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Green Lake - A 400-year-old Lake in Kapoho, Hawaii

Green Lake - Kapoho, HawaiiGreen Lake, locally known as Ka Wai a Pele, may not be among Hawaii's most popular tourist destinations but it 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 surrounding the lake-shore 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.

On June 2, 2018, the beautiful lake was wiped out after lava flowed into the area, filled the lake and evaporated all its water during Kilauea Volcano's eruptive episodes which started in May of the same year.

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10 comments

  1. Joe Kalet 3 July, 2017 at 05:13 Reply

    We live on Kauai and are planning a trip to Big Island. When is a good time (low tourist season, no aquatic plants in lake) to see lake? How do we arrange for rental of a row boat or kayak. Mahalo for your kokua.

  2. Ted 29 May, 2018 at 18:49 Reply

    Besides the lighthouse, Puula church was spared by lava, but since there was no town remaining around it, it was moved to Nanawale Estates, Pahoa.

  3. mk 5 June, 2018 at 00:03 Reply

    RIP Ka Wai a Pele “Green Lake” June 2nd 2018. Evaporated and Filled in from Leilani Estates eruption of Fissure 8’s Lava flow into the Kapoho area. You will be missed…

    Green Lake Evaporated
    At 10 a.m. on Saturday, as the Fissure 8 flow was crossing Highway 137, lava entered Kai Wai a Pele, or Green Lake, within Kapoho Crater. The interaction produced a large steam plume that was seen for miles. “By 1:30 p.m. the steam plume had ceased and by 3 p.m., a Hawaii County Fire Department overflight reported that lava had filled the lake and apparently evaporated all the water,” USGS said.

  4. John 5 June, 2018 at 01:05 Reply

    Went to this so called lake today and only found a crater with molten lava. It appears all the water has been boiled away. On the plus side there was no one around to take my money, so I did get in free.

  5. NotRussianBot 5 June, 2018 at 07:14 Reply

    A little late to this discussion. But I don’t think you’ll be needing that kayak anymore.

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