Pauahi Crater

A large volcanic crater with a barren bottom
Pauahi Crater on Chain of Craters Road

NPS Photo/A. LaValle

Quick Facts
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

Parking - Auto, Scenic View/Photo Spot

Pau = finished or destroyed
Ahi = fire
Pauahi = "destroyed by fire"

Pauahi is a composite triple-pit crater, approximately 360 feet (110m) deep and 1,600 feet (500m) long. This crater has been the site of three eruptions in recent history: May 1973, November 1973, and November 1979. During the November 1973 eruption, lava pooled into a dramatic, fiery, swirling whirlpool on the crater floor. The crater floor we see today is covered by a thin veneer of lava from the 1979 event.

Pauahi Crater is culturally significant and religious to many of the Hawaiian people. At times you may see a hoʻokupu (offering), perhaps wrapped in pūʻolo (tī leaf). These should not be touched or disturbed.

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

Last updated: January 20, 2021