Lanai’s Garden of the Gods (Keahiakawelo)


Keahiakawelo, the garden of the gods, is an area in central Lanai that has amazing rock formations.  The area is accessible by four-wheel drive vehicle only.  The approach to the garden of the gods is dramatic. For miles you see shrubs, grasses, and bits of red dirt.  Then all of the sudden, there are hundreds of rounded rocks and very little vegetation.  The rocks are scattered about as if there had been a storm that rained rocks.

Go Hawaii tells us the Hawaiian lore of the garden of the gods:

[T]his barren landscape is the result of a contest between two kahuna (priests) of Lanai and Molokai. 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 a great abundance. The Lanai kahuna, Kewelo, used every piece of vegetation in Keahikawelo to keep his fire burning, which is why this area is so barren today.


If you are going, here are some tips:

  • Keahiakawelo is a windy area so hold onto your hats when you’re here.
  • Be sure and walk around and try to get to a high point where you can see a great view of Molokai.  On a clear day, you might be able to see Oahu as well.
  • Don’t move or stack any stones.
  • Take notice of all the colors you can see.  I was surprised to see some purple hues.
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