Lava Tree State Park – A cool, strange natural find

A visit to Pahoa and the Puna district wouldn’t be complete without strolling through Lava Tree State Park just a few miles outside of the city limits. What’s cool about visiting this area is that despite all the lava intrusions to the district and especially during the Lerz Eruption that destroyed a large area of Lower Puna, this park survived and is still intact for everyone to visit.

Lava Tree State Park – A cool, strange natural find

Why visit Lava Tree State Park?

If not for the creepy large lava rock formations which pierce the park in odd places and the dense jungle vibe of the area – those formations are the remains of a vast ohia forest that grew in the area and was wiped out quickly with lava flowing into the area. 

The lava destroyed the trees but created molds of the burnt ohia trees and that is what remains today as a testament of Pele the fire goddess of Hawaii and nature manifesting itself and healing at the same time. With the remains of the tree molds, the park is surrounded with new forest growth of the Ohia trees along with local indigenous and tropical plants and flowers to make this more of a botanical garden tour.

Why visit Lava Tree State Park?

How to start your visit

There is one easy and flat loop trail (.7 miles) that you take around the park that is done in half hour or longer (depending on your stops and photo taking) and there are facilities and picnic grounds if you want to stay longer.

Absorb the silence of the area, nature and the rebirth of this beautiful garden and state park worth visiting in Puna.

How to start your visit to Lava Tree State Park

Other things worth seeing around Pahoa and the Puna district

If you are visiting the areas around Puna, check out these other places of interest in the district

Road loop drive on the Pahoa

Road loop drive on the Pahoa/Kapoho Hwy 132 road around newly formed lava fields and turns into lush jungles, windy roads around old mango trees and gorgeous coastal roads that feel like Old Hawaii.

Explore the new Kapoho black sand beach with no name

Discover Old town Pahoa and shop/dine the new shopping areas of Puna Kai Center and Malama for sundries and other conveniences

An entire guide to visiting the Puna District of Hawaii.

Explore MacKenzie State park and enjoy the cliffside views, ironwood groves, lava tubes and spiritual presence in the area.

Check out the Painted Church in Kalapana – visit this beautiful and primitive style church painted so beautifully inside and saved from destruction from the lava flows that destroyed the Kapalana region of the Puna District

Do a fun road trip through the Red Road along the eastern Puna Coastline. This scenic road is unspoiled and a wonderful trip that is Old Hawaii in look and feel. Just slow down and enjoy the views on this gorgeous road.

Visit Maku’u market and other small farmers markets of Puna. Maku’u market in Pahoa is the largest and there are smaller markets around the Puna district that happen on different days of the week.

Visit the new black sand beach and hot ponds at Pohoiki Beach on the Red Road

Red Road Hawaii – Kalapana Kapoho road – This Hawaii Life

How to get to Lava Tree State Park

How to get to Lava Tree State Park

The state park is less than a 3.6 mile drive on Highway 132 from downtown Pahoa, From Downtown Hilo the park is 22.9 miles to get to the park. Take Highway 11, left at intersection to Highway 130 and left again at intersection to Highway 132. The park will be on the left hand side of the highway.

Check their website information here for more details and hours of visiting.

Conclusion on Lava Tree State Park

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Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.