While most people visit the big island of Hawaii to relax on some tropical beaches or enjoy the majestic mountains, one thing that often gets overlooked is the lava tubes! These caves were formed by the eruption of volcanoes and are a must-see for anyone visiting the area. And this article is here with a complete guide to the lava tubes on the big island. It will tell you where they are located, how to get there, and what you can expect once you’re there!
How Lava Tubes Get Formed
The formation of lava tubes on the Big Island of Hawaii is an incredibly interesting process resulting from long-term volcanic activity. Lava itself is molten rock that rises to the surface when a volcano erupts, and it typically flows downhill away from the eruption site. As lava cools and hardens around the edges, slower-moving rivers of lava continue to flow downhill as they move around their tunneled walls, forming a tube-like shape.
This type of formation is called an “inflating” or “superheating” heat effect since hotter lavas will travel faster. Often these tubes travel far underground with tunnels up to 500 feet in length in Hawaii’s national parks. The result of these long-term eruptions over millions, or even hundreds of thousands, of years, is the intriguing lava tubes that can be found across the Big Island today!
Where You Can Find Lava Tubes On The Big Island
For those looking to explore these natural wonders, the big island has various locations that are excellent for lava tube exploration. And the best part is no matter where you are on the island, there are lava tubes not too far away! Here is a look at a few of the most popular destinations:
Thurston Lava Tube
The Thurston lava tube in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a Martian-looking structure that beckons to be explored. This geological formation created 500 years ago is truly a marvel to experience. It’s highly accessible, just a stroll away from the parking lot, and it’s also well-lit with lighting installed all along its whopping 600 ft stretch., making daytime exploration of this large cave possible.
The ceilings are impressively high – up to 20 feet in places! – The floor is surprisingly flat, giving visitors an eye-level view of this underground structure. After leaving the cave for the day, one can make an even more exciting journey through the rainforest back to the parking lot, adding another layer of enchantment to the already captivating experience.
Discovered by cave explorers in the early 1960s, Kazumura Cave is an impressive geologic wonder with a rich history. Most notably, it is one of the longest-known lava tubes on the planet. While large portions of the tunnel have remained inaccessible until recently due to their sprawling size and complexity, thorough exploration has revealed the spectacular topography of this underground realm. Formed near the Kilauea volcano between 500 – 600 years ago during several eruptions, visitors can admire many exciting features such as canyon-like passages resulting from thermal erosion, multi-level tubes, lava falls, and ‘frozen’ lava lakes.
The cave’s length is a great 40.8 miles (65.6 km), and its depth drops 3,602 ft (1,098 meters) over its entire length; both records earn Kazumura status as a “master lava tube.” Those who wish to explore can take simpler tours or more challenging routes depending on their experience level and what they want to see – making this one of the most unique and exciting destinations for adventurers worldwide.
Kula Kai Caverns
Exploring the Kula Kai Caverns is an unforgettable experience that reveals a fascinating history beneath the island’s surface. Not only do you learn about the ancient lava tube network, but you also get glimpses of artifacts and evidence of ancient human habitation preserved in this mysterious underground world. With access restricted to licensed tour operators, visitors can be sure to experience a safe and interesting journey through Kula Kai Caverns.
The larger Kipuka Kanohina Cave System contains even more hidden parts of Hawaiian history. If you would like to visit these incredible locations and learn about the fascinating history of lava tubes on the Big Island, you can visit the website of your choice to book tours and start your adventure! Those brave enough to venture down into this subterranean expanse will certainly be rewarded with knowledge and insight like never before.
Pua Po’o Lava Tube
Exploring the great outdoors of Hawai’i is a thrilling and rewarding experience. One lesser-known spot that is certainly worthy of discovery is Pua Po’o. The trek to this area requires commitment, as it takes hikers on a five-mile course that necessitates both agility and strength. Those who brave the journey must climb down a fifteen-foot ladder from the mouth of the tube, traverse uneven terrain for about twenty-five feet, then finish with a moderate hike up a large pile of boulders.
Despite the difficulty of reaching Pua Po’o, the reward is immense – its natural beauty has been described as breathtaking. Although many travelers choose to venture out alone, those new to exploring can greatly benefit from guided tours; luckily, the Hawai’i Volcanoes Institute offers programs that provide additional information about the environment and landscape – helping participants gain the most enriching experience possible!
Tips For Your Visit To The Lava Tubes
Before you set out on your journey to explore the lava tubes of Hawai’i, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First and foremost, always be sure to wear proper footwear and clothing – hiking boots or sturdy shoes with socks will protect your feet from sharp rocks and jagged edges while also providing additional grip. Additionally, it’s important to remember that lava tube conditions can be hazardous, so always bring plenty of water and snacks if you get stuck underground or need to wait for rescue.
Finally, while the lava tubes are undoubtedly stunning and full of fascinating features, it’s important to remember that these locations are also sensitive ecosystems. Always stay on marked paths, keep your voices down, and leave no trace of your visit behind – for the sake of both yourself and the native species that call these caves home. With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready to explore this incredible natural wonder like never before!
Enjoy The Incredible Journey Of The Lava Tubes On The Big Island!
The lava tubes on the big island are truly a unique and fascinating natural wonder. Whether you choose to explore them on your own or with the help of a tour guide, there is something for everyone here – from beginners to experienced adventurers. So if you are looking for an exciting outdoor adventure that will fill you with awe and wonder, be sure to check out the lava tubes on the big island! And if you are looking for other exciting activities on the big island, check out some of the other amazing sights and experiences this incredible destination offers.