When we visited the Big Island of Hawaii last month, we most wanted to experience the outstanding geological sites it has to offer. The volcanic sites are unlike anywhere else in America, and everywhere on the island we witnessed the remnants of what created this beautiful paradise – lava. Our 4WD Jeep drove over the top of many 1800’s lava flows on rustic roads designed to get only the more adventurous visitors to the coast.
Lava tubes were one of the many adventures we made during our stay. They are located all over the island and free to explore. The Thurston Lava tube is located inside Volcanoes National Park, and is lighted in part of the tube. Another well-known cave – Kaumana Caves – is located just outside of Hilo on Hwy 200.
Tips for Caving:
* Bring a powerful flashlight if you want to go farther than the natural light allows.
* Be smart about where you hike – lava tubes are usually hidden from above and the ceilings can cave in.
* Hike with others who also make safe choices, and tell someone at your resort when you plan to return.
* Dress in layers, as the caves can be very cool, even when the weather outside is warm.
We saw others using helmets with headlamps, but we never went far enough into the caves to need them. Other excellent precautions for caving can be found here.