It is the largest active volcano on Earth. And if you want, you can visit it like this

Its oldest rocks are over 200,000 years old, it is thought to have emerged from the sea 400,000 years ago and it is the largest active volcano on Earth: we are talking about Mauna Loa, whose slopes make up half of the territory of the Big Island, the largest island of the Hawaiian archipelago. What is the most important thing to know? It can be visited and its discovery is a unique experience that is definitely worth it.

How to get to Mauna Loa

Let’s get straight to the nitty-gritty: Mauna Loa is located in Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park, accessible from Hilo (Big Island) via Saddle Road. This road allows you to reach both Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, so to visit the former you will need to turn on Mauna Loa Road Observatory and then follow it until NOAA Mauna Loa Atmospheric Observatory which is located just below the peak.

Alternatively, coming from the city of Kailua, you can drive along Central Saddle Rd and cross hills of lava rock until you always find yourself in front of the Mauna Loa Observatory. Excursion experts from around the world recommend planning a visit on specialized forums in spring or autumn when the influx of tourists is smaller and when the climatic conditions also make it possible to admire the beautiful starry sky.

Practical advice for an excursion

The top of the volcano can be accessible only on foot. Once you arrive at the observatory you will be directed to two paths, but be prepared because both are considered strenuous due to rugged terrain and high altitude. The positive thing is that both routes lead to cabins located directly where it is possible to have refreshments and more: on request, it is possible to plan trips for several days and you can stay in the appropriately equipped cabins.


Multi-day trips require a special permit, which must be obtained by contacting the national park. In terms of equipment, experts especially recommend sturdy trekking shoes and clothing that takes into account the fact that the volcano can be cold and windy. Some areas are also equipped with pedestrian crossings barrier-free and prams, as well as toilets.

Volcanic sightings (and their meaning)

Naturally, all visits to Mauna Loa must be planned after consultation with opinions, dates and results International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior he was born in United States Geological Survey. The experts of these bodies are actually engaged in observing and monitoring the volcanoes of Hawaii, and they have eyes for Mauna Loa, which, despite its current harmlessness, is considered one of the volcanoes capable of causing large destructive eruptions.


Different parts of the volcano are considered protected from eruptive activity, but experts have repeatedly suggested that one of the main risks of visiting the volcano is the possibility of a sudden and massive hip collapse, which can only happen if activity increases exponentially. So always be sure to consult the authorized sites and gather all the information before planning your trip, or when you arrive in the area, you won’t be allowed to even think about getting close.


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