Note: Crater Rim Drive from Jaggar Museum to the Chain of Craters Road junction is closed due to elevated levels of sulfur dioxide gas and the subsequent eruption from a new vent in Halema‘uma‘u Crater. (see closed area advisory)
The new fuming vent in Halema`uma`u is best seen from the Jaggar Museum overlook.
Crater Rim Drive Tour - Stop #6
Once again be reminded: If anyone in your group has breathing or heart problems or is pregnant, or if your group includes infants or young children -- bypass this stop. Toxic fumes can be very strong in this area. Roll up your car windows and continue driving until you reach the Keanakako'i Overlook, stop #6 on this tour. Excellent views of Halema'uma'u can be found at Kilauea Overlook and the Jaggar Museum. So, you will not miss anything.
While parking your car, be extra careful since the parking area is very busy and is frequented by begging nene from time to time.
Halema'uma'u is home to Pele, Goddess of Hawaiian Volcanoes. The ancient traditions are honored and practiced here by native Hawaiians. Respect this area.
The Halema'uma'u Crater Overlook is a 10 minute walk from the parking area. From the overlook you look down directly into Pele's home. The crater is about 3,000 feet across and nearly 300 feet deep.
Halema'uma'u changed greatly during the 20th century. In 1924, it was only 1,500 feet in diameter but was filled by a lake of molten lava that bubbled and boiled at 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Look carefully into the crater. You might see a large long-tailed white bird flying gracefully about. This is the white-tailed tropic bird, known locally as Koa'e or crater bird. It feeds at sea, but nests in the crater wall.
Did You Know?
During the 1800's, vast quantities of fragrant sandalwood were the first major export of the Hawaiian Islands. The trade nearly caused the extinction of `iliahi or sandalwood (Santalum paniculatum).