Hawaii Volcanoes NP – The Lava Viewing Area at Ocean Entry (USA)

Categories: Travel reports, North America, USA, Hawaii

After our overwhelming lava hike to an active flowing lava flow in the Kilauea East Rift Zone, today we wanted to ride the bikes again to the Kalapana Lava Viewing Area, from where you can see the Ocean Entry from afar.


From where can you see the Ocean Entry of the Lava?

In general, the Ocean Entry of the Lava can be observed from 3 different sides:

  • From the West SideEnd of Chain of Craters Road
  • From the waterWith a boat tour
  • From the East SideKalapana Lava Viewing Area

The west side of Ocean Entry can only be reached by car through the main entrance of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. From the main entrance on Highway 11, drive about 35 kilometers along Chain of Craters Road to the end at Holei Sea Arch. From here it is then only on foot another 8 kilometers to the Viewing Area. There is no bike rental here.

The Ocean Entry is the closest you can definitely get with one of the many boat tours. The boats really drive up to a few meters directly to the lava and you can watch wonderfully how the liquid lava flows into the sea. To see the Ocean Entry from the land, we chose the Kalapana Lava Viewing Area.

By bike to the Lava Viewing Area of the Ocean Entry

By car we drove down Highway 130 and then turned back into the Kaimu-Chain of Craters Road. You can simply go as far as to start the various bike rental stations. Free parking is available on the right and left side of the street and you are even instructed.

From here there are two different ways to get to the Kalapana Lava Viewing Area:

(1) You’re running. This can be exhausting and take a long time, because you cover a total of about 8 miles here and walk one-way about 1.5 to 2 hours over an unpaved road.

(2) You can borrow a bicycle. It’s not even that expensive. We each borrowed one for 10 US dollars and even had a belt bag with first aid material (patches etc.), a rain poncho, a flashlight for the bike and a small bottle of water. For the price really unbeatable. Well, it has to be said that the bikes were really very simple and no longer the latest. But they were supposed to take us from A to B and they did that.

Bike Rental, Bicycle Rental, Lava Viewing, Ocean Entry, Bike Rental, Kalapana, Big Island, Hawaii, USA, Travel Report

Bicycle rental in Kalapana

The Lava Viewing Area in Kalapana

The route to the Lava Viewing Area is very simple: you only drive straight until you get to a sign with the indication that the Lava Viewing Area is located on the left. After we had parked and connected our bikes on the road, we ran to the viewing area. There were already a lot of people here who had already looked for a place to wait until dusk and watch the Ocean Entry.

We were a bit confused at first because we really didn’t see anything. Unfortunately, this did not get any better in the following hour. The Ocean Entry is about 1 to 1.5 miles away from the Lava Viewing Area, i.e. you can see very little at the moment (as of the beginning of November 2017). There was a bit of steam to see from time to time when the waves swept over the cliffs, but otherwise you couldn’t see anything.

We sat here for about an hour and waited until we made our way back. We had to bring the bikes back on time by 8 p.m. at the latest, otherwise we would have had to pay a penalty fee. So nothing like going on the bike. Unfortunately, ten minutes later it started to rain terribly, so that we arrived at the parking lot again wet and full of dirt and dirt. Luckily, we had change gears in the car.

Small tip: It makes sense to inform yourself in advance whether there is something to be seen at the Lava Viewing Area and whether the Ocean Entry is active at all. This is best done through the official site of the National Park Service.

All travelogues from Hawaii

We had already visited the islands of Hawaii during our trip around the world on the way from North America to Australia. Here we were on O'ahu, Kaua'i, Maui and Big Island. Because we were so enthusiastic about the different islands and the diversified nature, we were able to make up for all the things we had not been able to do last time or which were partly not even possible. In 2015, for example, you couldn't see flowing lava on Big Island, because it didn't flow towards the sea as usual, but towards an inhabited village. And this was closed for access for the safety of all. But since 2016 the lava of Kilauea is flowing towards the ocean again and so we could finally realize one of our biggest wishes: To stand very close to flowing lava. We also wanted to snorkel on O'ahu in Hanauma Bay, climb Koko Head Crater, see a hula show, marvel at the fireworks of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, enjoy the sunrise on the 3,055 meter high Haleakala and watch the turtles on the beach along the Road to Hana. So many things we didn't know about last time or didn't manage to do last time.

Travel Reports Hawaii » Hawaii: Things to know, Photo spots & Travel Guide for a holiday
» O‘ahu: Waikiki – The neighborhood of Honolulu with Waikiki Beach
» O‘ahu: Honolulu – Things to do & the most beautiful photo spots
» O‘ahu: Honolulu – Hike to Manoa Falls & Tantalus Lookout
» O‘ahu: An Island Tour & & the most beautiful photo spots
» O‘ahu: Koko Crater – A hike on the old railway tracks in Oahu
» O‘ahu: Hanauma Bay – One of the most beautiful snorkelspots on Oahu
» O‘ahu: Diamond Head Crater – Stunning view over Honolulu
» Big Island: Arrival in Hilo & Akaka Falls State Park
» Big Island: Lava Hike on Big Island – Get close to flowing lava & feel the heat
» Big Island: Hawaii Volcanoes NP – The Lava Viewing Area at Ocean Entry
» Big Island: Lava Boat Tour – A boat trip to Ocean Entry on Big Island
» Big Island: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Things to do & Photo spots
» Big Island: Hike to Papakolea Green Sand Beach
» Maui: Lahaina, Nakalele Blowhole & the west coast of the island
» Maui: Sunrise from the top of Haleakala Volcano
» Maui: The panoramic Road to Hana & the Piilani Highway