Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Re-Opens again...for a few weeks anyway...
I can’t believe it is February of 2019! The entire month of January flew by before I could get a blog out about the latest and greatest news happenings here in Volcano.
It seems 2019 didn’t start off much better for those of us on the East side of Hawaii Island. The partial Government shut down closed off part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for the last 3 weeks. The park is open again, until at least Feb 15th, 2019 so you might want to plan accordingly if you are coming to visit.
The good news is, even though parts of the park may be shut down again, there is still quite a bit to see, however flowing lava is not one of those things.
I’m surprised by the number of guests I continually meet that ask about seeing the active lava flow. (Where were you guys in 2018??) The lava flow subsided as did the collapse of the summit crater, Halemau’mau, around August 4, 2018. The USGS and HVO announced the official end of the Kilauea eruption that has lasted for the past 35 years on December 6, 2018. While there is still magma below the surface another eruption is eminent, but since there hasn’t been any active lava in over 3 months any activity now would be considered a new event.
While you currently can’t see active lava flows, it is entirely possible to see the remnants of what the last flow left behind. Obviously inside the park you can see Halemau'mau and the areas that have reopened since September 22nd. They are constantly working on trying to open new areas to provide more for our guests.
Leilani Estates in Pahoa is currently open only to residents, but there are a few places where you can drive and come to a 40 or 50 foot lava berm that has dissected the road. There are no trespassing signs and no parking signs but it is still a sight to see. Please keep in mind the land beneath the lava flow is still private land and owned by the unfortunate souls who lost their homes due to the lava flow. Please have some respect while standing in awe of what was a thriving community.
Drive highway 130/137 to Issac Hale Beach Park and there will be a lot to see! There is still an area the dissects the highway that is filled with steam and sulfer coming out from under/along side the road. The county has cleared a two lane road across 2 of the major lava flows on highway 137 so you can access Issac Hale Beach park and see the new life Madam Pele created there. Issac Hale also known as Pohoiki has always been known for it’s amazing surf break and the boat ramp launch. There never was much of a beach, that is until now! The boat ramp is all but gone, covered in various courses of black sand. In its place sit two thermal pools and a long black sand beach. (Incidentally there have been 7 new black sand beaches added thanks to the lava flow, but this is the most accessible one.) As you drive among the lava flows you can see the fissures in Leilani Estates in the distance (The really big one is Fissure 8 standing at 180 ft tall)
Hours are from 9 am to 6 pm daily. There is 24 hour security to ensure no one tries to camp or stay after hours. Remember that surf break I mentioned earlier? It is still there and there are more surfers than ever before trying their luck on this break. The dangerous shore break and rip currents do not make this a good swimming beach so unless you are an advanced level surfer, we recommend watching safely from the beach. Currently, there is no potable water and only portable restrooms are available.