Green Lake, locally known as Ka Wai a Pele, may not be among Hawaii's most popular tourist destinations but its is one of the most scenic natural spots on the Big Island. Sitting in the center of a lush rainforest, the lake is actually a 400-year-old, freshwater-filled crater several hundred feet deep. It is the largest of only two fresh water lakes on the Big Island.
The lake is just over one mile from the Pacific Ocean and 25 miles from the active Kilauea volcano. Vegetation surronding the lakeshore includes kukui nut trees, guava trees, banana and other native plants. When you arrive at the water’s edge, you are only three feet above sea level!
The towering walls of the crater make the lake seem bottomless. Boats or rafts can be used to explore the lake. Swimming is allowed, except for seasons when the surface is mostly covered with aquatic plants.
Green Lake is situated in idyllic Kapoho which became a ghost town when lava flow destroyed the entire area after the eruption of Kilauea in 1960. Except for the lighthouse at Cape Kumukahi, all structures were destroyed and buried under molten lava. Kapoho was never resettled.
Other nearby attractions include the Green Mountain which offers spectacular coastal views and the Kapoho Tide Pools, some of which are volcanically heated.
The lake sits on private property and an entrance fee of $5 is charged per person.