Garden Of The Gods / Keahiakawelo

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Address Polihua Rd, Lanai City, HI 96763
A long, bumpy, 4x4-only trail is the only way to get here. Spectacular view all around once you do arrive.

• General: Cost: Free • General: Photo Opportunity • Hiking: Hiking • Hiking: Nature Walk • Sightseeing: Great Views
• Cultural & Historical: Heiau / Sacred Site

Keahiakawelo, according to Hawaiian lore, is the result of a contest between two kahuna (priests) from Lana'i and Moloka'i. Each was challenged to keep a fire burning on their respective island longer than the other, and the winner's island would be rewarded with great abundance. The Lanai kahuna, Kawelo, used every piece of vegetation in Keahiakawelo to keep his fire burning, which is why this area is so barren today.

So that's the history of Keahiakawelo. But let's talk more about the present day reality of what the Garden of the Gods (as it's more commonly called today) actually is. It's a Mars-like landscape filled with all sort of rocks and boulders out in the middle of nowhere.

Seriously, that's what it actually is: a rock garden. If you were expecting some sort of lush garden you will be disappointed but that doesn't mean you should pass this up.

It's about 14 miles if you are driving from the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay and about 7 miles from the main town area and no matter how you go it's about 6 miles of pure off road trail driving. We're talking dusty, dirty, bumpy, 4x4 only offroading goodness (even if you can only do 5-10 miles per hour the whole time).

So while the rocks aren't really a destination in my opinion, the real treat is the scenic view you get once you make the trip. Because it's an amazing view all around, including great views of Moloka'i island. So bring a camera but also pack in some snacks and plenty of drinks because you will be out in the middle of nowhere and likely won't have a cell single in some parts.

Pack extra supplies to be safe, and consider bringing toilet paper too because there are no facilities of any kind out here (and also a plastic bag to pack out what you packed in). That's right, hiking rules are in play so also ready up on Hiking Safety & Essentials just to be, well, safe.

This is a neat place to see and if you are on Lana'i and have a rental car (4x4 only) it's worth the trip but don't expect anything beyond scenery because you won't find it here.