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Lava FAQ:

Got Questions about lava?

Here are some answers to common questions folks have asked us about lava, lava hikes and the current eruption. All information in the Lava FAQ is updated regularly and accurately reflects current conditions.

Q: Can I take a hiking tour to see active lava right now?

A: YES YOU CAN!!! (If you’re fit, in good physical condition, and can hike over extremely rough, uneven lava field terrain.)

We currently offer two ways to see active lava: our Lava Bike and Hike Tours, and for those who prefer walking, our original Lava Hikes.

You can also book Private Lava Tours with the option to bike or hike only. For Private Lava Tour pricing and details contact us here: Private Lava Tour Information

See details for each tour here: Lava Hike Tours and Lava Bike and Hike Tours

Q: How close will I be able to get to the active lava?

A: When surface lava (lava flowing on the ground) is available you can stand right next to it and feel the heat, but it’s important to understand that surface lava is not always available. Surface activity changes frequently and is impossible to predict. Surface flows can start and stop in a matter of hours or less without any notice. Our guides are skilled at finding surface lava and will take you to it whenever it’s available and within reasonable distance, but we cannot guarantee you will see surface lava. 

Safe viewing boundaries have been established for the Kamokuna Ocean Entry on land and also in the sea and these sometime change due to changing conditions. The cliff where the lava is pouring into the ocean is quite tall (about 60 feet above the ocean level) and there are some good vantage points along the older sea cliff. Many of our guests have taken some great photos there of lava going into the sea using a telephoto lens.

Q: Can you tell me if I’ll be able to see surface flow in advance?

A: Due to the ever changing activity and location of surface lava breakouts we cannot tell you what conditions will be like in advance. Your guide will be able to let you know what to expect when you meet for the tour. There is no way to predict from one day to the next if there will be surface activity and we cannot guarantee it.

Q: Do you allow children on your Lava Hikes and Lava Bike and Hike Tours?

A: We do allow children who are at least 14 years old on our Lava Hikes and Lava Bike and Hike Tours. On Private Lava Tours we’ll allow children 12 and up. The reason for the age limit on this tour is the degree of difficulty.

We’re happy to include children 7 and up on our Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Tours, and we can accommodate families with younger children on Private Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Tours, however you will not see active lava on either of these tours.

Q: What is the bike ride like on your Lava Bike and Hike Tours and what kind of bikes do you use?

A: The biking portion of our Lava Bike and Hike Tours takes place on the gravel emergency access road and is usually about 3 miles round trip. Because activity can change, this distance may occasionally be shorter if it’s easier to access the lava by hiking more and biking less. We take a leisurely pace with the ride and the purpose of using bikes is to get to the lava in a more convenient and efficient way (it’s not a race or marathon). The road has a few low hills and some patches of loose gravel. We like to use cruiser style bikes because most people think they’re more comfortable than mountain bikes on the gravel road. We have various sizes available so if anyone in your group is taller or shorter than average be sure to let us know. 

Q: Do you offer early morning and daytime lava tours?

A: All of our lava tours meet in the late afternoon and return after dark.

Q: Can you tell me if I’ll be able to see lava when I come to visit in the future?

A: Volcanic eruptions are notoriously unpredictable, and no one can say what the volcano will do in the future. We’ll do our best to keep you informed of the latest major changes in activity here on our Hawai’i Lava News page.

Q: Is lava entering the ocean right now?

A: Right now the lava flow is entering the Pacific Ocean at the Kamokuna Ocean Entry. The ocean entry terrain is ever-changing and it’s impossible to predict what it will look like on any given day.

Viewing conditions change frequently as well. Your guides will take you to the ocean entry if that’s going to be the best show on the day you visit, but this cannot be guaranteed on regular tours. Private Lava Tours give you the best opportunity to see ocean entry surface flow or both, depending on conditions.

For more about what you’ll see on our Lava Hikes and Lava Bike and Hike Tours click here: Lava Viewing Conditions

Q: Can I poke the lava with a stick or throw something into it?

A: In Hawai’i active lava is considered to be a kino lau (or body form) of the goddess Pele, so sticking or throwing anything into flowing lava is considered to be extremely rude. It’s also quite dangerous, because at nearly 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, molten lava can cause serious injury, including 3rd degree burns. Inside the national park, where the current lava flow is active, it’s actually against the law to poke sticks or put things into active lava because it’s considered defacing a park resource. 

Q: Can I see active, red lava on a Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Tour, Cruise Ship HVNP-Hilo Tour, Kilauea Lava Glow Tour or Island Hop Lava Glow Tour?

A: You most likely will not see active lava on our tours of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The only tours to see the active lava flow are our Lava Hike Tours and our Lava Bike and Hike Tours

Q: Do you offer boat or helicopter tours to see lava? 

A: No, we do not. All of our tours are exclusively land based. (Our Cruise Ship HVNP-Hilo Tour is a shore excursion for guests who will be arriving on cruise ships and does not include active lava viewing).

Q: Is the meeting point for  Lava Hikes and Lava Bike and Hike Tours near Hilo or Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park? 

A: No. It’s about an hour’s drive from Hilo and over an hour from Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and Volcano Village. You will receive detailed directions with your confirmation and can see a rough map HERE

Q: Are any other volcanoes currently erupting anywhere else in the Hawaiian Islands?

A: At the moment, only Kilauea, here on the Big Island, is erupting.

Q: I heard there’s an active lava lake in the park. Can I see lava there?

A: What is now the planet’s largest active lava lake lies deep within Halema’uma’u Crater at Kilauea’s summit within the national park. You can see the fuming crater from a viewing terrace across the summit caldera. The actual red lava is usually too far down inside crater to see, but at dusk, our guests are able see the glow from the lava lake light up the crater wall and steam plume. Occasionally red lava is visible as the lake rises to higher levels and spatters. On just a few occasions, the lake surface has risen just into view, but there is no way to predict when this will happen. In any case, the beautiful glow is a really gorgeous sight and makes for some great nighttime photo opportunities. You can see the glow and much more on our popular Lava Glow Tours.