Nakalele Blowhole is one of those secluded spots that lure you in. Occurring in a few different locations among the Hawaiian islands, a blowhole is essentially an underwater ocean cave with an opening to the rocks above. When a surge of water or a wave crashes into the cave, it sends a spout of water spewing up from the hole, sometimes (at Nakalele) as high as 50+ feet into the air.
The hike down to the blowhole varies depending on where you park, but it’s relatively short and moderately easy if you’re surefooted. The sharp, jagged lava rocks can be very challenging for those with impaired mobility. It’s worth taking some time to explore the so-called “Acid War Zone” of wind and sea-carved rock formations along the way, which lend the rocky cliff line an otherworldly acid-scorched feel. At one point on the Acid War Zone trail, the “heart-shaped rock” (actually a heart-shaped hole in the rocks) is a favorite photo spot for couples.
The Nakalele Blowhole isn’t an official tourist attraction; it’s primarily a wild stretch of the cliff line, with no lifeguards or waiting for rescue helicopters in sight. It’s smart to observe the blowhole area for a while before hiking down, getting a feel for the rhythm of the waves and where they’re hitting on the rocks. More than one incautious visitor (both tourists and locals alike) has been swept into the ocean and drowned because they were unaware of rogue waves washing up in this area. Pay attention to which rocks are wet, plan for terrain to be slippery, and use the utmost caution when exploring this area.
It’s also wise to give the blowhole itself a wide berth while you explore. You won’t find any fences or signs warning visitors away from Nakalele Blowhole’s edges, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to peek in. Careless visitors have fallen or been sucked into the blowhole before, never to come back out. Keep children close while you admire the awe-inspiring scenery!
How To Get There:
The Nakalele Blowhole is located on Maui’s north shore, a short but winding drive up the road from Ka’anapali. Thanks to the twisting, winding nature of Highway 340 and the sometimes-clogged traffic, plan to spend more time than expected on the road. The parking areas are located directly off of the main road where the blowhole is located. The walk from the parking areas down to the blowhole is a fairly short 10- or 15- minute walk.
-Many visitors report that approaching the Nakalele Blowhole from the Acid Trail Marker and parking area at Mile Marker 38 is more scenic and impressive than approaching from the closer parking spot (at Mile Marker 38.5). Both trails take most visitors just 15 minutes or less to traverse.
-The steep trail is rugged and can be slippery at times; this isn’t a walk you’d want to take in flip-flops. It’s smart to wear sturdy shoes with good tread when you visit.