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Where can I see active lava flow?

Ask the Big Kahuna

“Answering the most common visitor questions”


Question:

Where can I see an active volcano with red lava? Thanks.

Joe,
Spokane, WA


Response:

Aloha Joe-

The Big Island is where Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano, can be found.

Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and you will be able to explore amazing landscape created by previous lava flows. But if it is red lava you seek, then you will have to prepare yourself for a hike along the rugged coastline.

Currently, the lava is flowing into the ocean at several remote spots and there is no surface lava for visitors to see. If you drive down the Chain of Craters Road and hike several hours along the coastline, you will be able to see the VOG (volcanic fumes/gasses) up close, but it is after sunset when you will see the red glow of lava entering the ocean. Volcanoes and lava flows are unpredictable and always changing, so start at the Kilauea Visitor Center to get updates on the current lava flow and safety tips.

Be safe, my lava-seeking friend — common sense is not enough when you want an adventure with Pele (goddess of the volcano, governing the flow of lava).

Another great way to see the volcano is on an air tour. You can even fly out of Maui. This is possibly the best way to view the inaccessible areas where you can see down into caverns and holes where the lava is bubbling inside.