Lava Tree State Monument is a Hawaii State Park that was created when flowing lava reached a wet rainforest area in 1790 and encased the native ohia lehua trees with lava. The molten rock burned the trees and left behind vertically-standing, hollow lava tubes.
Visible within the lava tubes are impressions made by tree bark on the molten lava before it hardened. The imprints are now revealed on the interior of the hollow tubes of rock. Also interesting is a large chasm near the entrance to the park. This chasm was created during the explosive events of the 1790 eruption.
The moss-covered lava trees, which some describe as “ghostly,” are set amidst lush and tropical forest growth including large monkeypod trees. This area is now part of the Nanawale Forest Reserve.
Near the entrance to Lava Tree State Monument are some of the most amazing examples of the “lava tree” phenomenon. More can be seen by hiking the Lava Trees Loop Trail which traverses the park.
Beginning near the parking lot, the .7-mile loop trail provides many great views of lava molds of tree trunks. This is a nice family hiking trail which is roughly paved though it is uneven in some areas.
Lava Tree State Monument is open from dawn to dusk. The park has restrooms and picnic tables but no drinking water. Admission is free.
Lava Tree Monument is located in the Puna district about 2.7 miles (4.3 km) southeast of the town of Pahoa. From Pahoa follow Hwy. 130 to Hwy. 132 and go left, then follow Hwy. 132 for about 3 miles (4.8 km) to Lava Tree Road. Turn left on Lava Tree Rd. and proceed about 150 feet (46 m) where you will see the park on the right.