Best Places to Climb an Active Volcano

If you are up for an adventure why not hike an active volcano. This is your opportunity to take photos of glowing lava flow and live life on the edge – literally!

Over thousands of years they have reshaped the face of the planet, creating islands where there were none before and demolishing mighty mountains. While there are literally thousands of volcanoes dotted around the world, only about 500 are currently active.

Below we have compiled a list of the best places to climb an active volcano that you can to add to your bucket list. These places are generally accessible to tourists through a range of adventure tour companies.

Etna is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and the largest in Europe. She soars into the sky often with a halo of mist and steam and offers views to the sea and of Calabria on the mainland. The typical tour includes a funicular (cable car) ride just over halfway up, then some driving, and finally a hike to the very top where you can peer down into the steamy crater. Not into the climbing? Ride the local train that passes around its base. Or just walk around a bit at the end point of the 4×4 drive where most hikes start from. The views are still stellar there.

Kīlauea is a shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaiʻi. Located along the southern shore of the island, the volcano, at 300,000 to 600,000 years old, is the second youngest product of the Hawaiian hotspot and the current eruptive center of the Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain. Because it lacks topographic prominence and its activities historically coincided with those of Mauna Loa, Kīlauea was once thought to be a satellite of its much larger neighbor.

Mount St. Helens is an active stratovolcano located in Skamania County, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is 96 miles (154 km) south of Seattle, Washington. Mount St. Helens takes its English name from the British diplomat Lord St Helens, a friend of explorer George Vancouver who made a survey of the area in the late 18th century. The volcano is located in the Cascade Range and is part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, a segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire that includes over 160 active volcanoes. This volcano is well known for its ash explosions and pyroclastic flows.

Mount Yasur is an active volcano on Tanna Island, Vanuatu with a height of 361 m (1,184 ft) above sea level, located on the coast near Sulphur Bay. It lies to the southeast of the taller Mount Tukosmera, which was active in the Pleistocene. It has a largely unvegetated pyroclastic cone with a nearly circular summit crater 400 m in diameter. It is a stratovolcano, caused by the eastward-moving Indo-Australian Plate being subducted under the westward-moving Pacific Plate. It has been erupting nearly continuously for over 800 years, although it can usually be approached safely.

Mount Vesuvius is a stratovolcano in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, about 9 km (5.6 mi) east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is one of several volcanoes which form the Campanian volcanic arc. Vesuvius consists of a large cone partially encircled by the steep rim of a summit caldera caused by the collapse of an earlier and originally much higher structure.

Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the burying and destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Mount Rainier is a massive stratovolcano located 54 miles (87 km) southeast of Seattle in the state of Washington, United States. It is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States and the Cascade Volcanic Arc, with a summit elevation of 14,411 ft (4,392 m). Mt. Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, and it is on the Decade Volcano list. Because of its large amount of glacial ice, Mt. Rainier could potentially produce massive lahars that would threaten the whole Puyallup River valley.

Mayon Volcano, also known as Mount Mayon, is an active volcano in the province of Albay, on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Renowned as the “perfect cone” because of its almost symmetric conical shape, Mayon forms the northern boundary of Legazpi City, the most populous city in the Bicol Region. The mountain was declared a national park and a protected landscape on July 20, 1938, the first in the country. It was reclassified a Natural Park and renamed Mayon Volcano Natural Park in the year 2000.

Local Philippine folklore refers to the volcano as Bulkang Mayon (“Mayon volcano”), after the legendary heroine Daragang Magayon (“Beautiful Lady”).

Piton de la Fournaise (“Peak of the Furnace”) is a shield volcano on the eastern side of Réunion island in the Indian Ocean. It is currently one of the most active volcanoes in the world, along with Kīlauea in the Hawaiian Islands, Stromboli, Etna and Mount Erebus in Antarctica. A previous eruption began in August 2006 and ended in January 2007. The volcano erupted again in February 2007, and on 21 September 2008. Most recently, an eruption occurred on 9 December 2010 and lasted for two days. The volcano is located within Réunion National Park, a World Heritage site.

Piton de la Fournaise is often known locally as le Volcan (The Volcano); it is a major tourist attraction on Réunion island.

Stromboli is a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily, containing one of the three active volcanoes in Italy. It is one of the eight Aeolian Islands, a volcanic arc north of Sicily. This name is derived from the Ancient Greek name Strongulē which was given to it because of its round swelling form. The island’s population is between 400 and 850. The volcano has erupted many times, and is constantly active with minor eruptions, often visible from many points on the island and from the surrounding sea, giving rise to the island’s nickname “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean”.

Sakura-jima is an active composite volcano (stratovolcano) and a former island in Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu, Japan. The lava flows of the 1914 eruption caused the former island to be connected with the Osumi Peninsula.

The volcanic activity still continues, dropping large amounts of volcanic ash on the surroundings. Earlier eruptions built the white sands highlands in the region. As of March 2014, the volcano is under a Level 3 (orange) alert by the Japan Meteorological Agency, signifying the volcano is active and should not be approached. It is currently the only volcano with this status.

Please remember that climbing a volcano can be an extremely dangerous activity at times and we advise you to check with the local authorities before planning a visit. Be sure to take the necessary precautions to avoid potential harm.

Have we missed anything? If you think there is a volcano that is worth adding to this list please let us know in the comment section below.

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One thought on “Best Places to Climb an Active Volcano

  1. Nice List, however never go to MOUNT BATUR – BALI, INDONESIA. There are people who call themselves guides, but they are mobsters / mafia. They want you to pay a lot of money to hire them as a guide. When you say no, or try to negotiate about the price they will attack you. Also when you try to hike up the mountain on your own; they will attack you.

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