50 Wilderness Sites Across America
Lava blocking the roadway on the South Coast (© Michele Falzone/JAI/Corbis)
The eastern slopes of Mauna Loa, which in Hawaiian means "long mountain" (Courtesy of Mark Kortum via Flickr)
Pahoe pahoe lava at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (© Peter Van Rhijn/All Canada Photos/Corbis)
Mauna Loa, a volcano on the Big Island, erupting (© Joe Carini/Design Pics/Corbis)
Mauna Loa surrounded by cumulous clouds (© Chris Abraham/Design Pics/Corbis)

Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness

Erupting vents, Mauna Loa, shadeless lava fields

smithsonian.com

Location: Hawaii
Size: 130,790 acres

Year Designated: 1978
Fast Fact: Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness includes Mauna Loa, the Earth’s largest volcano.


Encompassing 130,790 acres and the world’s largest active volcano, the Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness protects a unique ecosystem in the United States: that of a still-forming island. Visitors to the area can observe almost all aspects of the volcano, from lava fields and vents (kept a certain distance away from paths, in order to limit exposure to potentially noxious fumes) to magma entering the Pacific Ocean.

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