Puu Pehe, or Sweetheart Rock, is one of the most well-known attractions in Lanai. The 80-foot tall, triangular rock is a recognizable Lanai landmark and easy to find and visit. You can get a great view of the rock, coastline, and other nearby attractions by taking a short walk along a trail from beautiful Hulopoe Beach. With such an easy location, every visitor should try to incorporate it into his or her trip to Lanai.
The romantic—and tragic—legend behind the Puu Pehe Rock in Lanai explains why it is called Sweetheart Rock. As the old story goes, a long time ago, a young Lanai warrior captured and married a beautiful Maui princess named Puu Pehe. He was so struck by her beauty that he was afraid to let any other men near her, so he kept her in a sea cave near the rock. Unfortunately, one day, the weather suddenly turned violent and the warrior couldn't make it back to the cave in time to rescue Puu Pehe from drowning. Heartbroken and racked with grief, the husband climbed the rock with the help of the gods, buried Puu Pehe in a tomb at the top, and then committed suicide by jumping off the rock. The romance in the story, despite its sad ending, might make the site particularly appealing to those in Lanai for a wedding or honeymoon.
The story may be moving, but scientists disagree on some points. The archeologists who studied Sweetheart Rock have determined that there are no human remains at the site, but there are the bones of sea birds. Archeologists have guessed that the tomb may in fact be a bird heiau, a Hawaiian temple, built by ancient Hawaiians. As a side note, if you find historical and natural sites interesting, there are many other Lanai attractions worth checking out, including Shipwreck Beach, the Luahiwa petroglyphs, and Kaunolu Village.
It is easy to get a great view of Puu Pehe Rock in Lanai. The Sweetheart Rock is located about 150 feet off the coast, between Hulopoe Bay and Manele Bay, making it easy to see from near Hulopoe Beach. Take a short hike along the trail from Hulopoe Beach, passing tide pools, Sharks Cove, and a sea arch, and you will reach a beautiful overlook of the rock, with views of the coast, Hulopoe Beach, and the Four Seasons Manele Bay resort. The tomb-like structure on top the rock is easily visible.
A word of caution: While the heartbroken Lanai warrior may have been able to scale Sweetheart Rock with the help of the gods, modern-day mortals are advised not to try, as the extremely steep walls and dangerous waters below are a recipe for disaster to those who try to climb.
Close to popular Lanai attractions like Hulopoe Beach and Lanai hotels such as the Manele Bay Hotel, the Puu Pehe Rock in Lanai is a wonderful attraction to add to any list of things to do in Lanai. Knowing the romantic legend behind its name, the site may hold special draw for those in Lanai for a romantic event, but no matter what brings you to Lanai and with whom you are traveling, the Sweetheart Rock is a scenic attraction to visit and deserves a play on your list of things to do.