Hawaii May 16, 2017
The Breathtaking Garden Of The Gods You’ll Only Find In Hawaii
From otherworldly volcanic craters located high above sea level to stunning white sand beaches that seem to stretch for miles, the Hawaiian Islands are home to endless magnificent landscapes. Even on Hawaii’s smaller islands – like Lanai, which measures in at only 141 square miles – you’ll find countless incredible vistas. Also known as the Pineapple Island, for its past as an island-wide pineapple plantation, Lanai is home to 3,100 residents, and an incredible landscape that will transport you to another world: Keahiakawelo.
Also known as Garden of the Gods, this otherworldly rock garden at the end of Polihua Road is located 45 minutes from Lanai City on a dirt path only advised for vehicles with four-wheel drive.
Garden of the Gods can only be described as barren: the land is vacant of trees, shrubs, flowers, or grass, and perhaps reminiscent of something you’d find on another planet.
What you will find, here, however, are countless boulders and rock towers scattered across the rich, red dirt - some as tall as six feet in height.
When Alexander Hume Ford visited the site in 1912 on assignment for Mid Pacific Magazine, he compared the site to Colorado’s Garden of the Gods, a nickname that has grown in popularity over time, but really doesn’t mean anything.
The site’s traditional Hawaiian name, Keahiakawelo, is representative of a storied and sacred landscape deeply rooted in Hawaiian history.
According to Hawaiian legend, the barren landscape is the result of a contest between two kahuna – priests – from Lanai and Molokai. They were challenged to keep a fire burning on their respective islands longer than the other. The winner’s island was thought to be rewarded with great abundance. Kawelo, the kahuna from Lanai, used all the vegetation found in Keahiakawelo to keep the fire burning – which is why the area is so barren.
There are countless other theories about this otherworldly landscape, though: some believe that the rocks were dropped here by the gods tending to their gardens, while others believe that the rocks house the spirits of ancient Hawaiian warriors.
Another legend states that the gods enjoyed creating art, and this magical spot is where they created their favorite sculptures. Rumor has it that they used powerful winds to sculpt each rock formation - perhaps explaining why the wind here is so powerful to this day, or why you won’t find any vegetation?
According to scientists, however, the legendary rock towers, spires, and formations were formed by centuries of erosion, and visitors should be aware that removing or stacking rocks is forbidden.
Theories aside, Garden of the Gods is easily one of the most beautiful spots on the island of Lanai - and certainly worthy of a visit, especially at sunrise or sunset. Located at an elevation of 1,600 feet, you’ll feel on top of the world here - and on a clear day, you might even be able to catch a glimpse of Molokai or Oahu on the horizon.
Have you ever visited Lanai’s Garden of the Gods? Did you feel as though
time stood still while you were there?