So you know that there are volcanoes in Hawaii. And that those volcanoes produce lava.
In addition to lava that has flowed across land that you can see as lava fields today, there have also been lava flows that have happened underground.
These lava flows have formed caves and can also be called lava tubes.
The way it goes in Hawaii is that typically, such caves and lava tubes are the property of whoever owns the land on top of it.
This means that in order to explore lava tubes (legally), you’ll need the permission of the land owner above the cave to explore a lava tube.
And, if you are at all interested in going underground into a cave where lava used to flow through (and to see the aftermath), there is a cave open for touring on Maui!
This is known as the Hana lava tube, and it’s a part of the Kaeleku Caverns.
It is in a convenient location, and it’s less than a 10 minute drive from the popular Waianapanapa State Park.
If you are interested in volcanoes at all, or if you’re interested in lava at all, then a visit to the Hana lava tube can be well worth it!
In addition to having the experience of walking through a cave where lava flowed through, there’s great educational value to doing the Hana lava tube tour.
This is a self-guided lava tube cave tour, and there are informational signs along the way so you can learn things!
About the Hana lava tube you can visit: When the lava drained out of the cave, what was left was a tunnel that is thought to be the 18th largest lava tube in the world. This Hana lava tube is also said to be the largest lava tube in Maui.
And, you can have a look for lava stalagmites in the cave, which are said to be rare on Maui. According to the people of the Hana lava tube:
Lava stalagmites form when lava flowing above the cave, on the surface, drains down through cracks in the cave ceiling and dribbles onto the floor or sidewalls of the cave.
The drips quickly harden and pile up like sandcastles.
Out of 50 known caves here on Maui, stalagmites have only been found in 2.
Also, this cave has previously served as a nuclear fallout shelter, and it is said that they used to store sleeping cots and water in the cave.
Nowadays, the people of the Hana lava tube say the owner is prepared to use the cave as a survival shelter for 15 people, with food, water, and flashlights ready for 6 weeks of survival in the cave!
More below about a visit to the Hana lava tube!
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How much does the Hana lava tube cost to visit?
There is a cost to visit the Hana lava tube. The entry fee is around $13 per person.
The entry fee also includes being able to walk through a maze, the Red Ti Botanical Garden Maze.
How to prepare for a walk through the Hana lava tube
The cave temperature is said to be around 66-72F. So you may want to bring a long sleeve shirt to layer up just in case. It’s also mentioned that the humidity is around 70% year-round.
The walking surface of the cave isn’t all that rugged, so you should be fine in regular walking shoes.
The cave is DARK. It is not lighted in any way. You will be lighting the way with the flashlights that are provided to you with your entry fee. So you don’t need to bring your own flashlight. (Although having a flashlight or headlamp is always a good thing to have as one of your everyday essentials for Hawaii!)
How much time do you need for a visit to the Hana lava tube?
It can be good to give yourself around an hour to walk through the Hana lava tube and back.
You may also end up taking 45 minutes or less, as it all depends on how quickly you move through the cave, and how much time you spend reading the educational signs along the way.
A bit more of what it’s like to visit the Hana lava tube!
The Hana lava tube is on google maps, so you can use that as your destination. You may want to download the free offline google maps before you go since you likely won’t get data while driving most of the Hana Highway.
You’ll find a small parking lot, and then you can make your way to the visitor center.
The Hana lava tube visitor center is where you make your payment for the cave tour, and you’ll be given flashlights.
You can also take a look at the map of Kaeleku Caverns.
Then when you are ready to get started, you’ll take the path to the cave opening!
And then you will come to the end of the tour, which will be marked with an obvious sign. Then, it’s time to head back to daylight!
And that a bit about going to see the Kaeleku Caverns in Hana!
Nearby food stops in Hana:
- Hana Farms (5 minute drive)
- Braddah Hutts BBQ (10-15 minute drive)
- Huli huli chicken (15 minute drive)
For more exploration of lava and volcanoes:
- Hike the lava fields along the Waianapanapa Coastal Trail at Waianapanapa State Park
- Hike the lava fields on the Hoapili Trail
- Hike the volcano crater on the Sliding Sands Trail in Haleakala National Park
And if you’re headed to the Big Island:
- Where to see old lava flows on the Big Island
- The lava tube cave hike to do
- Driving through vast lava fields spanning to the coast in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
HAPPY WALKING THROUGH A LAVA TUBE CAVE IN MAUI!