Hawaii National Park Stunners: Sunrise in the Clouds and Active Lava

Yes, I went back to Hawaii for my birthday again this year. I guess you could say I have a problem, but arguably, a good problem. More to come on that, but for now, here’s a quick post to share two of the incredible new-to-me sights I saw last week while putting my *NERDALERT* America the Beautiful U.S. Parks Annual Pass to good use.

Sunrise in Haleakalā National Park

Haleakalā National Park is a dormant 10,000-foot volcano (mountain) on the island of Maui. At its 10K-foot-summit, you’re above the cloud line, which makes for an absolutely spectacular sunrise. In order to see said sunrise, you either need to join a tour or make a special reservation to enter the park between 3 and 7 a.m. and drive your happy butt up the side of a winding, semi-treacherous mountain in the dark. Worth it.

Views like this are 100% worth braving cold, high altitude, winding roads with no guardrail and an early morning drive to the summit. Adventure!

Lava in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A year ago when I visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park located on the Big Island of Hawaii, I spent an entire day there and was completely enchanted with this massive national park. After the sun went down that day, I observed the glow of the active volcano, which lit the sky up bright pink and red, but no lava was visible from in the park. Not this time. There was active lava in the Kīlauea volcano caldera. ACTIVE LAVA. Like, acres and acres of fire, coming out of the earth, that you can see. Granted, we could only look at it from about a mile and a half away, per the park rangers, but there was something about seeing active lava that turned me into a drooling caveperson. I felt like Tom Hanks’ character in Cast Away after he lit the fire on the beach. Holy wow. As Caren said, “achievement unlocked.”


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