Garden of the Gods
approximately 7 miles outside of Lanai City
Lanai is the often forgotten and much more remote island in the Hawaiian archipelago. Consisting of a gigantic pineapple plantation for decades owned by Hawaii’s pineapple king James Dole, there is less development and fewer places to stay for visitors. But for tourists who want to get off the beaten path in Hawaii, Lanai offers a plethora of unique and interesting landscapes. One popular spot for tourists is the Garden of the Gods in North Central Lanai. The moon-like landscape of red and purple soil and interesting rock makes you feel like you are visiting another planet. The area got its name from the ancient Hawaiian people who thought the rock formations and boulders looked like they had been dropped from the sky by the gods tending their gardens. The unique formations were actually created by thousands of years or erosion, which created the rock pinnacles and buttes in the remote canyon area. The landscape gets an even more eerie feel by the dry wind the often blows through this area.
Garden of the Gods is particularly striking in the early morning and late evening light because of the way the light strikes the dynamic and colorful minerals in the rocks. Garden of the Gods is also located fairly close to the main city Lanai City (7 miles). The dirt road leading to the spot is rugged and requires a 4 wheel drive vehicle, though toad is well marked and fairly easy to follow. If you continue down this road it will also lead you to Ka’ena Point and Polihua Beach, so you stop by the Garden of Gods on your way to the other side of the island. Check weather reports and road conditions before setting out however, as recent rains can make the road unsafe.
Info/Tips for Visiting the Garden of the Gods:
- You MUST have a 4 wheel drive rental car to visit!
- Allow one hour round trip to make the 7-mile trip to Garden of the Gods as the road is rugged and can be slow-going
- Check weather and road conditions before setting out to make sure the road is open and safe for travel.
- The site is remote, so make sure the tank is full
- It can be hot and dry in this part of Lanai, so bring lots of water, and wear sunscreen and hats
- Bring snacks! There are no places to stop to get a bite to eat.
Take Highway 440 North out of Lanai City. You will pass the Lodge at Koele. A rock sign on the right side of the road points toward the Garden. Turn left here on Polihua Road between the tennis courts and the horse stables. Past the stables the road becomes dirt. Turn right at the next large “intersection” and continue north-west to the site.