Highway 137 South East, Hawaii
The small town of Kalapana was once a treasured Hawaiian fishing village. It was also the site of one of the largest and nicest black sand beaches. But in 1990, Madame Pele changed the landscape of Hawaii dramatically. From April through December of that year, lava flowed relentlessly, burying the town and the Royal Garden Subdivision under 10 meters of molten rock.
The slow moving lava engulfed homes, parks and roads. Almost everything in its path was completely destroyed. However, a few homes survived the devestation by sheer "luck". For some reason, the lava would part or turn and spare a single structure.
These houses still stand, completely surrounded by lava and cut off from civilization. A few families still live in the barren "subdivision" without water or power.
The lava from the Kilauea Volcano flowed rapidly down the Pulama pali toward the town and subdivisions of Kalapana.
Today, "rangers" set up make-shift stations to monitor visitor traffic to the site. You can hike across the barren lava fields and view current lava outbreaks which are easily seen after dark.
This road sign along the highway sadly depicts the annihilation of an entire community.
Stay on the marked path and always obey the warning signs posted throughout the area.
There may be an admission fee charged to enter this area (the fee is being appealed)
Stay away from any house - that is private property
Stay on the path as directed by the "rangers"
Wear sturdy shoes
Bring a flashlight is staying after dark
Bring plenty of water
Do not get close to the ocean. This land is VERY unstable and may suddenly collapse
REMEMBER - this is active volcano land and is unpredictable
Take Highway 137 around the eastern tip of Hawaii to the very end OR take Highway 130 south from Hilo to Highway 137 and continue to the end. A "ranger" station and parking area is located at the end of the road.