Chain of Craters (Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park)

 Chain of Craters (Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park)   

Chain of Craters Road may be one of the unique experiences you have on the Big Island. Stretching 18 miles and going from sea level to 4,000 ft elevation, this scenic drive along the East Rift Zone of the volcano in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is pockmarked with craters of varying shapes and sizes, lava flows, petroglyphs, and, possibly, active lava. Along this road, you will also find many interesting hikes, breathtaking vistas, and when she’s actively erupting, the opportunity to see Madame Pele (the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes) do what she does best. Chain of Craters Road to the coast (to Kalapana) from Makaopuhi was opened in 1965, and then partly buried in 1969 at the start of the Mauna Ulu eruption. Post Mauna Ulu eruption, Chain of Craters Road was realigned and reopened in June 1979. Since 1986, lava has flowed repeatedly over Chain of Craters Road. The Park’s acreage has been increased by hundreds of acres and nearly 9 miles (14.5 km) of road have been inundated by the flows. In June 1989, Waha‘ula Visitor Center and associated buildings were burnt and covered by lava. The Waha‘ula Heiau was surrounded by lava more than once and finally buried entirely in August 1997. The Kamoamoa village site, heiau, campground, picnic area, and black sand beach were covered by lava in November 1992. In 2003, flows covered Chain of Craters road just past the Holei Sea Arch. When conditions permit, a drive down to the "End of the Road" offers visitors an opportunity to view excellent examples of the slow advance of lava across the coastal plain. These flows are characteristic of pahoehoe on relatively flat terrain at a great distance from its vent.


Region: Hawaii
City: Pahoa

Distance: 31.56 km
Elevation Gain: 1208 m
Elevation Loss: 29 m
Difficulty: 731 (Hard)
FIETS Index: 4.45 FIETS
Avg Grade: 3.77 %
Max cat climb: HC
Min elevation: 9 m
Max elevation: 1189 m
Ride Category: Climb

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