Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park: Volcano House


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Volcano House is a historic lodge in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the rim of Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u crater. The hotel began as a simple shelter in 1846, 30 years after the park was established.


In 1866, the shelter was replaced with a four bedroom hotel and hosted famous guests, including Mark Twain. Twain wrote about it in his autobiographical travelogue of some of his ealry adventures.


The hotel burned down in 1940 and was rebuilt as a 24-room lodge a year later.


When our cruise ship docked in Hilo, we took an excursion with Robert’s Hawaii to the National Park. Our fist stop was to the visitor center. After looking at the displays there, we walked across the street to Volcano House.


From the veranda in back of the hotel, we had our first glimpse of the massive crater. Native Hawaiians believe the volcano to be the home of Pelehonuamea, the fire goddess. Legend has it that Pele fled to Kilauea from her home after angering her sister, the goddess of the sea.


Visitors are prohibited from taking the lava rocks, lest they anger Pele. When I visited here in the 80’s, before the 2018 eruption closed the Jaggar Museum, I’d seen a display of letters to Pele from around the world, apologizing for taking her rocks after experiencing a string of bad luck. This rule is enforced more seriously today..a man in front of us in dock security was stopped from boarding the ship because he was caught with rocks in his pockets.


In 2018, Kilauea erupted explosively, destroyed over 700 homes and extended the island a mile further into the sea as the lava lake in Halema’uma’u crater drained and flowed to the ocean.This was the culmination of a 35-year-long eruption that began in 1983. There is currently no molten lava to be seen here, but there is steam rising from the volcano which is still considered active.


Hilo Posts:

  • Volcano House
  • Steam Vents (Coming Soon)
  •  Kīlauea Iki (Coming Soon)
  • Chain of Craters Road (Coming Soon)
  • Big Island Candies (Coming Soon)
  • Rainbow Falls (Coming Soon)
  • Richardson’s Black Sand Beach (Coming Soon)
  • Mokuola (Coming Soon)


Location: 1 Crater Rim Drive, Volcano, HI 96718

Designation: National Park

Date established/designated: August 1, 1916

Date of my visit: April 16, 2019


8 thoughts on “Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park: Volcano House

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