If a visit to Hawaii is on the horizon, making plans to see a volcano is something you don’t want to miss. While you can see remnants of old volcanoes across the islands of Hawaii, there are ways you can still see a few active volcanoes. There might not be any lava flowing from them at the moment, but they are still very much alive.
Here are the top volcanoes to see in Hawaii and the best way to see them.
Volcanic alert levels: Signs of elevated unrest, non-eruptive
Mauna Loa is one of the original 5 volcanoes that helped to form the Hawaiian islands and is due for an eruption at any moment. Its name means “Long Mountain,” which is due to the subaerial part of the volcano extending 74 miles from the southern tip of the island to the summit caldera and the east-northeast to the coastline near Hilo. It is also considered one of the largest volcanoes on Earth.
Since it started erupting in 1832, Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times, with its last lava outpour in 1984. Even though Mauna Loa hasn’t erupted in over 30 years, it’s still considered to be one of Earth’s most active volcanoes. On our Hawaii Circle Island Experience tour, you will see all five of Hawaii’s volcanoes, including this giant.
Volcanic alert levels: Non-eruptive, expected to erupt in the future
Kilauea, which is located on the Big Island in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is one of the most active shield volcanoes in the world as well as the youngest. Kilauea has a large caldera with a central crater, Halemaumau, which is according to Hawaiian legend the home of the fire goddess Pele.
This fairly young volcano started erupting in 1983 and has been active ever since. You might know Kilauea as the volcano that erupted in 2018 and caused widespread damage across the island. The only way to understand how widespread it is is to take a helicopter tour over the volcano.
On our Doors-Off Over The Volcano tour, you will get a chance to hover 500 feet above this active volcano. If you are going to take a helicopter to see any lava flows, you need to make sure there are active flows. The way you can figure this out is to call ahead of time and speak with someone at Tropical Helicopters for more information.
Volcanic alert levels: Unassigned, underwater
The third active volcano of Hawaii has not yet surfaced and rests about 975 meters below sea level. Lo’ihi Seamount is about 35 km off the southeast coast of Hawaii. Although under the water, this volcano is still very active and is expected to surface in the future, creating the 9th island of Hawaii.
However, since it only started erupting in 1996, a vacation to the new island of Hawaii may be far off. Its name is a direct reference to its elongated shape. The volcano is growing on the lower flanks of its two neighbors, Kilauea and Mauna Loa.
Volcanic alert levels: Non-eruptive
Hualalai is an active volcano that is near the resort town of Kailua. It is the third of the active shield volcanoes on Hawaii. The last time the volcano erupted was in 1801 and sent lava flowing down its northwest rift and into the ocean. In the last couple of years, there have been no microearthquakes nor any tremors indicating it might be dormant, for now.
The volcano is not expanding at the moment and has not expanded since geologists began monitoring it. The last time there was any activity was in 1929 when there was a swarm of earthquakes. They were big enough to be felt in Honolulu, but geologists are not sure if the swarm was caused by magma under the volcano. The best way to see this volcano is from the air in order to appreciate the sheer size of it.
Tropical Helicopters has a number of discounted helicopter tours that allow you to see a number of volcanoes. As stated above, the Circle Island Experience tour gives you a unique view of all five volcanoes as well as so much more. For more information about the tour, contact Tropical Helicopters today to see how much you can save.