Garden Of The Gods / Keahiakawelo

5 stars from 8 reviews
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.

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

Matt Anderson's Take
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.
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Matt Anderson
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Matt A
Joined: Feb 2013
Reviews: 790
Likes Received: 106
A pretty amazing place to see and the journey is part of the adventure. Go slow and take it easy and enjoy the trip there and back. Sure, it's just a rock garden but it's probably the most spectacular rock garden you'll ever see.
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Brett D
Joined: Mar 2017
Reviews: 56
Likes Received: 1
While vacationing here we decided to rent a 4x4 and check out the Garden of the Gods. Didn't think to much about it as it looked like it was going to be nothing but just a lot of rocks, but once we go there I was awestruck, the rocks were fantastic. I took so many pictures of the scenery and loved the feeling of being in a place of isolation almost like we were the only ones left on earth. It can be a little rough of a ride but well worth it.
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Kim S
Joined: Oct 2016
Reviews: 10
Likes Received: 0
I guess I can't review Lanai as a whole so I will review via 1/2 day trip from Maui via Trilogy Excursions. This was not a cheap trip by any means. $500 for 3 people but it was a worthwhile experience. The Trilogy ferry trip was 50 minutes each way. No commentary or conversation from the crew; simply transport. It was a relatively smooth trip, though my son did get a little seasick. I chose to ride outside, where I can see the scenery to keep my mind occupied and less inclined to notice the waves.

We chose the 1/2 day Trekker excursion. This is the ferry to the island, where you are met by a guide in a 4x4 and taken to various sites around the island. Depending on how many people are in your group, the sites may vary. My son was very interested in the history of the island and what will happen to it now that it has been nearly bought out by the CEO of Oracle.

Our guide was a native Lanaian who went by Uncle Tommy. We got a little more history than requested as he showed us his old home and an area called "Snob Hill" which took time into our other stops. We didn't really get to see much of Shipwreck Beach because of the delays but it was interesting nonetheless.

Garden of the Gods was awesome and worth the trip in itself. We had to laugh at all the tourists who thought they would save a buck by renting their own 4x4 and do the tour themselves. Most of them were up to their axles in red sand and needed to be pulled out. So much for saving a little. Another stop was the new Four Seasons Hotel, which is a big part of the Island's new ownership and is actually a good thing for it's people. Honestly, Garden of the Gods was so awesome that if I return, I may try renting my own 4x4 so I can spend a little time hiking there. From what the tour guide told us, whenever a scene in Hawaii Five-0 requires a remote setting, the crew often heads to Lanai. With the exception of the massive hotels, it is an island more or less lost in time.
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Sue K
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 196
Likes Received: 9
I loved The Garden of the Gods! We hired a jeep and hit the red dirt track leading us to this amazing spot. The stunning, desolate landscape is wild and windswept. You can see Maui on the horizon. The boulders and rock formations are cool and the colors unbelievable. We had the place to ourselves, which made it even more special. Definitely worth the bumpy journey.
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Teresa a
Joined: Jul 2016
Reviews: 10
Likes Received: 0
Look for the stables and then get on the dirt track to Garden of the Gods. It's a fun, bumpy drive there and we had the whole place to ourselves. With views of Maui, the rocks of all shapes and sizes formed the landscape. It had the feel of being on the moon with the exception of the blue skies. Fabulous.
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Dawn G
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 26
Likes Received: 0
If you are on Lanai this is something you really should take the time to do. It's a quick drive through sort of thing once you're there. It does feel other-worldly and is a cool backdrop for photographs. As others have mentioned it's a bit of a long drive on a two-track road but getting there is half the fun.
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Dewei T
Joined: Aug 2015
Reviews: 20
Likes Received: 0
It's basically the closest I'll ever get to Mars! What a neat place to see. Very windy out here and no bathrooms for a long, long way. See what I'm getting at here? Mind the direction of the wind if you have to empty your bladder out here! The ride here is pretty long and bumpy but also tons of fun. Gas up and bring food and water for sure.
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Morosam
Joined: Apr 2015
Reviews: 21
Likes Received: 1
One of the most amazing places to see in my opinion. It's like entering another world. The views here are just incredible in every direction. It's a bumpy trail getting here so rent a Jeep, put it into 4 wheel drive, and blaze a trail.
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