Chain of Craters Road
Chain of Craters Road
4.5
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  • County-Hunter
    Tacoma, Washington3,196 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Drive it!
    America's National Parks are filled with great drives from the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park to Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Chain of Craters Road is just as good (imo) as those drives. There are numerous turnouts with signs telling what you are viewing and so you can make the drive out in back in two hours or all day depending on how many stops and/or hikes you make. I would definitely stop at the lava tubes and the Hohei Arch at the end along with the petroglyphs. We had a great sunshiny day which made the drive even better!
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 3 September 2023
  • smhr
    Pickering, Canada277 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unique experience. Only in Hawaii (probably). Definitely a must do for Hawaii's Big Island
    This is located inside the Volcano National Park and is the same place that was reviewed there. The entrance fee to the Volcano National Park park is $30 . This gives you access to the park for 7 days. Once inside the park, you dont need to pay additional parking or entrance fees The road takes about 30 mins to drive on but includes 5 main attractions. IT will take about 30-60 mins to explore each attraction A unique experience and a definite must do for Hawaii
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 15 November 2023
  • chickabeegrrl
    Elk Grove, California2,069 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great drive
    Chain of craters is pretty awesome, especially if you have a tour guide app or do some research on the history as you drive down this road. Some of the craters are huge and there are some great lookouts, especially on a clear day. This road also leads you to a short hike to some petroglyphs. The end of the road takes you to the sea arch.
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 5 December 2023
  • Monty D
    15 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    nature road trip
    The Chain of Craters Road is a fascinating journey of a changing topography. See my pics of the various craters and lava flows that we stopped at along the way. What the pics don’t show is how vast the lava fields and craters are. Each crater and lava flow has a story and these are posted at the road side pull outs. Even though it doesn’t look like it due to repairs, some of the lava flows have destroyed the Road in recent years. This is a reminder that this area is still active! It’s so hard to imagine that you are standing on what was molten rock. The craters are also as impressive for their depth and breadth. At the end of the Road, you’ll turn around and head back. But you’ll be treated to a natural sea arch, see pic. It’s a short walk to the vista point, and a small scamper to the good lookout point. We caught this view with the afternoon sun and the shimmering waters.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 10 December 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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kevan j
Norman, OK1,436 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Friends
Absolutely wonderful drive! The nice thing about this drive is you can do as much--or as little--as you want along the way. You can drive the length of the road and be back in about an hour, or you can take several hours like we did to try and do as much as possible. (1) We started by hiking the Devastation Trail right at the beginning. Interesting and easy hike, but we had already hiked the Kilauea Iki Trail, so it did not seem that impressive. (2) We then stopped at several of the pull-offs along the way to check out the craters and volcanic formations/flows. Our favorite was the Pauahi Crater where you can see the old dry lava lake at the bottom. Very nice! The other craters seemed old and overgrown with flora. (3) Be sure to turn off at the Mauna Ulu turn-off to see the massive lava flow. I highly recommend taking the short (200 yard) hike along the Mauna Ulu Eruption Trail (just beyond the restrooms--look for the sign) to the 1969 eruption fissure. Very cool, and very interesting formations and lava indeed. (4) As you drive further down the road, you cross massive lava flows where you can first see the ocean...Absolutely stunning views! There are a couple of really nice overlooks here called the Kealakomo Overlooks complete with nice platforms and really nice picnic tables. Be sure to sit here for a while eating a snack so you can feast upon the magnificent vistas along with your food. (5) From here the road goes down the mountain to the lava plain below next to the ocean. We stopped down here to hike out to the Pu'uloa petroglyphs. The trail is only about 1.5 miles round trip, but it is walking across lava trails so it's pretty rough. It's also completely exposed to the sun, so be prepared. The boardwalk that takes you around the petroglyphs is nicely done, and there is good signage along the way. Glad we did it. The petroglyphs are super awesome...but probably not for everybody. (6) The road ends down along the ocean. It used to go much further, but lava flows in recent years have blocked the road. You can park at the end of the road and hike a little bit further beyond the gate to reach the overlook for the Holei Sea Arch. This is a nice bookend to the drive so we spent some time staring out at the ocean and watching the waves crash into the lava walls along the shoreline. (7) Then, just when you think there is no more to see, turn and look back up the mountain you came from to get a different perspective of the lava flows that poured down the mountain during the last few decades. Now, after having seen the entire road, take your time driving slowly back up to the visitor center. Wow! What an amazing drive. One of the truly great scenic drives. Highly recommend!
Written 27 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Monty D
15 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
The Chain of Craters Road is a fascinating journey of a changing topography. See my pics of the various craters and lava flows that we stopped at along the way. What the pics don’t show is how vast the lava fields and craters are. Each crater and lava flow has a story and these are posted at the road side pull outs.

Even though it doesn’t look like it due to repairs, some of the lava flows have destroyed the Road in recent years. This is a reminder that this area is still active! It’s so hard to imagine that you are standing on what was molten rock. The craters are also as impressive for their depth and breadth.

At the end of the Road, you’ll turn around and head back. But you’ll be treated to a natural sea arch, see pic. It’s a short walk to the vista point, and a small scamper to the good lookout point. We caught this view with the afternoon sun and the shimmering waters.
Written 10 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

chickabeegrrl
Elk Grove, CA2,069 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
Chain of craters is pretty awesome, especially if you have a tour guide app or do some research on the history as you drive down this road. Some of the craters are huge and there are some great lookouts, especially on a clear day. This road also leads you to a short hike to some petroglyphs. The end of the road takes you to the sea arch.
Written 5 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

smhr
Pickering, Canada277 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
This is located inside the Volcano National Park and is the same place that was reviewed there.

The entrance fee to the Volcano National Park park is $30 . This gives you access to the park for 7 days. Once inside the park, you dont need to pay additional parking or entrance fees

The road takes about 30 mins to drive on but includes 5 main attractions. IT will take about 30-60 mins to explore each attraction

A unique experience and a definite must do for Hawaii
Written 15 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

County-Hunter
Tacoma, WA3,196 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
America's National Parks are filled with great drives from the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park to Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Chain of Craters Road is just as good (imo) as those drives. There are numerous turnouts with signs telling what you are viewing and so you can make the drive out in back in two hours or all day depending on how many stops and/or hikes you make. I would definitely stop at the lava tubes and the Hohei Arch at the end along with the petroglyphs. We had a great sunshiny day which made the drive even better!
Written 3 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ticoalra
Jefferson, MD319 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Family
So many lava fields! Loved the overlooks and signs explaining the area. This was a wonderful Sunday morning drive down to the Ho'lei Sea Arch.
Written 1 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sarah B
Boston, MA152 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Couples
Yes, do this and do the whole road! Drive to the end and work your way back, there is tons to see… from the sea arch, to petroglyphs, volcanic craters and more. Time very well spent!!
Written 12 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sharon K
West Chester, PA12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Couples
I had been to Volcano National Park by myself but this was my husband's first trip. I called ahead of time and asked if they went all the way down to the water because it's spectacular and I wanted my husband to see it. When we actually were on the tour they told me that they don't go down to the water, so I was disappointed by this. BUT, Josh our driver (and owner) was FABULOUS!!! Josh made the trip with all his stories!! That is something I didn't get when I drove it myself and I enjoyed all he told us about how the lava flow affected his family personally. It was wonderful to hear first hand stories. Josh is very knowledgeable and HE made the trip! We had a nice sunny day. They provide drinks and chips. If you need more hearty food, take some snacks/lunch. I thought the stop at the Candy store would be a waste of time, but it was fun and we got all we needed for gifts to bring home. We were on the ship Pride of America and Josh was right there waiting for us; super easy! I would definitely take this tour! The vehicle was nice but really - JOSH was such a great guy and made our trip! We made a new friend! Josh, I'm sending back my lava rock!!! Thank you!
Written 11 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Climber13034906317
Denver, CO3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Couples
The drive on Chain of Craters was highlight of our visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The road goes through miles of lava flows from different times during the last 50 years. The visual of black lava running down to the ocean is striking. At the end of the road, you can hike to the Hohei Sea Arch where the lava has been eroded to for an arch. You can walk the road to where lava actually crossed the road and hardened.

Not to be missed during a visit to the park.
Written 10 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RandyRoss
Ridgetown, Canada11,776 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023 • Couples
Chain of Craters Road is about 19 miles (31 km) long and ends at the Holei Sea Arch. It is worth driving just to see that. However, there are also a number of craters to stop at, some interesting lava fields and the view down to the ocean.
At the end of the road, there is a parking lot with restrooms. From there it is about a thousand foot walk to the viewpoint for the Sea Arch. Take the walk. It's worth it!
Written 19 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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CHAIN OF CRATERS ROAD: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Chain of Craters Road