, a spectacular eruption blasted from a fissure into the sky, as shown in this photo. Shooting lava formed Puu Puai and sprayed thousands of tons of lava clear across the crater, splattering it against the north wall and creating a lava lake that was 400 feet deep. KILAUEA IKI TRAIL Wonderful 4.5-mile trek from the Kilauea Iki Overlook, down through fern forests into the fuming Kilauea Iki Crater, and then across the crater floor, where a 1959 eruption blasted lava up to 1900 feet high.THURSTON (NAHAKU) LAVA TUBE Short hike through a lava tube in the middle of a cool fern forest. The lava tube is approximately 550 years old, and about 400 feet long. It was discovered in 1913, and at the time was full of volcanic stalactites, which have since been stolen.EARTHQUAKE TRAIL In 1983 this section of Crater Rim Drive collapsed during a 6.6-magnitude earthquake. The drive was rerouted, and what is left of this section of Crater Rim Drive is now a walking trail. VOLCANO VILLAGE Near the park entry is an artists' colony with good food, a gas station and several nice bed-and-breakfast cottages..HALEMAUMAU TRAIL Moderate 3.5-mile hike (one-way) from the Visitor Center, 500 feet down into the Kilauea Crater, and across to the other-worldly Halemaumau Overlook. The Overlook is more easily approached from the parking turnout on Crater Rim Drive.VOLCANO HOUSE HOTEL Situated right on the edge of Kilauea Crater, this has been THE place to stay for Kilauea visitors since 1846. This is the best location for accessing the wonders of Volcanoes National Park. The lobby fireplace has been burning since 1880. Call (808) 967-7321