Leaving Hilo, we hit the road to visit the Volcanoes National Park. During our visit, we are in the midst of the longest government shutdown so we weren’t certain what would be open or accessible to the public. It wasn’t clear reviewing the website if the park was even open. We took the drive to see what we would find.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Driving into the park, we were greeted with a reader board reminding us we were in the midst of the government shutdown.

Fortunately, the gate was open and we drove up to the visitor’s center. The park is a joint venture between the National Park Service and Hawai’i Pacific Parks. The main visitor’s center was open and staffed. From the visitor’s center, you can start a 1.5 – 2-mile walk to the creator and loop back to the visitor’s center. The first stop on the walking tour is the Sulphur Banks Trail. It is a serene site to see steam venting from the tree line and foreground. There is a slight sulphuric smell but it is not overwhelming.

Steam Vents at Sulphur Banks Trail
Steam Vents at Sulphur Banks Trail
Steam Vents at Sulphur Banks Trail
Steam Vents at Sulphur Banks Trail

At the end of the trail, you arrive at the crater rim. The steam continues all around and you get the feel how active the volcano is. Just looking into the crater that is miles wide, you get the sense of the power and force that is just under your feet.

Crater Rim
Looking into Crater Rim

Stay tuned for the last part of Exploring the Big Island. Be sure you check out Part 1 and Part 2.

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