Lanai_March_Garden of Gods 2With its car-sized boulders, red-earth landscape, and sweeping views of the coast, Keahiakawelo—or “Garden of the Gods”—is one of the most popular spots on Lanai to experience the island’s beauty.

That said, if you plan to visit Keahiakawelo, it’s important to know a couple of tips that will maximize the experience:

Most importantly, Keahiakawelo can only be reached if you have a 4WD vehicle. The road from here to Lanai City can often be rutted and rough, and the dust can gather in small patches to make soft spots difficult to cross.

Once you’ve secured a 4WD vehicle, expect to spend at least 30 minutes on the dusty drive from Lanai City. Be sure to watch out for Axis deer that are prevalent on this part of the island, as well as Mouflon sheep or turkeys that might scamper across the road.

Because there isn’t a single building once you leave Lanai City behind, be sure to stock up on water and snacks and make sure you have enough gas, before making the left at Koele Stables for the drive through the Palawai Basin.

If your main goal is to capture photos of the barren, arid moonscape, try to visit an hour before sunset when the fading light in the western sky turns the rocks a deep shade of red. You can also visit just after sunrise to capture the moody surroundings, and then continue on to Polihua Beach before the tradewinds pick up. If you do end up combining Keahiakawelo with a trip to Polihua Beach, allow an additional 30 minutes to reach the white sand shoreline.

When you first pull up to Keahiakawelo, it can be a little bit overwhelming to know exactly where to look. Rocks that seem to have rained from the sky are scattered in every direction, and the best thing to do is stop the car and simply set out on foot. While wandering the narrow, eroded gullies and scrambling over the boulders, you get a feel for how rugged and raw the landscape really is, and you’ll also find spots with sweeping views looking out toward Molokai in the distance.

Because the area is so enchanting, perhaps the best tip for visiting Keahiakawelo is to be sure you allow enough time.

If your main goal is to capture photos of the barren, arid moonscape, try to visit an hour before sunset when the fading light in the western sky turns the rocks a deep shade of red. You can also visit just after sunrise to capture the moody surroundings, and then continue on to Polihua Beach before the tradewinds pick up. If you do end up combining Keahiakawelo with a trip to Polihua Beach, allow an additional 30 minutes to reach the white sand shoreline.

Lanai_March_Garden of Gods 3

When you first pull up to Keahiakawelo, it can be a little bit overwhelming to know exactly where to look. Rocks that seem to have rained from the sky are scattered in every direction, and the best thing to do is stop the car and simply set out on foot. While wandering the narrow, eroded gullies and hiking past the boulders, you get a feel for how rugged and raw the landscape really is, and you’ll also find spots with sweeping views looking out toward Molokai in the distance. Please be respectful of this area, and do not stack, remove, or stand on rocks.

Because the area is so enchanting, perhaps the best tip for visiting Keahiakawelo is to be sure you allow enough time.