Hōlei Sea ArchEnd of Chain of Craters Road

Hōlei Sea Arch

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

"Most of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park remains closed due to increased and damaging earthquakes, corrosive volcanic ash, and continuing explosions from Halema‘uma‘u, the summit crater of Kīlauea Volcano." Read More from the National Parks Service.

Round Trip Mileage:  1.25 miles

Elevation Gain: 20'

Gear: Standard hiking gear

Weather: NOAA forecast for End of Chain of Craters Road

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Fee: $25 per car, $20 per motorcycle, or $12 per pedestrian/bicycle

Map: Topographical Map of End of Chain of Craters Road

Overview: After driving more than twenty miles along the Chain of Craters Road, this hike is a great way to stretch your legs before the long drive back. It's also a way to view Hōlei Sea Arch, a natural lava feature carved into the cliffy Puna Coast. This hike follows a paved road for about a mile where it was engulfed by lava. This is often a great vantage on the gas plume when lava is entering the ocean miles away along the Puna Coast.

Lava Enters the Ocean Miles Away

Getting to the Trailhead: Find the entrance to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park a few miles to the west of the town of Volcano Village. Pass through the entrance and drive straight ahead for less than 100 feet and turn left onto Crater Rim Drive. Follow Crater Rim Drive until it intersects Chain of Craters Road. Follow Chain of Craters Road for twenty miles to a dead end. Turn around and park off the road. There are restrooms but no water at the trailhead. There is sometimes a Ranger stationed here.

This sign is sadly goneThe Hike: First, hike south on a short trail over lava toward Hōlei Sea Arch. The trail ends at the sea cliffs overlooking this unique geological feature. Hōlei means 'a small endemic plant in the milkweed family.' The 500 year old arch is 90' high. It may not last much longer with the daily beating from the southern surf. Once you've enjoyed Hōlei Sea Arch, return to the parking area and then simply follow the closed portion of the paved road until you find the point where it transitions into a gravel road. Along the way, pass acres of lava created from 2003 to the present. It's worth exploring the lava off the road, but watch your step. Return the way you came.

A stand of Palm Trees saved amid the lava destruction