ETA: Due to the lava eruptions currently happening on the Big Island of Hawai’i, you are no longer able to reach the End of the Road to hike out to the lava flow. The lava stopped flowing in that area before the May 3, 2018, eruption in Leilani Estates. This area now has restricted access; only residents can gain access to this area.
Being on the Big Island of Hawai’i has one significant advantage over any of the other Hawaiian Islands. You get the chance to watch the lava flow! There has been a good amount of lava flow happening on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Especially since Kilauea erupted back on January 3, 1983. The last significant lava flow came to an end in March 2015, when it almost took out the town of Pahoa. Pahoa is the little town where we lived for about a year during our stay on the Big Island of Hawai’i.
There has been some recent activity from the Pu’u O’o crater, most of which you could only see from the air. However, in early July 2016, the lava reached the bottom of the pali (cliff) where you were able to make a long hike to the lava flow.
Viewing the Lava Flow
The hike to the lava at that time wasn’t an easy one. You were looking at hiking across a very uneven ground (previous lava flow). The hike one way was estimated to be anywhere between 6 miles and 8 miles, all depending on where you started your hike.
Lava Flow Breakouts
I was able to make the hike out a few times. Hiking not only to the bottom of the pali but also to an area where there were many breakouts and flows. The lava wanted to reach the ocean. It didn’t take long once Pele, the Fire Goddess, had her mindset on which direction she wanted to take to get there.
Not long after making my last hike, the lava flow did make its way to the ocean. I’ve yet to make it back out there to capture some images and to see this spectacular show in person. However, I do have plans to make another hike out. Thankfully the trip is not as bad as it was the first time I made the trip out to the lava. The hike is now roughly a 7-mile round trip, most of which is hiking on an emergency gravel road.
Please remember that if you do make a trip to the Big Island of Hawai’i and want to hike to the lava, be safe! It is more important to be safe than to capture that unique photograph. Do not put yourself or others in danger and most of all, respect Pele!
Lava Flow Video
While everyone isn’t able to make it to the Big Island of Hawai’i, you don’t have to miss out on displaying some Lava. You can always purchase products from my shop showing some of the lava photographs I have taken.
If you would like to plan a trip to Hawai’i, you might be interested in these other posts.