Just a note that your link to the USGS site for current conditions in the So, Where's the Lava? section goes to the Mauna Loa page.
Thanks for finding this. I guess the Forest Service changed their website. I linked to a different page that must be their new version. It should work now.
Planning a trip to Hawaii?
Yep, planning a trip. 10 days on the Big Island in early March. We plan on doing Kea, Loa, and Kilauea, though I'm unclear if one can climb to the last's summit (its exact highest point, if it has one that's discernible). Do you know?
Actually, there is no "summit" of Kilauea. The high point is probably near where the visitor's center and parking lot are located. The interesting stuff is in the crater(s) where the lava and volcanism occur.
A little advice: Stay on the Hilo side of the island. It's cheaper, and you're closer to some of the better hikes. In addition to hiking the volcanoes, spend at least a day in the Puna district - there are some really amazing things to see if you poke around. This isn't a place where many tourists go. Also, check into the Wai'pio Valley. It's an amazing valley 1000' feet deep that sees very few visitors, and is claimed to contain ruins of ancient Hawaiian civilizations deep in its jungles.
Have a great trip. The Big Island is amazing.
Thanks for the great info. It is appreciated.
We will be staying on the Kona side. We're staying there because that's where the condo and the Mercedes SUV will be. And we're making use of them because they will be...free.
Those are definately good reasons to stay in Kona...
One more thing: Make sure you pick up "Hawaii: The Big Island Revealed" by Andrew Doughty and Harriett Friedman. It's the best guidebook I've ever seen, and comprehensive of everything from hiking to restaurants. This guidebook literally made our trip.