There’s a scaled beast that calls Maui it’s home, the dragon at Kapalua.
The Dragon’s Teeth rock formation is a natural wonder, a rugged demonstration of the power of nature.
Visiting the Dragon’s Teeth may not be as dangerous as seeing an actual dragon, but there are still a few things all travelers need to be aware of.
Read this guide for everything you need to know before you go.
What Are The Dragon’s Teeth?
Jagged and bleached white, the Dragon’s Teeth jut out of the ground at sharp angles. Ringing the outer edges of Makaluapuna point, it looks like the open jaw of a waiting dragon.
Of course, as snakes were never native to Hawaii, neither were dragons, and the Dragon’s Teeth are instead an incredible natural creation, formed when the Haleakalā volcano was active.
As molten lava crept towards the ocean, strong currents and forceful winds fought to halt its path. The lava, which was lighter, denser, and finely grained compared to the lava elsewhere, found itself pushed back onto the shore. Eventually, it hardened into these jagged upward points.
Once black, salt water has since bleached the lava pale. The Dragon’s Teeth lava flow was one of the last lava flows on the island, so the site is quite unique.
Although the lava no longer flows, on breezy days visitors can still see the force of the ocean’s current. Waves will crash against the teeth, make it look as if the dragon is frothing at the mouth.
How Do You Get To The Dragon’s Teeth?
The Dragon’s Teeth is an easy-to-access site, located not far from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Kapalua. An alternative name for the Dragon’s Teeth is Makaluapuna Point.
- To get to the Dragon’s Teeth in Kapalua, follow Honoapiilani Highway northeast. Once you reach mile marker 30, take a left turn onto Office Road. Follow Office Road until the end, where there’s a right turning and a small parking lot. Park here.
- From the parking lot, an easy-to-follow trail can be found through a break in the trees. This will lead you to the Dragon’s Teeth. To the right is a large hedgerow.
- This marks the boundary of the Honokahua burial site, an ancient religious site of the native Hawaiian people. Visitors are asked to be respectful, and to stay out of this area. Look for a sign explaining the significance of the land.
- Follow the trail, and you’ll find yourself walking past a golf course. Once you reach the end of the golf course, you’ll be at Dragon’s Teeth. The jaw-like formation is easy to spot.
What To Do At The Dragon’s Teeth
The Dragon’s Teeth are a fantastic place for photos, thanks not just to the teeth but the incredible view of Moloka’i island. During the daylight, you can appreciate the intricacy of the Dragon’s Teeth, but it’s also a good spot to watch the sunrise or the sunset.
Peer carefully over the edge, and you might be able to spot some honu: Hawaiian green sea turtles. During the winter months, humpback whales have also been seen in the area.
Once you’ve taken in the Dragon’s Teeth, walk further along to discover the Kapalua labyrinth. This is a place for prayer and quiet contemplation.
Dragon’s Teeth is close to two fantastic beaches: D.T Fleming Beach Park, and Oneloa Beach.
Are The Dragon’s Teeth In Kapalua Safe To Visit?
As a popular tourist destination, the path to the Dragon’s Teeth at Kapalua is well maintained. However, the terrain can be rocky, so sturdy shoes are advised. Leave the sandals and flip-flops behind, and wear shoes that allow you to explore.
The Dragon’s Teeth are safe to visit, but care is still urged. Makaluapuna Point is a sacred area to the native Hawaiians, and visitors are asked to be respectful. The Honokahua burial ground is also in the area. All tourists must stay out of this sacred space, the boundaries of which are marked by a hedge.
The Dragon’s Teeth were formed by the coming together of powerful forces: lava, wind, and sea. Although the lava no longer poses a threat, wind and sea are still abundant on Maui. Avoid turning your back on the waves, and don’t get too close to the edge.
There’s nothing else like the Dragon’s Teeth on Maui. An incredible demonstration of just how strong the sea can be. Make sure you have sturdy shoes, and enough room on your camera for plenty of photos.