What will I be able to see?
Much of Hawaii Volcanoes is likely to reopen on September 22, but visitors should anticipate limited services and no drinking water, said Jessica Ferracane, HVNP public affairs specialist. Areas being considered for reopening include portions of the Chain of Craters Road and Crater Rim Drive, the Kilauea Visitor Center, Volcano House, and the Kilauea Iki Overlook.
And given the changes to the park’s landscape, visitors will even get to see some new sights. Halema’uma’u Crater quadrupled in size this summer, and the stretch of Crater Rim Drive leading to Keanakako’i Crater will open to pedestrians and bicyclists to showcase some seismicity. “Anyone familiar with Kilauea or Halema’uma’u Crater will have their minds blown,” Ferracane said. “It is so strange and so magnificent—it’s almost like a new park.”
Even so, several areas require extra assessment and repairs. The Thurston Lava Tube is not expected to open with the rest of the park, nor is the Jaggar Museum, which sustained significant earthquake damage.
And for the first time in decades, there is no visible molten lava in the park. The summit lava lake has been gone since the eruption and lava flows from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō have stopped.
Is it safe to visit?
Despite devastation to the surrounding area, still-active Kilauea’s recent threat has subsided for now. The U.S. Geological Survey lowered the volcano alert to “watch” on August 17 after it was considered a “warning” for more than three months, and the NPS began repairing damages. More than 30 buildings have been inspected, while miles of trails and roads are being examined for safety.
“Travelers can plan trips with confidence knowing that Kilauea volcano is being continuously monitored and recovery efforts are underway,” said Ross Birch, executive director of Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau.
Although volcanic fumes are common on Hawaii Island, air conditions may cause problems for visitors with respiratory problems. Visit the Hawaii Interagency Vog Information Dashboard for more information.