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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Getting to Know Hawaii: Dragon's Teeth Lava

The Need to Knows:
  • Dragon's Teeth Lava can be found at the intersection of Office Road and Lower Honoapiilani Road, Lahaina, HI, 96761.  Its exact location is here:
  • There is no cost to park or to visit Dragon's Teeth Lava.
  • I'd definitely recommend wearing sturdy shoes since it's rocky and uneven terrain.
  • There are no restroom facilities here.
  • There is also no shade, so wear your sunscreen and bring your water.  You'll need it!
On a recent weekend getaway to the island of Maui, Mr. L and I had a little time to kill, so we decided to check out a place we'd read about in our handy dandy Maui Revealed book (which I highly recommend!) called Dragon's Teeth Lava.  Now, it's pretty obvious what you're in for when you go to check out this place -- lava formations.  Given that Mr. L and I both are pretty serious geology nerds (I absolutely loved my geology courses in college) we knew that this would be right up our alley!  Also, sidenote: I was brilliant and left my DSLR back at the hotel, so you all get to suffer through cell phone pictures!  Sorry!

The parking lot for this area is super easy to find, and to get to the trail head, just go to the end of the parking lot where two large plaques have been placed and where you also happen to see this view:

From here, just follow that well worn path near those small signs (they warn you to stay off the golf course) and also keep in mind that the area to your right is a sacred Hawaiian burial ground, which you are also not allowed to be on.  So basically, if you just stick to the path, you'll be fine.

Pathway with the lava formations to the left, right above the golf cart

After a short five-minute walk or so, you make it to the rocky coastline and you get some pretty nice views for your very minimal effort.

Keep walking to the left and you'll finally understand just why this lava is named Dragon's Teeth.

The lava, located here on Makaluapuna Point, was from one of the last flows on Maui and was much denser, lighter, and fine-grained than other typical flows around the island.  As this lava made its slow descent from the West Maui Volcano, the wind and ocean waves swept the lava into a sharp, jagged, upward position reminiscent of a row of dragon's teeth.

There were so many different kinds of lava formations that I had difficulty taking pictures of them all.  They were so interesting and fascinating and I probably could have spent much more time here than we actually did admiring the awesome handiwork of nature.

Collage of just a handful of formations we saw
This area reminded me of other peaceful coastline stops on Oahu like Laie Point and Spitting Caves.  You really could spend a nice afternoon here listening to the waves crash against the rocks and have the wind blowing in your face.  Rocky coastlines like these are some of my favorite parts of Hawaii.  They're just so ruggedly beautiful.

After walking around the teeth lava for a bit, we headed farther along the coast until we came across this really interesting "crop circle":

I honestly am not sure what it is or where it came from, but I'm really anxious to find out!  From this spot you also have a fantastic view of the island of Molokai.  I love how the clouds gather around the tops of the islands -- gorgeous!

After probably a good hour of exploring, Mr. L and I decided we should finally leave and grab a bite to eat.  We really did love this little gem though, and if we ever find ourselves back on Maui and in this area, we'll for sure head here again and this time I will be remembering my DSLR!  ;)

Are you a fan of lava formations and rocky coastlines?

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