Thurston Lava Tube is located in Volcano National Park on
Hawai'i. It is the only show cave amongst the numerous lava tubes on
the Hawai'ian islands. It is one of numerous sights of the Park, and
like the other sights it can be visited all day without restrictions
on a self guided tour.
The park also has several active volcanoes.
An eruption which continued for decades reached a state, where the
lava flow built its own tunnel, which is still filled with lava. The
lava flows underground and reappears after several kilometers at the
Thurston lava tube reached the next stage of its development. The
eruption ended, the lava left the tube and it cooled down. Today its
rather cool and moisty inside, as the area above the cave is covered
by rain forest. The roots of trees and other plants go through the
roof of the cave and hang down from the ceiling.
Thurston lava tube is entered through a
collapsed part of the roof. The cave is obviously a single passage,
nearly round and of nearly constant diameter. It winds uphill with
about 2%. The exit is another, much smaller, collapsed part of the
Thurston lava tube is only very short. 500
feet is not much compared to other lava tubes with several miles. On
the other hand, lava tubes are very uniform, so you can see most
typical features of this type of caves in Thurston lava tube very
The trail leading to Thurston lava tube is
plush and tropical. As we had been in lava tubes like this
before, we weren't too impressed by the tube itself. When
you've seen Ape Cave and Deadhorse, this isn't very spectacular.
However, for those tourists who haven't been to the Northwest, it
might be interesting.