Hiking in Lanai is almost a necessity due to the fact that there is only 30 miles of paved roads. Hiking is also the best way to see Lanai’s plants, wildlife and picturesque views. There are a few really nice trails to choose from depending on the type of scenery you are looking for and the trail difficulty. Some of the best trails are listed below:
1. Munro Trail
The Munro trail is one of the most challenging hiking trails you will find while hiking in Lanai. In 1890 George Munro came to Lanai from New Zealand. He converted the island’s sheep ranches into cattle ranches. He brought with him a Norfolk Pine and planted it on the ranch. He soon noticed how the pine collected water from the mist and produced almost 20% more water per year. He planted Norfolk Pines throughout the area to help to produce more water for the ranch. He also helped protect and preserve this area’s rare and endangered plant life. The trail was named for him. This is a long tough trail that is uphill to the top of Mt. Lanai hale (3366 feet). The Munro Trail begins at the Lanai cemetery and continues up through the lower hills and through the Lanaihale rainforest. There are various lookouts along the trail that offer beautiful vistas. When you reach the summit, if it is a really clear day, you will be on the only place in the Hawaiian Islands where you can see five other islands. You can see Oahu in the distance, Molokai, Maui, Kahoolawe and the peaks of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the big island of Hawaii. The hike takes about 8 hours, but you can shorten it by taking a four wheel drive part of the way. Remember to take sunscreen and water.
2. Koele Nature Hike
When Hiking in Lanai, the Koele Nature Hike is a really nice hike and much easier than the Munro trail. This hike takes about three hours traveling at a leisurely pace. The hike starts at Koele lodge and a free trail map is available at the front desk. The hike is a five mile loop and is best in the morning before clouds and rain roll in. You will hike through Norfolk pines, wild ginger, orchids and into the Hulopoe Valley. The trail continues up to the Koloiki ridge, where you will want to photograph the beautiful panoramic view of Maunalei valley. You can also spot Molokai and Maui in the distance. Make sure take sunscreen and water.
Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods) is a very different hike because there is very little or no vegetation along the way. This is a rock garden. (No, the ultimate rock garden). The large boulders that have been here eroding for thousands of years vary in colors (reds, oranges, yellows, browns and purples). The rocks that have been formed through erosion for thousands of years are lying in such a fashion that it looks like somebody purposely placed them here in a perfect balance. Some are stacked as if a huge giant stacked them for a particular purpose. Ancient Hawaiians believed that these rocks fell from the Gods gardens in the sky. That is how it got it’s name. At the far end of the garden you can see Maui and Molokai in a distance over the Pacific Ocean. The road leading to the garden is a dirt road and can only be accessed by a four wheel vehicle or by hiking.
4. Kiaholia - Kahue
Kaiholia-Kahue (shipwreck Beach) is another place that can be reached by a four wheel vehicle or by hiking. This beach is located on the northeast side of the island. The beach is strewn with all sorts of things that have washed ashore. The beach got it’s name from the remains of a World War II era ship “Liberty” that is stuck in the coral just offshore. The remains of an old lighthouse can also be seen in this area. This is a good place to find beach glass and abandoned glass fishing floats that have washed ashore.
5. Kanepu’u Reserve.
When hiking in Lanai, Kanepu’u Reserve is a short 10 to 15 minute self guided nature trail that has stations throughout the walk that gives the historical importance of the particular tree or plant that you are viewing. This area is a preserve that shows exactly what Lanai looked like hundreds of years ago. This is a nice stop along the way to the Garden of the Gods.
Whatever hike you decide to take, remember sunscreen, plenty of water and please let somebody know where you will be hiking in Lanai and how long you plan to be gone. Have a great hike!
Copyright 2007 Discover-Oahu.com