Tree Tunnel Kauai: All About This (Short!) Scenic Drive

Tree Tunnel Kauai
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > Tree Tunnel Kauai: All About This (Short!) Scenic Drive

Tree tunnel Kauai: have you ever experienced the wonder on this short stretch of road? Of course, Hawaii is full of scenic drives and gorgeous surroundings, but the tree tunnel feels extra special because it’s so easy to stumble upon. In fact, you may not even have heard of “the tree tunnel Kauai” – maybe you’ve simply experienced it without knowing how popular it is. 

What is the Tree Tunnel?

The Tree Tunnel is a 3-mile portion of Maluhia Road near Kauai’s south shore. More than 500 eucalyptus trees line the road, providing a dreamy, dappled setting for a relaxed cruise to Poipu. 

Some visitors flock to the tunnel because they read about it in a guidebook or saw it online. There is no signage or indication that you’ve arrived, and there is no place to pull over for photos or to take it all in. You simply drive on through and marvel at the beauty. That kind of adds to the magic, in our opinion. 

Eucalyptus Trees in Hawaii

Businessman and Pineapple baron Walter McBryde gifted 500 eucalyptus trees to the Kauai community in 1911. Today, that’s what you’ll see as you drive through the Kauai tree tunnel. However, some trees have been replaced, and many new ones have grown over the past century. 

Though Eucalyptus trees can look beautiful (and smell great), they shouldn’t really have a place in Hawaii’s landscape. Eucalyptus is an invasive species that was introduced to Kauai after deforestation wiped out the native tree population. The fast-growing eucalyptus seemed like a good solution at the time, but the trees reproduce quickly and aren’t valuable for lumber, so they quickly grew out of control. 

Not only that, but Eucalyptus trees also release a toxin that prevents plants from growing nearby, meaning that they not only crowd out native species but also can prevent their growth in any surrounding areas (especially as rain runoff spreads the toxin to nearby soils). 

It’s still ok to admire the beauty of the Kauai tree tunnel, but it’s also great to understand what you’re looking at as you drive through this popular and beautiful roadway. 

A Drive Through The Kauai Tree Tunnel

Eucalyptus trees on Kauai

I recently drove through the famous Kauai tree tunnel on our way into Lihue (as a passenger; not the driver!) I couldn’t help but let my eyes wander through the treetop canopies. How beautiful to see the different shades of blue sky peek through the branches. It was almost as if they had been heavy into a two-step.

Daydreaming, I traced the shadows with my eyes. I just love seeing the dark spots on the roadway and tree trunks, as they change shapes. It is almost like watching the clouds blow through and guessing which shapes they make.

Typically, driving through the Kauai tree tunnel will take no more than a couple of minutes. That’s plenty of time to get your own video or snap a few pictures (as long as you’re also the passenger; not the driver!). 

If you’re headed from Koloa town, the tunnel leads you right onto the main two-lane highway toward Lihue. Otherwise, both ways through the tunnel are just as fascinating.

At night, however, it can be a bit tricky because there are no lights whatsoever. You have to really rely on the lines on the road for guidance; just be careful not to drive too fast. There are some sharp bends in the road that come up pretty quickly. 

Cruise through the Kauai Tree Tunnel during a full moon night, and you’ll be in for a treat!

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