Keahiakawelo, also known as the Garden of the Gods, is undoubtedly one of the most popular attractions in Lanai. Keahiakawelo is a beautiful historic Lanai rock formation that was sculpted over the course of hundreds of years by forces of erosion. As one of Lanai's most impressive and stunning natural attractions, the Garden of the Gods in Lanai is a necessary stop for every Lanai vacation.
The Garden of the Gods in Lanai is filled with contorted shapes, each one strange and unique. The rock garden's various towers and spires look like something from another planet, especially when the sun sets at the end of the day and casts an eerie orange glow over the rocky landscape. In the windy and dry environment, with the rocks and ground painted in reds, purples, and oranges, it's easy to imagine yourself on Mars. Morning is another particularly good time to visit this historic Lanai rock formation in order to see the landscape in its richest colors. This unique rocky landscape presents a different dimension of Lanai's beauty than what is demonstrated by the Lanai beaches. For yet another look at the multifaceted environment of the island, try visiting the Kanepuu Preserve.
There are different Hawaiian legends in Lanai history that explain the creation of Garden of the Gods in Lanai. One says that it was a competition between two kahuna (Hawaiian priests) of the islands of Molokai and Lanai that created this desolate landscape. Whoever could keep a fire burning on their island longer than the other would earn a great abundance for his island. The Lanai kahuna supposedly stoked his fire with every little piece of plant in Keahiakawelo, resulting in the environment you see now. According to another ancient legend, the rocks here were dropped by gods tending to their gardens in the sky, thus resulting in the name of Garden of the Gods.
Contrary to first legend's suggestion, the Lanai kahuna's use of the Keahiakawelo vegetation to feed his fire did not result in a totally barren landscape today. There are still some small plants, and these attract Axis deer and mouflon, a type of sheep, which are wild animals that have had disastrous effects on the small plant populations on Lanai and which are also popular targets of hunters.
This historic Lanai rock formation is located in a remote canyon part of the island, approximately seven miles from Lanai City, at the end of Polihua Road. However, the road requires four-wheel drive, and it will take around a half an hour to get from Lanai City to the site by car. Because of the vehicle requirements, be sure to take this attraction into consideration when booking your transportation and car rentals in Lanai.
Be sure to squeeze a visit to Garden of the Gods onto your list of things to do in Lanai if you can. A visit to this unique historic Lanai rock formation is a great treat, and it is refreshing and interesting to see an environment so different from that on other parts of the island.