Hawaii

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  • The Big Island's big show - 1 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii has been continuously erupting since 1983, producing many lava flows that pour molten rock directly into the Pacific Ocean. The primordial light shows are tough to forecast, but when they do occur, dawn boat tours out to the entry sites offer an unforgettable experience. Photos by Shane Nelson; posted Oct. 18, 2013

  • The Big Island's big show - 2 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    Bundled viewers watch steam rise off of lava entering the ocean on the southeastern coast of the Big Island. Lava Ocean Adventures provides dawn and dusk tours of the entries when they occur, but the trips aren't for those prone to sea sickness. Hawaii Island's southeast coast is home to some of the roughest water in the state.

  • The Big Island's big show - 3 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    Kilauea has added 500 acres of new land to the southern shore of Hawaii Island during its past three decades of continuous eruption.

  • The Big Island's big show - 4 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    Reaching up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, molten lava oozes onto a growing black sand beach.

  • The Big Island's big show - 5 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    A World Heritage site since 1987, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to more than 150 miles of hiking trails. Here Big Island hikers enjoy a ranger-lead tour of Devastation Trail, a paved path winding along the edge of a rainforest bombarded by cinders during the 1959 Kilauea Iki eruption.

  • The Big Island's big show - 6 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    Not only home to an extraordinary variety of volcanic landscapes, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park offers visitors access to some of the state's best preserved and increasingly rare native forest. An under layer of hapu'u ferns flourishes here beneath a towering canopy of old growth Ohi'a Lehua trees, favorites of many endangered endemic Hawaiian bird species.

  • The Big Island's big show - 7 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    A short drive from the national park's main Kilauea visitor center, the 1/3-mile roundtrip hike through native rainforest and Thurston Lava Tube is one of the attraction's most popular short walks.

  • The Big Island's big show - 8 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    Named for a newspaper publisher who stumbled onto the formation in 1913, the tube was formed by a river of lava just a few hundred years ago.

  • The Big Island's big show - 9 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    Mauna Loa, a 13,678-foot active shield volcano, looms over Kilauea Iki, once a broiling lava lake that produced lava fountains as high as 1,900 feet during its 1959 eruption. Descending 400 feet through lush rainforest, the 4-mile Kilauea Iki trail offers hikers access to the crater, which is 1-mile long and 3,000 feet wide.

  • The Big Island's big show - 10 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    An endemic Hawaiian Ohi'a Lehua tree, gifted with the grit to grow on hardened lava flows, lines the rugged path through Kilauea Iki crater, a former lava lake that's still dotted with active steam vents today.

  • The Big Island's big show - 11 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    Reopened after a more than three-year closure in June 2013, the 33-room Volcano House hotel has operated in various forms from its location at the edge of Kilauea Caldera since 1846, hosting prominent guests like President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Robert Louis Stevenson and Mark Twain.

  • The Big Island's big show - 12 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    A terrific launching point for travelers keen to thoroughly explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a protected area nearly as large as the entire island of Oahu, Volcano House recently underwent a historically faithful $3 million renovation to its public spaces, restaurant and all of its guestrooms, many of which feature crater views.

  • The Big Island's big show - 13 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    Breakfast in Volcano House's The Rim restaurant often offers the clearest views of Halemaumau Crater, which is currently home to a hidden lava lake spewing volcanic fumes.

  • The Big Island's big show - 14 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    Park visitors can enjoy a much closer look at the Halemaumau Crater eruption from the Jaggar Museum overlook, a five-minute drive from Volcano House. The active Halemaumau vent first opened in March of 2008.

  • The Big Island's big show - 15 of 15

    The Big Island's big show

    On clear evenings, the molten lava lake within Halemaumau Crater colors the escaping gas plume, attracting large crowds. Bring warm clothing if you plan to go at dusk. The windy overlook, which is 4,000 feet in elevation, is often downright frigid at night.

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