Visitors are reminded that lava rock is extremely sharp and jagged, and will cause deep lacerations to your skin. If you decide to hike out to the coastal lava flows – or anywhere in the park – be sure to wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes or boots and of course bring plenty of water, and be prepared!
Lava update: the 61G flow front is still active on the coastal lava plains, and is accessible on foot from the park at the end of Chain of Craters Road. Hikers can expect a 5-to 6-mile trek one way to reach the flows.
The gravel Emergency Access Route can be used by hikers and bicyclists, but no motorized vehicles or motorized equipment is allowed, except by park staff working in the area. From the gravel road, it’s another ½ mile hike to reach the lava over very uneven and rough lava rock terrain, fraught with deep cracks and unstable rock.
Check with rangers at the Coastal Ranger Station before heading out, and keep a safe distance. (Due to the road surface and safety issues, only experienced cyclists should use the road, and bicycle use should be limited to daylight hours only).
Park rangers recommend day hikes vs. night hikes, but if you do stay after dark, ensure you have flashlights and extra batteries for every person in your group. Cell phone lights are inadequate for such a long hike. It is still closer to hike in from the Kalapana lava viewing area.
And please respect the Hawaiian culture. Do not poke or prod the lava flows with sticks, or roast food on the lava flows.
It’s also illegal to possess, destroy, injure, deface, remove, dig or disturb natural and cultural resources from their natural state.
Be prepared, stay safe, and have fun! And remember, Kīlauea volcano is also erupting from its summit at Halema‘uma‘u Crater. It is a very easy and beautiful experience to view the nighttime glow of the lava lake from the safety of the Jaggar Museum observation deck.