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. 

Pack List

  • Snack
  • Water
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera
  • Car
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RT Distance 37.6 Miles
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

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.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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