Keanakāko'i Crater

Keanakāko'i Crater
Keanakāko'i Crater Viewed From Crater Rim Trail

NPS Photo/J. Ferracane

Keanakākoʻi, meaning "cave of the adzes", likely formed during the 1400s, during Kīlauea's great summit collapses. Until 1877, Hawaiian kahuna kākoʻi (carving experts) sought the crater's superior and rare basaltic rock for making koʻi, or adze heads. Bound to a sturdy ʻau koʻi (wooden handle), this valuable tool was used to carve vital objects like canoes and houses. But the famous adze quarry was covered by lava, first in 1877, then again during the fissure eruption in July 1974. Today, the crater floor is 115 feet deep.

The park closed portions of Crater Rim Drive for public safety after Halemaʻumaʻu began to erupt in March 2008. During the summit collapses of 2018, the road was further damaged. A portion of Crater Rim Drive is now open to foot and bicycle traffic to a point just beyond Keanakākoʻi.

To hike the portion of Crater Rim Drive to Keanakākoʻi Crater:

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance and hiking time: 1 mile (1.6 km) one way, 2 miles (3.2 km) roundtrip. Estimated time is 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
  • Bring: Water, hat, sun protection & raingear. Be prepared for hot, dry, wet, and windy weather conditions.
  • Park at the Devastation Trailhead parking lot. Trail begins near the parking lot exit.
A graphic of a no symbol over a person stacking rocks
Leave rocks in their rightful place.
Park staff may use ahu (stacked rocks) to mark some trails and keep visitors safe. Please do not create new ones. The stacking of rocks can be culturally offensive, disorienting to hikers, and potentially against the law.

Last updated: December 2, 2019

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Hawaii National Park, HI 96718


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