Drive Chain of Craters Road

Details

Distance

37.6 miles

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Madison Sankovitz

This is an exceptionally scenic and spectacular drive in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park that leads to petroglyphs and ocean views.

Starting at the Kilauea Visitor Center, this 18.8 mile drive begins its 3,700 foot elevation change by meandering through the rainforest. Follow signs from the visitor center (near the entrance of the park) to Crater Rim Drive. Chain of Craters Road begins off of Crater Rim Drive, 3.3 miles south of Kilauea Visitor Center. If you want to take a side trip, turn onto Hilina Pali Road, 5.6 miles from the visitor center. There you can drive 9 miles to Hilina Pali Overlook to get a nice view of the ocean and see native ‘ohi‘a trees and underbrush. Follow Chain of Craters Road 13.2 miles from the visitor center to Kealakomo Overlook, where you will have a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and an expansive view of the vast lava flow that covered portions of the ancient village of Kealakomo. The lookout is also a great place for a picnic lunch and a great photographic area. This overlook sits on the crest of Holei Pali (cliff). Continue about 6 miles further down the road to Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs, which is the largest petroglyph field in the state of Hawai'i. Here you can see motifs of circles, other geometric designs, and cryptic designs of humans (known as anthropomorphisms). In order to see the petroglyphs, you must walk along the lava to the boardwalk, about 1.5 miles round-trip. Continue about 2 miles further down Chain of Craters Road to Holei Sea Arch (which is at the end of the road). There is a short trail to the ocean and the arch. Currently, the sea arch is about 90 feet. 

Note: Honor the profound importance the petroglyphs hold for many native Hawaiians - past, present, and future. Respect the importance by staying on the boardwalk. 

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Fitness
Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildlife

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🥇Top Contributor

4 months ago

Great drive

The best drive on the Island of Hawaii. It's got so many spots to stop. Take a camera!

🥇Top Contributor

7 months ago

One of the best roads

I loved this road because there are so many great places to stop! You can easily spend the whole day here.

Beautiful!

This road was so beautiful. You could see the ocean driving down the volcano and we happened to be there right as the sun was going down over the water and it was stunning. Highly recommend.

115 total saves

5.0/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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