About Chain of Craters Road - Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hilo & East Island, Hawaii
Chain of Craters Road is how you get to the shoreline in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It’s also the access road to many of the park’s natural wonders including craters, lava tubes, and rock arches. There are no sandy beaches along the shore on Chain of Craters Road.
The trailhead at the end of Chain of Craters Road is 22 miles from the national park visitor center near the park’s entrance. From the trailhead it’s about a 3/4 mile walk on the old section of road to reach the first part of the lava flow which closed the road. The lava flow that covered the road came from Pu’u O’o vent which stopped flowing abruptly in 2018. It had been flowing consistently since January 1983.
If you don’t want to walk that far, you can just go about 1000 feet from the end of the road to Holei Sea Arch, a rock arch connecting the cliff top to the water below. This unique arch is one of your best photo opportunities along the shore. The park provides four other places where you can pull off the road and walk out to the cliff edges above the ocean (heed signs and stay back from the edges as they could break off).
If you like hiking, you have many options along Chain of Craters Road. Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs are on the east side of the road before it reaches the coastline (0.7 mile hike each way). Thurston Lava Tube has a half-mile long lighted path that loops through the tube. Seven craters are accessed via this road with hikes varying from just a few yards to over a mile. The Devil’s Throat crater is hard to find, but highly recommended (19.37744, -155.23716).
Long backpacking trails, including the Puna Coast Trail and Keauhou Trail, start on the Chain of Craters Road and go to remote camp sites near the ocean. Camping at those locations can be reserved online through the NPS website.
Even though there’s no beach and it’s a long drive down to the shore on Chain of Craters Road, we recommend doing it and taking your time to stop at the sights along the way.
- Chain of Craters Rd
Volcano, HI 96718
- Park Name
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Pet Details
- No dogs on Chain of Craters Road beyond Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs
- Park charges an entrance fee
- Scenic Driving, Hiking, Photography, Sightseeing, Camping
- Rock Arch, Petroglyphs, Trails, Restrooms, Picnic Tables, ADA Access, Viewpoints, Campgrounds, Interpretive Signs
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