Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness

Erupting vents, Mauna Loa, shadeless lava fields

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

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.