Molokaʻi Forest Reserve

Difficult to visit, the Molokaʻi Forest Reserve should only be on the most intrepid traveler’s list. Those who venture there will be rewarded with a secluded, otherworldly experience.

Public access to the forest reserve is available via the western portion on Maunahui Road (also known as Molokaʻi Forest Reserve Road. The initial 5.5 miles of the road passes through pasture lands before reaching the forest reserve boundary.

Photo by Ed Suominen (

Inside the reserve, the road travels another 3.3 miles to the Lua Moku Iliahi (Sandalwood Measuring Pit). This site is a 75-foot-long boat-shaped pit dug out in the early 1800s when the sandalwood trade was flourishing. A mile further, you’ll reach the Waikolu Lookout, which overlooks the canyon and features a picnic area.

By the way, this is a dirt road and four-wheel-drive is required for access. (Or you can take it slower on a mountain bike, on a horse or by foot.) Stretches of the road are only periodically maintained, so there are sometimes when the road can’t reach Waikolu Lookout and other destinations at all by car. 

The sections of the forest reserve outside of this road are in extremely remote areas with little or no road or trail access.