Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park Is Open Again - Atlas Obscura
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Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park Is Open Again

But the famous lava lake atop Kīlauea has disappeared.

The Kīlauea Iki Overlook has reopened.
The Kīlauea Iki Overlook has reopened. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

For the first time in more than four months, visitors can enter Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park and get a little bit closer to Kīlauea, the volcano that erupted in May, spilling massive amounts of lava across the island and into the ocean.

In the past, one of the park’s main attractions was the red-hot lake of lava atop the volcano’s summit. But now, after months of volcanic activity, the lake is gone. “There is no glow at all,” Shanelle Saunders, a park spokesperson, told the Associated Press. Another park employee described the summit as “a massive, colossal hole.”

You can get a sense yourself of what that looks like from this video made by the U.S. Geological Survey:

Scientists are still trying to understand why the lava lake has disappeared (it’s more complicated than “it all flowed away”) and whether it will return at some point in the future. For now, though, the park has another attraction. Without the glow of lava, “The stars right now are incredible,” Saunders said.