Lava Viewing

While in Hawaii we had the rare opportunity to see lava flowing into the sea. So we did! Do it if you get the chance. It's mesmerizing.

It was a four-hour hike each way to the lava. You can see the lava best, and it’s most dramatic, after dark. So the goal is to time it so that you are in place when the sun goes down. You then need to hike back in the dark. Our hosts had loads of help for us both in advice and in tangible items like flashlights for walking back. 

We’d planned to stop at Lava Tree Park on the way but ended up not having time. The walk to the lava viewing was all on a road. At the start, there was parking plus vendors offering food, water, and bike rentals. We opted to walk since we haven’t been on bikes much in the last … 30 years? Cyclists were actually our biggest hazard, especially coming back in the dark. 

The roadsides were empty lava flats with a few scattered off the grid houses. 

As we got down the road further we could see the smoke plume from the lava ahead, with the sunset behind it. Which was a good incentive because the walk itself was boring. Just trudging down a dusty gravel road. 

As we got closer to the lava we veered off the road onto the lava field itself to find a good spot for viewing. Climbing on the lava to get to a good viewing area was a challenge, especially just at dusk. We ate the sandwiches we brought with us while we waited for it to get dark. 

Then the show began. We sat spellbound for I don’t know how long, watching lava glow and hiss and smoke.

After we got tired of watching new land get created, we walked four miles back in the dark.