Hawaii is known for its many different landscapes and scenery. From beaches to mountains, Hawaii has it all. The state also has many volcanoes! Are they active? Can you see them?
Hawaii has five active volcanoes throughout Maui and Big Island that you can visit, named:
- Mauna Loa
- Mauna Kea
- Mount Haleakala
Ready to learn more about these different volcanoes and how you can see them? This guide covers all the details you need to know.
Active Volcanoes In Hawaii That You Can See
Let’s get into each of these active volcanoes so you can learn a little more about them and where they’re located below.
Kilauea is a shield volcano. Many of the volcanoes in Hawaii are considered shield volcanoes because they only have thin-flowing lava and create small ash layers.
It also does not have serious pyroclastic material when it erupts. It’s usually only lava and ash rather than rocks. It also rarely causes earthquakes.
Kilauea is actually one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It last erupted in 2018 and it was considered a large eruption.
While Kilauea can be dangerous when it’s erupting, it usually does not have explosive eruptions.
This volcano has not erupted since 1801. However, scientists have heard rumblings inside the volcano since the 1980s.
It’s regularly watched by earth scientists because they still consider it an active volcano even though it has not caused any earthquakes in over 100 years.
The reason is because, In the 1920s, the volcano caused many different issues including large movements of magma that caused earthquakes around the island.
Mauna Loa is the world’s largest volcano because of its total mass, but not the tallest volcano.
Mauna Loa is more active compared to the other volcanoes on this list. In the last 120 years, it has had 15 different eruptions.
Scientists expect it to erupt often and they actually say it might erupt again soon since they have heard rumblings and other activity within the volcano.
Mauna Kea is known for being the tallest volcano in the world.
Since volcanoes are measured from the base of the volcano on the ocean floor to the summit, Mauna Kea is actually not only the tallest volcano in the world, but it’s also the tallest mountain. This means it’s over 4,000 feet taller than Mt. Everest.
It has been over 4,000 years since Mauna Kea last erupted so it’s currently considered dormant. However, scientists and other people that study volcanoes say it’s very likely to erupt in the future and not stay dormant forever.
Now, let’s see the next active volcano in Hawaii.
Another not-so-active, active volcano, Mount Haleakala.
Mount Haleakala has not erupted since the 17th century. It’s the only active volcano in Maui. While future eruptions are possible, there are no signs that any will be happening soon.
Scientists in Hawaii monitor Mount Haleakala as well as other volcanoes in Hawaii to look for potential signs of eruptions.
How to See the Active Volcanoes In Hawaii
Now that you know a little bit about each of the active volcanoes on the islands, you might be wondering how you can see them or if you can see them.
Since the Hawaiian Islands were formed by volcanoes, many people are interested in seeing the ones that are still active.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
This activity involves two of the active volcanoes in Hawaii.
The best way to see the Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes is to head to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park located on the Big Island.
Heading here allows you to be face-to-face with volcanoes and to even hike and climb certain parts of them. There are over 150 miles of hiking trails.
You get to hike through:
- The volcanic craters
Make sure you are always staying on the designated pathways though as newly cooled lava can collapse.
Haleakala National Park
Another national park you can visit to see an active volcano in Hawaii is the Haleakala national park.
You can go to this national park to see Mount Haleakala.
They offer guided tours that take you around the volcano. You can also do some additional hiking and stargazing.
Drive to Mauna Kea
There are a few different ways to view this volcano.
You can summit Mauna Kea by doing one of the following:
- Going on a guided tour
- Renting a four-wheel drive car and driving to the top
- Hiking the 8-hour trail to the park
Now, let’s see if there are any active volcanoes that you can’t see in Hawaii.
Are There Any Active Volcanoes In Hawaii That You Can’t See?
Below the surface of the water that surrounds Hawaii are even more volcanoes.
There is actually another active volcano in Hawaii called Loihi but it’s usually disregarded because it cannot be seen. It’s still completely underwater.
It erupts often though which means it’s getting taller and building more material on itself. Many scientists say it will eventually become another island in the existing Hawaiian chain.
Hawaii has five main active volcanoes with a sixth one that is completely underwater. Many of the volcanoes can be visited in national parks while the others can be climbed or hiked with a tour group.