Time: <1 HOUR
Distance: ~1 MILE
Elevation Gain: 50 FEET
Foot Traffic: MODERATE
Challenges: Some uneven footing
Sights: Sweetheart Rock, Hulopo'e Beach, Maui, Kaho'olawe
What to Bring: Nothing necessary
The iconic landmark of Lana'i, Pu'u Pehe AKA "Sweetheart Rock" is a short little hike with absolutely stunning views. It's a quick stroll from Hulopo'e Beach and the Four Seasons Hotel, doable in even slippers. The views of the Lana'i coast, Maui, and Kaho'olawe are beautiful, especially during sunrise or sunset. This is a must see if you visit the island of Lana'i.
After spending half a day hiking the Koloiki Ridge trail and exploring Lana'i City, Danielle and I checked into our room at the Four Seasons. That hotel is by far the nicest place I have ever stayed, with all the amenities you could ever need (and plenty you do not need). But more on that in a different post. One of the best perks of that hotel is its proximity to Pu'u Pehe better known as Sweetheart Rock. I knew I wanted to do this hike, but I had not expected to be so stunned by its beauty. Danielle and I enjoyed it so much we ended up hiking it twice! So this post covers our sunrise and sunset experience at Pu'u Pehe.
Probably unnecessary, but here's a sketch of the hike. For those staying at the Four Seasons, you will have to walk across that beach, called Hulopo'e Beach. If you are just here for the hike, you can park in the beach parking lot.
Speaking of Hulopo'e Beach, here it is. I'm more of a mountain man than a beach guy, but I loved this beach. The sand was so soft, your feet sank in a few inches with every step. The waves crashed harshly next to the shore, giving that soothing ocean sound. And most importantly, it wasn't crowded!
A morning shot looking back at the Four Seasons.
Now on to the "trail." As you can see there's not much to it, hiking it in slippers (sandals) is very doable.
This is about as rough as the terrain gets.
And within no time, you will have reached a viewpoint of Sweetheart Rock. The legend goes, a man named Makakehau from Lanai, met a beautiful maiden named Pehe from Lahaina. He was so enamored with her, he brought her back here where he hid her in one of the Sea caves.
One day, while Makakehau was out gathering supplies, a storm rolled in, swept Pehe out to sea, and she drowned. Upon discovering this, Makakehau called on the gods to allow him to climb the 80 foot rock where he buried her. He then leapt from the rock into the ocean.
Whether you find that story romantic or not, it's hard to deny the beauty of this place. Many people will stop at this point to get a glimpse of the rock and turn around. But there's a few other places to explore.
Such as going down to sea level. It's a little bit tricky to get down there. Wearing slippers and having a camera in one hand made it even harder.
But the view down here was worth the struggle. There's a few "caves" down here (more like indents in the rock) that would make for a great natural frame of Pu'u Pehe. Unfortunately, my camera lens was not wide enough to capture it.
However, I did find this little puka during our sunrise hike that beautifully framed Lanai's southern coast.
The other place to explore is the lookout across from Sweetheart Rock. This picture was clearly an afterthought, but it shows that it's a pretty easy ascent to the top.
And here we are. This spot was amazing. Sitting 80 feet above the ocean as the blue water crashed against the rock below you, all while watching a beautiful sunset or sunrise. Sweetheart Rock really had it all.
And it was even more stunning from the sky. This picture captures Lanai's beautiful cliffs as well as the island of Maui in the background.
And this shot, taken in the morning looking west down the coast. This rock was absolutely stunning.
And what was even more amazing, we were completely alone up at the lookout. Not a soul around but us. Both for this sunrise.
And this sunset. My entire trip to Lana'i was a blast, but there was definitely something magical about being alone up on this little rock. It's a special experience I won't soon forget.
Check out my drone video of this beautiful place!
Enjoy this post? Leave a comment below!
Also Check Out:
-Go Hawaii's post about Pu'u Pehe's history