By Catarina Cowden
Hiking can be a calming, therapeutic adventure. But for some, hiking and climbing is about the thrill, reaching new and death-defying heights that make life more exciting. And with all the outdoors has to offer, there is plenty opportunity to test your limits.
Previously, we discussed the most dangerous hikes that take many lives and require practiced survival skills to complete. The difficult trails require a fit body and mind to complete. But, what if you could feel dangerous and hike a bit easier? Well, Mother Nature has you covered. A booming, hazardous volcano is just the ticket. Sounds crazy right? But actually, many active volcanoes are very safe to climb. Visitors flock from all ends of the world to see the deep craters, colorful fires, steaming ash and hot lava.
The trick is to know the dangers a volcano poses. Many active sites are closed off to the public, or have designated areas for crater viewing. The regularly active volcanoes are monitored and scientists attempt to predict future explosions. With many tragedies in the past, modern science hopes to keep tabs on the activity happening at the planet’s crust, but, some eruptions still can come as a surprise. So while some of these summits are easy to reach, the danger posed by climbing an active volcano is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Active Volcano Hikes
Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii
As the most active volcano in Hawaii, Kilauea has had a history of eruptions. A major eruption in 1983 produced Pu'u 'Ō'ō vent, which still produced lava flows. While this location is not accessible to the public, you can see the fumes and glow from the summit of Kilauea.
Volcanic activity continues to drop high amounts of volcanic ash on the surroundings of Sakurajima. Before 1914. Sakurajima was an island in the bay, but the powerful eruption caused lava flow that connected the land to the Osumi Peninsula. It is prohibited to approach within two kilometers of the craters, but many visitors frequent the observation points upon hiking trails.
Mount Mayon, Philippines
Known for its almost completely symmetric cone shape, Mount Mayon is an active volcano which previously attracted thousands of thrill-seeking tourists. Currently, after a high lava dome appeared in the summit crater thousands of Filipinos fled their homes and the volcano is being monitored for an expected upcoming eruption.
Mont Pelée, Martinique
Famous for its destructive eruption in 1902 known as the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century, Mount Pelee is under continuous watch and likely to erupt again. Many visit to see the incredible Tower of Pelee, which soars 1000 feet and is one of the most spectacular lava domes ever created.
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
This young volcano was dormant for hundreds of years until it suddenly erupted in 1968. Volcanic activity has continually decreased over the years and though it does not spew large amounts of lava or gas like it used to, it is a beautiful hike filled with interesting plant life and scenery.
Mount Bromo, Indonesia
Mount Bromo has become a popular tourist attraction because of the close proximity you can get to the active craters in the massif area. The last eruption was in 2011 leaking heavy ash on its surroundings.
Mount Shishaldin, Alaska
Due to its remoteness and difficulty to climb, Mount Shishaldin is not a common hike. But for the willing, the climb to the top brings you to a near-perfect cone, and incredible ski descents in any direction. The volcano has not had much activity since a 1999 eruption, but does continually puffs steam.
Taal Volcano, Philippines
This easy hike takes about an hour to get to the top. Along the walk you will see the main crater lake, fumaroles, boiling mud ponds, geysers, and dry lava fields. Because of past disasters, the volcano is monitored as a Decade Volcano for close study in preventing future natural disasters.
Earlier this year, Pacaya's moderate explosive eruption spout a fire fountain of about 800 meters tall. The volcano is no longer spitting red lava, but as you hike up the hardened lava you can see a bit of glow with a clear view.
Ijen Volcano, Indonesia
Famous for its electric-blue flames, Ijen Volcano is a sight to see. The crater lake is the largest acidic crater lake in the world. And while many tourists flock to see the beautiful colors due to the acids, it is recommended to wear a gas mask while exploring.
More From The Active Times:
-- 10 Reasons Hiking is Great for Your Health
-- 30 Great American Hikes
-- 13 Brag-Worthy Mountains (Almost) Anyone Can Climb
-- Hike to New Heights: The 10 Best Trails for Stargazing