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Chain of Craters Road

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Quick Facts
Designation: Nominated for All-American Road
Designation: Parkway
Fees: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park charges park entrance
Length, One-Way: 20 Miles (33.33 Kilometers)
Time: 2 Hours

General Information

Description - The Chain of Craters Road is a 20-mile, paved road located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. It connects and provides visitor access to a series of volcanic features including craters, active and dormant lava flows, and scenic views of tropical rain forests, mountains, wilderness areas, and seacoast areas. Adjacent to the road is the 10-mile paved, Crater Rim Drive around Kilauea Caldera, and the half-mile, paved road to Mauna Ulu, site of the 1969-1974 eruption that covered and closed the Chain of Craters Road. Most of the park's 2.5 million annual visitors use the Chain of Craters Road or Crater Rim Drive. The road is a key element in carrying out the purpose of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, "to protect and preserve the volcanic landscapes and the associated cultural and natural resources of the park, and to facilitate visitor use and access to active volcanism, scenic vistas, diverse geographic settings, and wilderness by providing a safe and functional infrastructure and neded visitor services."

Attractions - The Chain of Craters Road is known for it's Cultural, Natural, Recreational and Scenic Attractions.

Climate - The park has distinct climate zones so visitors should be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions. Much like mountainous weather, conditions at Kilauea's summit (4000' elevation) fluctuate hourly and can be rainy and chilly any time of the year. The coastal plain at the end of Chain of Craters Road is often hot, dry and windy. Bring rain gear, light sweaters and windbreaks, sturdy shoes, hats, water bottles, sun glasses and high UV factor sunscreen for any adventure into the park.

Location - This byway is located on the Big Island of Hawaii, within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Directions from : To reach the northern end of the byway from Hilo: drive 28 miles west on Hawaii Route 11, from Hilo, Hawaii, to the entrance of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Chain of Craters Road.

To drive the byway: Chain of Craters Road begins with the junction with Crater Rim Drive and proceeds generally south until it ends abruptly in the Pu'u O'o lava flows across the road at the coast (may be temporary.)

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Scenic Driving Chain of Craters Road
ICON Viewing Scenery Chain of Craters Road

More Information

Contact Information:
Norrie Judd , , , , Phone: 808-985-6000
, Norrie_Judd@nps.gov

Additional Information:
Big Island (Hawaii) - This island is known as 'The Big Island', due to its size, which is nearly double that of the others in the archipelago combined. Hawaii has a plethora of natural areas including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Hawaii Scenic Byways - Hawaii offers one designated scenic byway, Chain of Craters Road. The road lies within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - Located on the island of Hawaii, active volcanism continues in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where at lower elevations luxuriant and often rare vegetation provides food and shelter for many animals.

Scenic Byways Homepage - National Scenic Byways official web site with detailed info on all national and state byways.


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