Keanakākoʻi Crater

A volcanic pit crater surrounded by cinders and small trees.
Keanakākoʻi Crater

NPS Photo/M. Szoenyi

Quick Facts
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Scenic View/Photo Spot

Keanakākoʻi Crater is accessible via a short day hike along Old Crater Rim Drive, beginning at the Devastation Trailhead parking lot.

Meaning "cave of the adzes", this pit crater lays on the boundary fault that encircles the summit of Kīlauea. Keanakākoʻi was born during a period of great upheaval and summit collapses of Kīlauea during the 1500's to 1700's. 

In 1877, A lava flow covered the crater floor, reportedly burying a rock quarry that may have been a source for the hard, superior stone used to make tools such as the adze (an axe) by Hawaiians. 

The eruption of Kīlauea Iki in 1959 draped the area surrounding Keanakākoʻi in cinders from massive lava fountains. Then in 1974, the crater was covered with an additional 20 feet of lava, raising the floor by nearly two stories and bringing it to its current depth of about 115 feet (35m).
The walk to the crater passes by many cracks and fissures that opened up during the thousands of earthquakes that rocked the area during the summit collapse of 2018.

On a clear day this is an excellent vantage point for viewing the 13,677 foot summit of Mauna Loa and 13,796 foot summit of Mauna Kea. 

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

Last updated: December 14, 2020