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Garden of the Gods, Keahikawelo

Keahikawelo , Hawaii
96763's insider take:

Nothing much grows in Keahikawelo (translated from Hawaiian as "Garden of the Gods"), a desert expanse of red, lavender, and brown dirt. But the spooky Martian barrenness makes a dramatic backdrop for volcanic rock pinnacles shaped by hundreds of years of wind erosion to resemble a rough-hewn tiki. You can walk between the formations, which are scattered around as if placed by a divine force, but be aware that this area is very isolated, and there's no shelter. Use common sense and bring lots of water. To get here, head northwest on Polihua Road from Lanai City. It's only about six miles, but the trip takes 25 minutes because the road is so bumpy, and if there's been rain, it will be muddy. Ask when you rent your jeep if anything is off-limits that day. Go slow for the sake of your kidneys, and look out for vehicles heading in the opposite direction. On the way, you'll drive through the Kanepuu Conservation Area, a native dry-land forest that's home to the endangered Hawaiian gardenia. There's a small sign by the side of the road to mark the beginning of a short self-guided trail. Afterward, you can hike or drive another four miles to two-mile-long, white-sand Polihua Beach, or Kaena Point, an ancient Hawaiian religious site located about a mile southwest of Polihua.

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