The Five Best Volcanoes for Mountain Expeditions

Ever since our ear­li­est days of sci­ence class, vol­ca­noes have had a spe­cial fas­ci­na­tion.  We know they explode, send liq­uid rock in mass quan­ti­ties, and shape the world.  But, they’re often over­looked as incred­i­ble hik­ing spots.  Active or not, they can pro­vide some incred­i­ble scenery.

One thing to note is that all the vol­ca­noes on this list are still active.  So, you’ll prob­a­bly have some fas­ci­nat­ing chances to see nature chang­ing before your eyes, but don’t for­get to exer­cise some cau­tion.  Check local reports to learn about safe areas and recent erup­tion pat­terns, and be sure to dress in appro­pri­ate cloth­ing to pro­tect your­self from sud­den encoun­ters with hot areas.


guatemala

Pacaya, Guatemala
This vol­cano first erupt­ed around 23,000 years ago, but the most recent erup­tion peaked in 2010. This 8,373-foot vol­cano is locat­ed with­in Pacaya Nation­al Park in cen­tral Guatemala, and it’s a com­plex vol­cano which means it has more than one erup­tion point.  In oth­er words, you can tech­ni­cal­ly climb more than one vol­cano in one attempt.  But, wear thick shoes because there are still plen­ty of hot spots.


http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Boa­worm, CC by 3.0 license

Eyjaf­jal­la­jökull, Iceland
Remem­ber the vol­cano that dis­rupt­ed Euro­pean flights in 2010?  That was this one.  It has a lit­tle twist that most vol­ca­noes don’t, because it’s com­plete­ly cov­ered by an ice cap.  The frozen mat­ter cov­er­ing it makes the trek a lit­tle bit more dif­fi­cult, but it opens up oppor­tu­ni­ties for vol­cano ski­ing if you’re in the mood.


Hawaii

Hawaiʻi Vol­ca­noes Nation­al Park
This Nation­al Park was estab­lished in 1916 to pro­tect two major vol­ca­noes on the Island of Hawaiʻi (also referred to as the Big Island).  There are over 150 miles of hik­ing trails that allow you to explore vast areas around the vol­ca­noes.  If you’re lucky, you may even get to see the reac­tion caused by mag­ma falling into the sea.


etna

Mount Etna, Sicily
The largest active vol­cano in Europe doesn’t have a con­stant sum­mit height because it changes too often.  In Greek Mythol­o­gy, Zeus impris­oned the mon­ster Typhon under this vol­cano, and you can even peek into the steam­ing top to have a look for him.  Plus, there is a cable car cov­er­ing part of the peak so you can try some­thing a lit­tle bit different.


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moorea_(view_of_mountains_from_Belvedere_Lookout).jpg
Olivi­er Bruchez — Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Mount Tohivea, Moorea, French Polynesia
Not all vaca­tions to trop­i­cal islands have to be lim­it­ed to relax­ing with a paper­back.  In French Poly­ne­sia, you can attempt to climb the stun­ning Mount Tohivea from which you can see mul­ti­ple bays and penin­su­las.  It will make you feel like a dar­ing adven­tur­er to be clos­ing in on the steam­ing peak while watch­ing peo­ple sit on the beach.