4.5 star rating: Recommended 879 Reviews

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  • Address: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, 1 Crater Rim Dr
  • Hours: Open at all times.
  • Admission: 7 Days: $10 per vehicle (including passengers), $5 per individual (by foot, bicycle).
Set inside of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Thurston Lava tube is the most accessible lava tube on the Big Island of Hawaii. Discovered in 1913 by newspaper publisher Lorrin Thurston, this dark recess is the result of subterranean lava which once flowed through this young section of earth. 400 years old and 600 feet long, the tube is now lit by electric lights to create an eerie glow for visitors who venture inside.

On the 15-minute walk down towards the cave the dense rainforest surroundings make it hard to believe that magma ever flowed through here at all. Nevertheless, as you make your way down a set of metal stairs, the entrance to the tube stares at you like a black abyss in the jungle. Although the ceiling can be a little low at points, the walk through the tube is completely safe and is a surreal contrast to the foliage outside. Roots of ohia trees can be seen on the ceiling, and ridges on the walls of the tube indicate where lava flowed and hardened at different speeds.

When you reach the end of the tube there is a small staircase which loops back towards your car, although those who brought a flashlight can venture into an unlit section of cavern that would be pitch black if you didn’t have a light. It’s a strange feeling to stand inside a tunnel which was carved by the Earth itself, especially in a part of the world where the geology is still so active.

If you only have a couple of hours to spend in the park then a 30-minute visit to the Thurston lava tube should be at the top of any itinerary. Although the ease of access means that it isn’t very “extreme”, it’s a sight which can be appreciated and enjoyed by even the most hardened of adventure seekers.

Tours & Tickets

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Big Island Day Trip: Volcanoes National Park from Oahu

4 star rating: Recommended 349 Reviews

Discover the sights of the Big Island on this guided day trip from Oahu. Inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO-listed site, hike along a crater rim, ...  Read more

Location: Waikiki, Oahu
Duration: 15 hours (approx.)

From USD $456.86

Big Island in One Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, and History Small Group Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 120 Reviews

This 10-hour nature tour offers an in-depth look at Hawaii’s youngest and largest island. Explore the diverse landscape and natural wonders, including active ...  Read more

Location: Hawaii, Hawaii
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $171.88

Big Island Grand Circle Island Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 169 Reviews

See the Big Island of Hawaii’s stunning beauty on a full-day Grand Circle tour. On the Grand Circle Island Adventure, you’ll visit Volcanoes National Park and ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 11 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $113.69

Kilauea Volcano Bike Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 45 Reviews

Join a guided Kilauea Volcano bike tour in the Hawaii Volcano National Park. You'll explore Kilauea Volcano, from its summit to the sea, as you bike down this ...  Read more

Location: Hilo, Hawaii
Duration: 4 - 5 hours

From USD $136.36

Big Island Hawaii Volcano Adventure

4.5 star rating: Recommended 54 Reviews

See the lava fields on a comprehensive, full-day Big Island Hawaii Volcano tour. You'll explore Hawaii Volcano National Park, Kilauea Volcano and Big Island of ...  Read more

Location: Hilo, Hawaii
Duration: 9 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $102.25

Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park and Rainbow Falls

4.5 star rating: Recommended 106 Reviews

On your day in port in Hilo, explore two of the Big Island’s most spectacular sites on a shore excursion. First, discover Hawaii’s scenic Rainbow Falls amid ...  Read more

Location: Hilo, Hawaii
Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $89.00

Experience Volcanoes National Park: Helicopter, Coach, and Walking Tour from Kona

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Immerse yourself in the wild beauty of Hawaii’s volcanoes on a full-day tour via helicopter, coach and foot. Venture deep into volcano territory as you fly ...  Read more

Location: Hawaii, Hawaii
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $699.00

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Big Island Highlights Small Group Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

See two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, on a private full-day tour that features the natural wonders of the UNESCO-listed Hawaii ...  Read more

Location: Hawaii, Hawaii
Duration: From Hilo: 8 hours
From Kona: 10 hours

From USD $166.67

Volcanoes National Park Private Tour

Discover Volcanoes National Park on this private and personal tour. There are no "mixed" groups on this tour allowing you to see what you want to see ...  Read more

Location: Hilo, Hawaii
Duration: Flexible

From USD $370.00

2-Day Big Island Adventure: Snorkeling, Hiking and Volcanoes National Park Camping

On this 2-day Big Island adventure from Kona or Waikoloa, you’ll go snorkeling, tour a Kona coffee farm and enjoy a coffee tasting, and take guided hikes to an ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $311.46

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