Important update: Thurston Lava Tube has been closed since major changes happen at the Kilauea volcano summit in 2018. It may eventually re-open if it’s deemed safe.
Did you know that on the Big Island of Hawaii. you can walk underground where lava flowed hundreds of years ago? You can do just that at Thurston Lava Tube inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, just off Crater Rim Drive. To say that it’s an amazing sight and experience is an understatement.
Thurston Lava Tube is one of the most popular natural attractions within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. From about mid-morning until late afternoon, bus loads of tourists are visiting the lava tube. Sometimes it’s even a challenge to find a parking spot. You can beat the crowds by visiting early in the morning and what a difference it makes.
Andy and I have visited Thurston Lava Tube several times throughout the day. We’ve discovered if you go to Thurston Lava Tube early in the morning, you’ll practically have the entire area to yourself. Aim to get here before about 9:30am. The rainforest area around the lava tube is so peaceful early in the morning.
The loop trail to and through the lava tube is paved and well lit. Plan on about 20 minutes to walk the trial. The path has a couple of inclines, but nothing too strenuous. Unfortunately, the trail isn’t wheelchair accessible.
If you are a bit more adventurous and curious about lava tubes, you can explore an optional section of the lava tube. It is not lit, so you will definitely need a flash light.
Of course the lava tube is the big attraction here, but I hope you also get a chance to notice the wonderful rainforest surroundings. You can’t help but gawk at the giant Hawaiian hapuu ferns. Also take a few moments to watch for a beautiful red bird, the ‘apapane, as it gathers nectar from the Lehua blossom of the Ohia trees.
If you are planning on going Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, be sure and read my tips for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
See more ideas of what to see and do on Hawaii’s Big Island.