Hundreds of thousands of people flock to Yellowstone National Park every year to gaze at the wonder of Old Faithful. The geyser has been going off every few minutes for the last century, and its stalwart reliability has earned the natural feature its nickname. Old Faithful shoots pressurized water a hundred feet into the air.
But did you know that you can have a similar experience on Maui at the Nakalele Blowhole?
Nakalele Blowhole is not as reliable as Old Faithful, but, when the conditions are right, the blowhole shoots pressurized water a hundred feet into the air, and it even leaves a rainbow in its fading mist. All in all, Nakalele Blowhole provides a much more beautiful scene than Old Faithful.
Nakalele Blowhole requires a lot of wind as well as a heavy northern swell. The pounding waves of the Pacific flood an old lava tube on Maui’s rocky northern coast, and, when the waves are powerful enough, it shoots a geyser of water out of a tire-size crack in the lava tube’s ceiling.
You can always check the surf report online before visiting the blowhole. After all, you don’t want to drive all the way up there on a day where the blowhole lays dormant due to a soft well. But you’re almost guaranteed to see some action during the wintertime when the waves are usually at their worst.
It’s best to visit the blowhole in the morning. Stand with your back to the sun, and you’re likely to see a rainbow in the geyser’s mist. And if you’re visiting between January and March, you’re likely to see whales breaching off in the deep beyond the blowhole. This is when humpback whales migrate from the colder waters of the world migrate to Hawaii in order to breed.
To stay safe around the blowhole, simply stand on dry rock along the blowhole’s lava shelf. This will ensure that the power of the geyser won’t touch you. And do not get near the tire-size opening. Tourists have been known to be sucked into the blowhole, and many of them have drowned. Simply enjoy the view, rainbow and whales from a safe distance.
From Kapalua, drive north for about eight miles looking for mile marker 38.5. This is where you’ll find a parking lot for the short trails that bring you down to the blowhole’s lava shelf. The trails criss cross each other, but each of them brings you down to the natural wonder.
And when you navigate down the scree to the blowhole, you’ll have an added treat. Keep the blowhole on your left and turn around towards the coast. You’ll see a tiny little natural rock arch carved into the lava rock, and it is in the shape of a heart.
You can use the heart arch to frame a picture of the tropical coast behind the rock wall, and, of course, it’s a great place to take a selfie. Who wouldn’t be jealous of a Hawaii social media pic on a beautiful tropical coastline with a heart-shaped rock arch in the background?
If you’re really into rock carvings, then you can maneuver up the coastline to get a glimpse of the blowhole’s lava tube at the edge of the sea. The lava tube looks like the mouth on a grumpy old man’s face, and the waves keep forcing him to inhale water which he shoots out of the top of his head.