Around the West Maui Mountains, along the Kahekili Highway (30), there are always good views and some worthwhile stops, such as the town of Lahaina. If you have the time, you should plan a half or full day trip along here. Between short hikes or snorkeling tours, you can take relaxing breaks at the beautiful beaches and resorts.
For many who travel on the Kahekili Highway, the destination of their tour is the Nakalele Blowhole. A hole in a lava bank very close to the sea, through which water shoots explosively into the air.
Good to know
- The Nakalele Blowhole gives the impression of a geyser. Strictly speaking, however, it is not. It is salty seawater that is thrown up through the rock formations.
- The fountain can grow up to 20 meters high. Or, at low tide, it can be rather puny. The hole has a diameter of three feet (not quite one meter).
- Caution. Of course, this is not a place for swimming. But even beyond that, you should be super careful, always keep a good distance from the lava banks, never stand between the blowhole and the ocean, and generally always have the ocean in view. As some signs also clearly state, "you can be killed!". The warning really doesn't come from nowhere. People have already had fatal accidents, because the waves down here can become surprisingly dangerous and sweep you away.
Well paved, with stopping bays and parking lots for the short stops, it goes in a clockwise direction, for example starting from Maalea, along Highway 30. The further north you go, the more the coastal road winds. Driving with foresight is recommended here. The parking lot to the blowhole is located between mile markers 38 and 39, directly at the roadside after a left turn.
If you can't find a free parking space here, you should definitely not stand anywhere along the narrow road. Rather continue to explore the coast - on the way back you will certainly have more luck.
After visiting the Nakalele Blowhole (or the Ohai Loop Trail), you have to decide whether to turn around or go north around the island.
Highway 30 now becomes Highway 340, and it's a tough one. The road is often single lane and very narrow, hardly visible and in generally bad shape. The way back, counterclockwise, is more recommended.
Hike and equipment
Already from the top you have a good view of the blowhole. From the parking lot (at MamaLei's food truck) you can walk a few meters towards the sea and get your bearings first. But the short hike down is really recommended. Only here you feel the power of the surf. The path is stony and partly very steep, with flip flops it is no fun. For the way to the "Geysir" and back you should plan 30 minutes.
If you are looking for the heart shaped rock, you will unfortunately be disappointed. Since 2020, this rock formation, a popular photo motif that could be easily seen from the Nakalele Blowhole, has been destroyed. The surf has broken the heart.
By the way: Even if the blowhole is not that exciting because of low tide, it's still worth a trip here. A few miles away, for example, there's another good, just over a mile long loop trail along this great coast: the Ohai Loop Trail. The trail is super developed, diverse, offers fantastic views and the possibility to watch birds (and with a lot of luck even humpback whales).