Visiting the Nakalele Blowhole

June 9, 2021/Jonathan Rundle/0 Comments

For today’s totally Hawaiian activity, we’re visiting the Nakalele Blowhole! Tucked away on the Northwest Maui shoreline, this natural wonder attracts lots of foot traffic.

Whitney has her hiking shoes on and we’re ready to scale the steep path to the main attraction.

Nakalele Blowhole hike

Hiking to the Nakalele Blowhole

This ominous hand-made sign alerts you to the dangers that lie ahead. While some idiots have died because they fell into the blowhole or got knocked off a rock by a wave, most injuries will probably be of the twisted ankle variety.

Proceed with care, don’t do anything stupid and you’ll make it out alive.

Nakalele Blowhole danger sign

The wind on the north coast is usually pretty stiff. Looking back at the center of Maui, you’d think a big storm is brewing. But not to worry, while it may rain at the center of the island, the coastline stays pretty dry.

Nakalele Blowhole wind

You can see how the wind and splashing seawater pocks the rocks near the blowhole. While everyone is rightly focused on the blowhole, take a second to appreciate these interesting textures on your way to and from the Nakalele Blowhole.

Nakalele Blowhole rock formation

The hike is not particularly difficult or lengthy, it’s just steep. Take your time, wear good shoes, and keep a hand on a rock to steady yourself on the way up and down – and it will be easy enough to handle.

Hiking Nakalele Blowhole

The time required to get from the top parking area to the blowhole (3/4 mile) is probably only 15 minutes. Take your time!

Nakalele Blowhole hike

Don’t just run to the blowhole as fast as you can – the view from the path down is pretty great, too! Remember to take a second to watch the blowhole erupt from above.

Nakalele Blowhole

Into the spray

Again, the small handmade sign strongly suggests you stay on the dry rock to be safe. As you know, dear reader, I am a daredevil. So I will tread over some of the moist rock.

Nakalele Blowhole sign

How does it work?

There is a cavern below the blowhole. When the tide comes in (and the water level is high enough) each surging wave will fill the cavern with water. If there is too much water for the cavern, the rest of it pushes through the hole in the cavern roof and blasts upward to the delight of us observers.

When the blowhole is about to erupt, it makes a very distinct sound.  The air rushing out of the cavern precedes the water blast, so you’ll hear a rising whoosh sound then the water blast will follow shortly after.

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It’s really pretty delightful to see this thing pop off every few minutes. It’s all the excitement of a geyser without the unpredictability!

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Blast after blast. Nakalele Blowhole photo overload. Sorry!

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Nakalele Blowhole says “SPLOOSH!”

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Next, we’re hopping on a motorcycle to continue our tour of the northwestern part of the island. Some exciting, twisty roads lie ahead.

North Maui Coast

Visit the Nakalele Blowhole

The blowhole is completely free to visit. The parking area could get pretty cramped since there are not a lot of spots. You might have to park along the road and walk a little more than you expected if it’s busy.

I advise you to review the tide chart and go when the tide is high for the best blowhole experience.

If you’re considering driving past the blowhole – the road gets down to one lane for extended periods of time. I think it’s dicier than the Road to Hana, to be honest.

We’re here on Maui during Covid – and this is a great excursion to get outside in a breezy environment. To read more about what we were up to during our visit to Maui, visit this blog post.

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