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Monday, August 10, 2015

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Driving Tour: Kealakomo Overlook

The Need to Knows
  • The Kealakomo Overlook is located along Chain of Craters Road within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Pahoa, HI.  Its exact location can be found here:
  • Like the other stops along Chain of Craters Road, there isn't shade, water, or restrooms here, so prepare accordingly.  There should be trash cans and picnic tables, however.
  • There is a small parking area available here for the lookout, so it isn't just a pullout like some of the other stops on this tour.
  • Kealakomo Overlook also serves as the trailhead for the Na'ulu Trail, which is just across the street.  Fore more information on the Na'ulu Trail, go here.
  • I would classify this stop as wheelchair and stroller-friendly since the path to the overlook platform is paved.
  • I would plan to spend about 10 minutes or so here enjoying the stunning view!
  • 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!
The Kelalakomo Overlook is a stop along Chain of Craters Road that offers a stunning view of some beautiful southern Big Island coastline.  From here, you can see all the way to South Point on a clear day to your right and around Kalapana to your left.  It's a great spot to appreciate just how massive this area of the Big Island really is!

A village once resided in the area you see before you that's now covered in dark strips of old lava.  Kealakomo is thought to have been abandoned after an earthquake and a tsunami in 1868 and then buried by the lava flowing from Mauna Ulu from 1969-1974, the flows that you just drove through to make it to this point!  The flow reached all the way to the ocean, breaching the Holei Pali, the cliff where you're standing now and enjoying this gorgeous view.

From here, you can also spot the differences in the lava types.  The darker lava is a'a lava (the sharp, rough kind) and the lighter, silver-gray lava is pahoehoe lava (the smooth, ropey, cake batter-like kind).

You should also be able to see Chain of Craters Road as it descends down the pali to the coastline.  That should answer any of your questions as to how you go from 4,000 feet in elevation to sea level when you're on this drive!  :)

If you've been itching for some beautiful views on this driving tour, Kealakomo Overlook definitely fits that bill!  Definitely make sure you stop here and get some great pictures of this gorgeous spot!

Click to make this panorama larger

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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