AskPatty's Guide to 12 Great National Parks: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
Marked by jagged black rocks and oozing molten lava, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park boasts a notoriously rugged landscape. Established in 1916, the park displays the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution -- processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with complex and unique ecosystems and a distinct human culture.
Diverse environments range from sea level to the summit of the earth's most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet, while Kilauea -- the world's most active volcano -- gives visitors views of dramatic volcanic landscapes while scientists learn about the birth of the Hawaiian Islands. Drive the "Chain of Craters" road on your own, or take the guided Crater Rim Drive Tour. If you're more adventurous, more than half of the park is designated wilderness and provides many unusual hiking and camping opportunities.
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