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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Driving Tour: Holei Sea Arch

The Need to Knows
  • The Holei Sea Arch is located at the end of Chain of Craters Road within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Pahoa, HI.  Its exact location can be found here: 
  • Parking is pretty limited here, so chances are you'll just be pulling on the side of the road.  Just take the turnaround at the end of the road and park on the right side.
  • It's hot with no shade here and very windy, so keep that in mind and prepare accordingly.
  • There are outhouses located here, but you are definitely roughing it when you use them!  As far as I know running water is not available, but there may be a park concessions stand.  It was closed when Mr. L and I visited though.
  • I wouldn't call the path to the arch wheelchair or stroller-friendly.  From what I recall it was a pretty bumpy, rocky, unpaved path, although short.
  • I would expect to spend about 10 minutes or so here watching the waves crash against the arch and the coastline (with under five minutes to get both to and from the arch overlook area).
  • As always, for updated information on closures within the park, visit this NPS page.  Also keep in mind that any information in these posts is subject to change any time by the National Park Service!
Before you make it to Holei Sea Arch, there is another popular stop that didn't make it on this driving tour compilation since Mr. L and I were rapidly running out of daylight.  It's called the Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs and it involves a mile and a half hike round trip to some stunning Hawaiian petroglyphs that are approximately 600-800 years old.  If you've got the time, definitely go check it out -- I wish we could have!  You can find more information on the petroglyphs here.


At the end of Chain of Craters Road, a gorgeous sea arch stands strong against the relentless Pacific Ocean waves.  Thanks to its beauty and accessibility, it has become one of the most prominent sea arches on the Big Island, if not all of Hawaii!

The Holei Sea Arch is relatively young -- only a few hundred years or so.  That shouldn't be too surprising though considering how young all the land is on this side of the island!  It is also approximately 90 feet tall.  Sea arches like this one form when lava tubes in the cliff are exposed to the crashing surf, which erodes the rock into an arch shape.

The Holei Sea Arch's days are unfortunately numbered since these kinds of formations are fragile (so to speak) and will eventually crumble into the ocean.  However, that isn't to say another sea arch won't form soon after it somewhere else along the vast coastline.

Holei Sea Arch from And Drink the Wild Air on Vimeo. (Sorry for the wind noise!)

I also really enjoyed what a great view of the waves smashing into the cliffs this overlook offered.  I could have stayed out here for hours watching the surf carve out another potential sea cliff.  It really is relaxing and calming!

Up next is finally the last stop of the driving tour, the End of Chain of Craters Road!  Be sure to check back next week for the final post!  :)


Catch up on the rest of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Driving Tour below!

Crater Rim Drive
Chain of Craters Road


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