Puhimau Crater Overlook At Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Puhimau Crater at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Each of our three days in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park was spent in the car, driving from overlook to overlook, trail to trail, and attraction to attraction. Our day began with stops at the Kīlauea Iki Crater Overlook, the Thurston Lava Tube, Devastation Trail, and the Lua Manu Crater.

Up next was another quick crater overlook and roadside pit stop.

Puhimau Crater is a 400 foot wide, 650 foot long, 500 foot deep, oval-shaped crater off Chain Of Craters Road in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

Like Lua Manu Crater, Puhimau Crater is a pit crater formed when the magma underground suddenly rains, causing the ground above to collapse. Pit craters for almost instantly, often shaped like an inverted funnel — small at the top and large at the bottom. Then over time, erosion caused the small opening at the top to grow in size until vertical walls are formed around the edges.

This section of Chain Of Craters Road sits between two rift zones. The crater and the surrounding area is part of the Puhimau Thermal Hot Spot and because a large channel of magma flows below the areas, if conditions are just right, you can actually see the crater steaming.

Know Before You Go

  • Puhimau Crater is located 0.5 miles from Lua Manu Crater, 1.0 mile from the start of Chain Of Craters Road, and 4.2 miles from the Kīlauea Visitor Center on Chain Of Craters Road in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
  • While not an official stop on the Chain Of Craters Drive tour as dictated by the national park, Puhimau Crater is worth the quick roadside pit stop because unlike other craters that are barren across the floor, Puhimau is sprinkled with trees and plant life.

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