- Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens Type
- 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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When you think "Garden of the Gods," you expect lush vegetation – but not here. This barren site, also known as Keahiakawelo, hosts only strangely shaped boulders and dust. So why should you visit this apparent wasteland? First, the terrain's appearance is probably the closest you'll ever get to Mars. And second, at sunset, the orange light turns the rocks shades of fiery reds and bright purples. According to Hawaiian legend, the dry landscape occurred as a result of a challenge between two priests who were tasked with keeping a fire burning on their respective islands longer than the other. The winner would be bestowed with an abundance of vegetation. To keep up with his competitor, the Lanai priest used all of the existing vegetation to keep his fires burning, resulting in the parched land that exists today.
Recent visitors said the trek to Garden of the Gods is an adventurous drive, but worth it. Some reviewers suggested visiting after stopping at Polihua Beach since the two sites are within close proximity to one another. Travelers described the views as "surreal" and "amazing." What's more, on a clear day you'll be able to spot the islands of Molokai and Oahu.
The Garden of the Gods is about 6 miles northwest of Lanai City along Polihua Trail. Even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle to navigate the unpaved road, you should expect to travel about 45 minutes to reach the site. It is free to visit.