Cruising down the sole highway on Kaua‘i you will grow accustomed to incredible scenery, panoramic vistas, and incredible views. Rolling hills give way to craggy peaks, which in turn fade away to reveal pocket beaches, sweeping coastlines, and plush forests stretching to the horizon. As you travels take you to southern Kaua‘i, you will come across something else entirely: a tree tunnel in Kauai unlike any other.
The Tree Tunnel in Kauai Hawaii
Immortalized in postcards, photographs, and travel brochures around the world, the famous “Kaua‘i Tree Tunnel” is the unofficial gateway to southern Kaua‘i and its beautiful beaches. Consisting of over 500 stately eucalyptus trees lining either side of the road, the tree tunnel in Kauai Hawaii is a natural formation as the trees blossomed and grew to link their branched canopies across the narrow highway. No matter where you pause to take in the view, the tunnel gives an illusion of continuing on to infinity, the green branches swaying and beckoning the weary traveler to adventures untold.
A Scenic Drive
The first 500 trees were planted along Maluhia Road in 1911, a gift from pineapple baron Walter McBryde (he had them leftover after a landscaping project at his estate, the grounds of which are now the Kukuiolono Park and Golf Course). The trees thrived and the tunnel was born. Today, the first mile of Maluhia Road – now also known as highway 520 – creates a stunning visual gateway to the South Shore towns of Koloa and Poipu.
Surviving the Times
The majority of the trees suffered severe wind damage during Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Gusts of up to 225 mph stripped the canopy of its leaves, leaving only bare branches. Fortunately, the tunnel survived the worst of it, and the majority of the trees have recovered, with the canopy forming the tree tunnel in Kauai is mostly restored to its normal state of verdant green.
To get to the Tree Tunnel in Kauai Hawaii, take Highway 50 south from Līhu‘e. As the road cuts through the interior mountains, just before Kalaheo, Highway 520 turns off to the left to head south to Koloa (and Poipu beyond). Cruise through the tunnel and soak in the beautiful, peaceful scenery, but take care if you decide to park and stop for photographs as there are limited places to safely pull over.