10 best popular volcanoes to visit in Hawaii.

Hawaii emerged from the sea millions of years ago, forged by the power of volcanoes. Over time, volcanoes have formed some of our most iconic landscapes. Today, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the island of Hawaii is one of the few places in the world where visitors can come face to face with an active volcano—a truly unforgettable experience.

Hawaii’s main volcanoes are “shield” volcanoes, which produce lava flows that form gently sloping, shield-like mountains. A good example is Maunaloa, the most massive mountain on earth, deceptively covering half of Hawaii Island. Standing with this sleeping giant beneath your feet will give you a greater respect for earth’s ever-changing landscapes.

1. Kīlauea

Kīlauea is an active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, and the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaiʻi. Located along the southerneastern shore of the island, the volcano is between 210,000 and 280,000 years old and emerged above sea level about 100,000 years ago. Wikipedia
Last eruption: 3 May 2018
Elevation: 1,247 m
Location: Hawaiʻi, United States
Volcanic arc/belt: Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain
Age of rock: 210,000 to 280,000 years old
Did you know: The Hawaiian name Kilauea means “spewing” or “much spreading”.


2. Mauna Loa


Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi in the Pacific Ocean. The largest subaerial volcano in both mass and volume, Mauna Loa has historically been considered the largest volcano on Earth, dwarfed only by Tamu Massif. Wikipedia
Elevation: 4,169 m
Last eruption: 15 April 1984
Area: 5,271 km²
Volcanic arc/belt: Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
Topo map: USGS Mauna Loa


3. Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii. Its peak is 4,207.3 m above sea level, making it the highest point in the state of Hawaii. Most of the volcano is underwater, and when measured from its oceanic base, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world, measuring over 10,000 m in height. Wikipedia
Elevation: 4,207 m
Last eruption: 2460 BC
First ascent: 1823
Location: Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States
Mountain range: Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain
Did you know: At 13,796 feet above sea level and over 33,000 feet from the bottom of the ocean floor, Mauna Kea is the tallest sea mountain in the world.


4. Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is a volcanic cone in the eastern rift zone of the Kīlauea volcano of the Hawaiian Islands. Until the end of April 2018, Puʻu ʻŌʻō had been erupting nearly continuously since January 3, 1983, making it the longest-lived rift-zone eruption of the last two centuries. Wikipedia
Elevation: 698 m
Location: Hawaii County, Hawaii, US
Last eruption: 1983–2018
Topo map: USGS Kalalua
Volcanic arc/belt: Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
Did you know: The crater of Kilauea is named Pu’u’O’o.


5. Hualālai


Hualālai is an active volcano on the island of Hawaiʻi in the Hawaiian Islands. It is the westernmost, third-youngest and the third-most active of the five volcanoes that form the island of Hawaiʻi, following Kīlauea and the much larger Mauna Loa. Its peak stands 8,271 feet above sea level. Wikipedia
Last eruption: 1801
Elevation: 2,521 m
Location: Hawaiʻi, U.S.
Topo map: USGS Hualālai
Volcanic arc/belt: Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
Did you know: Hualālai is the fourth-highest mountain peak of Hawaii by elevation (8,271 ft).


6. Haleakalā

Haleakalā, or the East Maui Volcano, is a massive shield volcano that forms more than 75% of the Hawaiian Island of Maui. The western 25% of the island is formed by another volcano, Mauna Kahalawai, also referred to as the West Maui Mountains. The tallest peak of Haleakalā, at 10,023 feet, is Puʻu ʻUlaʻula. Wikipedia
Elevation: 3,055 m
Volcanic arc/belt: Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
Last eruption: between 1480 and 1600
Location: Maui, Hawaii, U.S.
Topo map: USGS Kilohana (HI)
Did you know: The name Haleakala derives from the legend that the demigod Maui imprisoned the Sun there in order to lengthen the day.


7. Kohala

Kohala is the oldest of five volcanoes that make up the island of Hawaii. Kohala is an estimated one million years old—so old that it experienced, and recorded, the reversal of earth’s magnetic field 780,000 years ago. Wikipedia
Elevation: 1,670 m
Last eruption: About 120,000 years ago
Volcanic arc/belt: Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
Topo map: USGS Kamuela
Parent range: Hawaiian Islands
Did you know: The five volcanoes are Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Kilauea, Hualalai and Kohala.


8. West Maui Mountains

The West Maui Mountains, West Maui Volcano, or Mauna Kahalawai which means “holding house of water,” is approximately 1.7 million years old and forms a much eroded shield volcano that constitutes the western one-quarter of the Hawaiian Island of Maui. Wikipedia
Elevation: 1,764 m
Prominence: 1,728 m
Topo map: USGS Kilohana (HI)
Volcanic arc/belt: Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
Last eruption: <320,000 years
Parent range: Hawaiian Islands


9. East Molokai Volcano

The East Molokai Volcano, sometimes also known as Wailau for the Wailau valley on its north side, is an extinct shield volcano comprising the eastern two-thirds of the island of Molokaʻi in the U.S. state of Hawaii. Wikipedia
Elevation: 1,210 m
Location: Molokai, Hawaii, United States
Volcanic arc/belt: Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
Parent range: Hawaiian Islands
Did you know: Molokai’s highest peak is Kamakou, which is part of the East Molokai Volcano, rising 4,961 feet (1,512 m).


10. Diamond Head

Diamond Head is a volcanic tuff cone on the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu and known to Hawaiians as Lēʻahi, most likely from lae ‘browridge, promontory’ plus ʻahi ‘tuna’ because the shape of the ridgeline resembles the shape of a tuna’s dorsal fin. Wikipedia
Elevation: 232 m
Prominence: 182 m
Location: Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, US
Topo map: USGS Honolulu
Designated as world heritage site: 1968
Did you know: The origin of the English name, “Diamond head” came from 19th century British sailors who thought the sparkling, clear calcite crystals were diamonds.