Volcano's Park Reopens Keanakāko‘i Crater to Hikers
Hawaii National Park, Hawai‘i – Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has
reopened the section of Crater Rim Drive near the Devastation Trail parking
lot to Keanakāko‘i Crater, and a portion of Crater Rim Trail that leads
from Chain of Craters Road to the south side of Keanakāko‘i, to hikers.
Approximately 0.8 miles of Crater Rim Drive is now open to hikers, and
visitors can enjoy an easy roundtrip walk through koa and ōhi‘a forest on
pavement all the way to the Keanakāko‘i Crater overlook. Across the road,
another overlook provides panoramic views of Halema‘uma‘u Crater and Mauna
The park has also reopened about 0.7 miles of Crater Rim Trail from Chain
of Craters Road just north of Lua Manu Crater. This section of trail winds
through native forest, along the flows of 1974, and culminates at the south
side of Keanakāko‘i Crater. Both routes offer an abundance of diverse and
Keanakāko‘i Crater likely formed during the 1400s, during Kīlauea’s great
summit collapses. Until 1877, Hawaiian kahuna kāko‘i (carving experts)
sought the crater’s superior and rare basaltic rock for making ko‘i, or
adze heads. Bound to a sturdy ‘au ko‘i (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 Crater Rim Drive from Jaggar Museum to Chain of Craters
Road and portions of Crater Rim Trail for public safety after Halema‘uma‘u
began to erupt in March 2008 and volcanic fumes caused poor air quality.
Halema‘uma‘u continues to erupt, and Crater Rim Drive remains closed from
Keanakāko‘i to Jaggar Museum.
“Thanks to a new sulfur dioxide monitoring network, and an increase in air
quality monitoring tools at our fingertips, we can effectively evaluate air
quality conditions,” said Park Ranger and Chief of Interpretation Jim Gale.
“We encourage park visitors to take advantage of the newly opened section
of road and trail,” he said.
The Keanakāko‘i area may still experience high levels of volcanic fumes
with changing wind conditions. Should this happen, the park will
temporarily close the site to visitation.