Best Lava Viewing Spots

Update: Kīlauea is not erupting. The eruption that began on September 10, 2023 has ended. No lava fountains, flows, or glow are visible at this time.

Kīlauea Caldera is located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at Halemauamau Crater and is easy to access!

For the best viewing location, head to Waldron’s Ledge Lookout. 

Halemaʻumaʻu Crater is the only location on island that is currently experiencing volcanic activity at this time.

Please see below for helpful viewing tips.

Helpful Lava Viewing Tips: 

Plan to view the volcano at night or in the early morning hours, otherwise you are pretty much missing out. Also be sure to check the weather conditions before you start your journey. Thick cloud cover may result in limited to no visibility of the glow, lava or crater. To ensure you have the best experience and adventure, be prepared and bring a sweater, rain jacket, pants, drinks and snacks, flashlight and binoculars if available.

  • Waldron Ledge Overlook

    • Duration: 15 minutes each way
    • Length: Less than 1.0 mile
    • Difficulty level: Easy
    • Description: For the best viewing experience and to actually see lava, we highly recommend Byron’s Ledge Overlook. Parking is located at the Visitors Center or the Volcano House.
    • We highly recommend evening or early morning sessions. The evening viewing hours can be rather crowded, but we promise everyone will have a great experience, depending on weather conditions. A few things to bring: binoculars, sweater, pants, drinks and snacks, flashlight. 
  • Crater Rim Drive to Keanakako`i Overlook 

    • Duration: 48 minutes
    • Length: 2.1 miles 
    • Difficulty level: Easy
    • Description: The second best place to view Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, take a beautiful stroll through the arid landscape and lava fields. Follow the road and watch for the “viewing area” signs that will lead you off the road to the lookout. Crater Rim Drive once completely circled around Kīlauea Caldera.
    • The road was closed after the 2018 volcanic eruption at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, which collapsed part of the road into the crater. The old collapsed road can be viewed on a clear day from the Volcano House, see if you can find it! A few things to bring: rain jacket, covered shoes, water, flashlight.
  • Kīlauea Overlook

    • Duration: 5 minute walk
    • Less than 0.25 mile to the viewing area (difficulty level: Easy)
    • Description: This is the third best place to view the glow and potentially some lava in the evening or early morning hours. It is also a great location for an up-close viewing of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.
    • The Jagger Museum is closed, due to structural damage that it incurred from the 2018 eruption. However, the trails leading up to the museum are still accessible. A few things to bring: sweater, pants, rain jacket, flashlight. 

Please visit: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for more information on the best lava viewing spots. 

 To stay informed with the most up-to-date information, kindly refer to the volcano updates below, courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Kīlauea – Volcano Updates | U.S. Geological Survey (usgs.gov)

Mauna Loa – Volcano Updates | U.S. Geological Survey (usgs.gov)

Waldron Ledge

Keanakakoi Crater Overlook

Kīlauea Overlook

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Best Lava Viewing Spots

Updated 9/10/2023: Kīlauea is erupting! Lava supply to the Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake has started again with fissures up to 500 feet.

Kīlauea Caldera is located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at Halemauamau Crater and is easy to access!

For the best viewing location, head to Waldron’s Ledge Lookout. 

Halemaʻumaʻu Crater is the only location on island that is currently experiencing volcanic activity at this time.

Please see below for helpful viewing tips.

Helpful Lava Viewing Tips: 

Plan to view the volcano at night or in the early morning hours, otherwise you are pretty much missing out. Also be sure to check the weather conditions before you start your journey. Thick cloud cover may result in limited to no visibility of the glow, lava or crater. To ensure you have the best experience and adventure, be prepared and bring a sweater, rain jacket, pants, drinks and snacks, flashlight and binoculars if available.

  • Waldron Ledge Overlook

    • Duration: 15 minutes each way
    • Length: Less than 1.0 mile
    • Difficulty level: Easy
    • Description: For the best viewing experience and to actually see lava, we highly recommend Byron’s Ledge Overlook. Parking is located at the Visitors Center or the Volcano House.
    • We highly recommend evening or early morning sessions. The evening viewing hours can be rather crowded, but we promise everyone will have a great experience, depending on weather conditions. A few things to bring: binoculars, sweater, pants, drinks and snacks, flashlight. 
  • Crater Rim Drive to Keanakako`i Overlook 

    • Duration: 48 minutes
    • Length: 2.1 miles 
    • Difficulty level: Easy
    • Description: The second best place to view Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, take a beautiful stroll through the arid landscape and lava fields. Follow the road and watch for the “viewing area” signs that will lead you off the road to the lookout. Crater Rim Drive once completely circled around Kīlauea Caldera.
    • The road was closed after the 2018 volcanic eruption at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, which collapsed part of the road into the crater. The old collapsed road can be viewed on a clear day from the Volcano House, see if you can find it! A few things to bring: rain jacket, covered shoes, water, flashlight.
  • Kīlauea Overlook

    • Duration: 5 minute walk
    • Less than 0.25 mile to the viewing area (difficulty level: Easy)
    • Description: This is the third best place to view the glow and potentially some lava in the evening or early morning hours. It is also a great location for an up-close viewing of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.
    • The Jagger Museum is closed, due to structural damage that it incurred from the 2018 eruption. However, the trails leading up to the museum are still accessible. A few things to bring: sweater, pants, rain jacket, flashlight. 

Please visit: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for more information on the best lava viewing spots. 

To stay informed with the most up-to-date information, kindly refer to the volcano updates below, courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Kīlauea – Volcano Updates | U.S. Geological Survey (usgs.gov)

Mauna Loa – Volcano Updates | U.S. Geological Survey (usgs.gov)

Waldron Ledge

Keanakakoi Crater Overlook

Kīlauea Overlook

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