Established in 1973, Āhihi-Kīnau Natural Area Reserve includes a coastal lava field and surrounding waters on the southwest coast of the island of Maui, Hawaii. It consists of 1238acre on land and 807acre of ocean along of Maui's southwestern coastline. The reserve includes several popular snorkeling/diving sites and many cultural and geologic sites as well as habitat for numerous rare and endangered species.Take a look at our Maui road trip planner to schedule your visit to Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
The reserve is located at the end of Makena Road, south of Makena State Park and north of La Perouse Bay at.
Annual rainfall ranges from 15in along the coast, to 24in along the mauka boundary. There is distinct seasonal variability in rainfall, with much of the precipitation from winter storms. The highest point in the reserve is Kalua O Lapa at 520ft. The deepest water is 115ft. Solar radiation here is among the highest in the State. The dark color of the lava absorbs solar radiation creating warmer conditions within the reserve than in surrounding areas .
From north to south, the reserve spans four ahupuaa (land division extending from the uplands into the sea). These are Onau, Kanahena, Kualapa, and Kalihi. The reserve was named for the land and sea around the lava flow named Cape Kīnau at the southern end of Āhihi Bay.
The reserve's land boundary was specifically designed to encompass the young rugged lava flows on Haleakala volcano’s southwest rift zone. Much of the reserve is barren, rough and jagged aa lava with some smooth pahoehoe lava fed by the Kalua O Lapa cinder cone. These lava flows form Cape Kīnau and coat the adjacent sea floor. Also within the reserve is the coastal part of an older, similar sequence of lava flows northwest of Kalua O Lapa. This older sequence, the Kanahena flows, erupted from an unnamed fissure at about 1400ft altitude.
Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve Reviews
This Natural Reserve is an amazing area with old lava flows. There’s a large protected section that you’re not allowed to do more than drive through, but the scenery is beautiful! At the end of the ro... more »
This is at the end of the road! We rode bikes here. Lots of lava. The beach is lava/rocky. Did not snorkel, but lots of people were. The last mile of road is quite rough. Great vista. more »
Beautiful! Make sure you wear eco friendly sun tan lotion so it protects the reefs. There are cameras in the parking lot for added security and we were met with a very friendly and knowledgeable volunteer who had maps.
Protect the marine life. Pay attention to the sign. Only enter and exist water from the small Patch black sandy area with a sign. Best snorkeling place in the world!
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