Photo By Peter Watts
Chain of Craters Road

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Chain of Craters Road - PHOTOGRAPHER COMMENT

Panorama taken next to Lua Manu Crater on Chain of Craters Road in Hawaii Volcanoes park. This picture was taken looking down into the crater from the layby and also shows some of the surrounding lava flows.

Chain of Craters Road - FURTHER INFORMATION

Chain of Craters Road - Hawaii Island visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Chain of Craters Road' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Hawaii.

The Chain of Craters Scenic Drive is a popular tourist attraction on Hawaii Island. Starting at the southern edge of Kilauea Caldera in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the road winds down the flank of the volcano past various craters and over old lava flows. The road descends some 4,000 feet down to sea level, stopping at a point where it is buried under lava.

There are numerous viewpoints on the way down Chain of Craters Road, and several walking tracks lead off along the East Rift Zone of the volcano to various vents. Some of the main craters and viewpoints include:

  • Lua Manu Crater - Shown in this picture, a 100m wide pit crater. Lava last flowed into the crater in 1974 from fissures on the north and east side.
  • Puhimau Crater - 160m deep pit crater that formed between about 1450 and 1800, also known as 'Ever Smoking' crater.
  • Ko'oko'olau Crater - small, 200 year old crater now covered with 'Ōhi'a and Koa trees.
  • Pauahi Crater - double pit crater about 600m long by 100m deep. It contained a lava lake in 1973.
  • Chain of Craters walks - from Chain of craters road to Hiiaka Crater, Puu Huluhulu, Kane Nui O Hamo, Makaopuhi Crater, and Napau Crater in the East Rift Zone.
  • Kipuka Kahali'i - area deforested by lava fountain at Maunu Ulu in 1969, since recovered.
  • Mau Loa o Mauna Ulu Lookout - overlooking a lava flow from 1969-74, 817m above sea level.
  • Muliwai a Pele Lookout - 1970's flow from Mauma Ulu vent that continues down Holei Pali to the sea.
  • Kealakomo - picnic area and lookout next to the Naulu Trail.
  • Halona Kahakai - lookout over the 1970-72 lava flow.
  • Alanui Kahiko - 1970-72 lava flow descending down a ridge near the sea, about 1250m below the top of Kilauea Caldera.
  • End of Chain of Craters Road - where the road is buried in lava. Parking and toilet available, beginning of trek to the point where lava enters the sea.

The southern end of Chain of Craters Road used to run along the coast to past Kaimu Beach to Kalapana. However, recent lava flows buried both the road, beach and the village.


Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
P.O. Box 52
Hawai'i National Park,
Hawaii Island
HI 96718-0052


Car: Take Highway 11 to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park and take the first left onto Crater Rim Drive. Chain of Craters Road branches left from Crater Rim Drive after about 3 miles.

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