Steep slopes dotted with boulders ejected from old volcanic eruptions meet a wild ocean, rough and deep. Wave after churning wave crashes into Maui with all the strength gained since leaving the stormy waters of the north Pacific. The road is narrow, carved into the side of cliffs and filled with potholes and loose gravel. There are no resorts and not many houses. This is the old Maui, beautiful and less forgiving than the long sunny beaches of the south side.
One of the best ways to experience the north shore of the West Maui Mountains is to visit Nakalele Point. Most people make this journey to see the Nakalele Blowhole, a lava tube that shoots water more than forty feet in the air when the waves are just right. But even if the ocean is not cooperating, Nakalele Point offers unique lava formations and gorgeous views without having to put in a lot of physical effort.
There are two ways to explore Nakalele Point. If you are looking for a short thirty to forty minute hike - a good idea if you plan on driving all the way around the West Maui Mountains and want to stretch your legs - park at the small parking lot just past mile marker 38 on Honoapi'ilani Highway (Highway 30).* Hike along the old jeep road that leads toward shore. You will pass sea arches, calm pools carved into the soft lava rock, and the Nakalele light beacon. Just after the beacon you will see a small blowhole. This is not the Nakalele Blowhole. Keep walking through twisted lava formations for another twenty minutes or so until you reach the real blowhole.
If you don't feel like hiking, continue driving along Honoapi'ilani Highway (Highway 30) until you see the parking lot a half mile past mile marker 38. Walk toward the ocean. There is a gorgeous lookout from which to view the blowhole. You can also follow the well worn path 200 feet down the hill to the blowhole itself.
Note: If some members of your group want to hike and others don't, this is a great place to make everyone happy. Drop hikers off at the first parking lot. They can hike to the blowhole and then climb the 200 feet back up to the second parking lot to meet the rest of the group. If you want to get close to the blowhole, plan on getting wet.
*Driving directions assume you are coming from Kapalua.