kalapana big island lava flow hike location big island photographer

Kalapana Lava Hike | Hawaii Big Island Lava Adventure Photography | Beyond the Box Photography

Debi Buck Adventures, Big Island Hikes, Locations Leave a Comment

The Kalapana Lava Hike is a truly unique location for a photoshoot and a once in a lifetime experience. Since 2007 a surface lava flow from the Kilauea volcano has been flowing in the East Rift Zone, where lava flows are streaming out of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent. 

While the active lava flow can be accessed to visit the lava flow, the Kalapana side is generally preferred.

At the time of this writing,  no ocean-entry plume is visible. It is still possible to see lava surface flows up-hill but make sure you are ready for the difficult hike. Expect to walk 1+ mile (one way) over uneven lava with many brittle and sharp patches.  This hike is for the truly adventurous and NOT for the faint of heart. 

The unpaved road to the lava field is approximately a 4+ mile hike.  While this is a "road,"  walking on the loose gravel can be a bit daunting.   Spending a few dollars on getting a shuttle to take you to the 3rd gate is HIGHLY recommended.  Another option is renting a bicycle - though the area is frequently windy and at some point, you will be riding against the wind. 
To see the lava flow on the lava field, requires a hike across old lava flow surfaces.  Hiking shoes, sunscreen
sunscreen and lots of water are a necessity.  A trekking pole is also a good idea for walking over the uneven terrain.  If you think you may possibly be on the flow in the dark - bring a couple decent flashlights.

Even though the hike is long, the photos from this type of photoshoot are truly one of a kind and worth the blisters.


The lava flow activity and location can change daily.  Check to see the current conditions here or see the current lava flow map.

The National Park requires a fee to photograph within the park boundaries.

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