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Kalapana Lava Viewing Site - Puna District, Big Island of Hawaii

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Reaching the Kalapana Lava Viewing Area
Kalapana Lava Viewing Site - Puna District, Big Island of Hawaii

Entrance to Lava Viewing Site at the End of Highway 130 Near Kalapana, Puna District, Big Island of Hawaii

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

The Kalapana Lava Viewing Area in the Puna District on Hawaii's Big Island was, as of December 2009, the only place on land from which you could see the current lava flows of Kilauea volcano, including the place where lava flows into the Pacific Ocean.

The Kalapana Lava Viewing Area is located at the end of Highway 130, about 32 miles or an hour drive from the town of Hilo on the east coast of Hawaii's Big Island. It is a little over 40 miles and slightly over an hour drive from the entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The easiest way to reach the Kalapana Lava Viewing Area is to take Mamalahoa Highway (Highway 11) until you reach the town of Kea'au and look for signs for Highway 130. The highway will be on your left if traveling from Hilo and on your right if traveling from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. From Kea'au follow Highway 130 until the road ends and you see the Restricted Access signs shown above.

Once you pass these signs you will drive about a mile over a rough road to the parking area where County employees will direct you where to park.

There is no admission charge, although once you reach the beginning of the trail, you will find a box for donations to help defray costs.

As of March 2012, the County of Hawaii announced their intention to close the Kalapana Lava Viewing Area due to budgetary issues. As of December 2012, the site remains open, however, the county has removed its website that offered updates on the status of the viewing from this area. In November 2012, after almost a year, lava has once again begun to flow into the ocean.

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