Hiking on Maui.

Take boots. Many of these hikes are over lava. Lava is very, very rough. You might survive with running shoes, but you will appreciate having the extra protection of light, stiff boots. And some hikes are in wet areas where traction is difficult; there you will want boots and a walking stick - any stick you can find.

Private property greatly limits hiking on Maui. All these hikes are in parks or clear public access except two: Waihee Ridge, the Boy Scouts allow access to. "Ridge of the wind generators," my own discovery, is probably across private land. In all cases, if you encounter private property limitations don't violate them. Access is often possible if you ask; finding out who to ask is the problem and getting a timely response when you ask.

Location: I wrote this for people staying in Kihei, which is on the sunny south/central coast of Maui. Some of my comments assume you are staying there.

The aerial photo maps are direct links to Google Earth. You can zoom in with the + button, out with the - button and you can click and drag left/right/up/down. If the maps don't work leave a comment on my blog.

Sierra Club has regular hikes and ecological outings on Maui - several per month.

The maps: You can click the minus (-) to zoom out on any map to see what part of the island you are seeing.

Northwest Maui

Waihee Ridge

"Have you ever wanted to stand at the top of a mountain in utter silence and commune with the clouds? That is exactly what you’ll be able to do on the Waihee Ridge Trail. The 5-mile round trip trail ascends 1,500 feet through a lush forest of kukui, guava, ohi’a, and ferns. The earlier you start the trail the better chance you have of viewing the Waihee Valley without clouds. When you arrive at the trailhead it may not seem like much of a trail. You have to pass through a cattle-proof gate and up a 200-ft cement road that is far steeper than it looks.

"Just after half a mile, glance to your left and you’ll be treated to Makamaka’ole Falls. There are a few other falls to see on the trail but most of them are far away and buried in the green-draped valleys of the West Mau‘i Mountains. The trail goes in cycles of flat and steep areas culminating in a series of switchbacks that lead to the end, a hill called Lani-ili. At 2,563 feet you may be blessed with a clear view of the valley or you may be treated to a sea of clouds. Either way this is certainly a priceless experience."

We always see lots of helicopters on this hike. There is a very high waterfall farther up the valley to the left.

To reach the trailhead, take Highway 32 west out of Kahului until you reach Highway 330, about three miles. Turn right on Highway 330 and continue until it becomes Highway 340 at mile marker 2. At 9/10 mile past mile marker 6 is the Maluhia Boy Scout Camp on the left. Turn left on to this road and it is approximately 1 mile up hill until you reach a small parking area. Hawaii Guide

Central Maui

Ridge of the wind generators - the lower marker on map

I haven't found this described anywhere, but we have done it. Hike up the south ridge of West Maui Mountain. We didn't reach a particular destination, but got more and more view as we climbed.

Park at MacGregor Point. Since this parking area keeps busy with whale watchers I recommend you do this only early in the morning before they gather. Cross the highway and go up the valley.

Hold. I just checked this with Google Earth and my hike is now the access road for the recently installed wind generators. They probably don't allow hikers. I will have to send a reconaissance crew to check. On the other hand: Sierra Club's hikes page has a photo of the wind generators, so they must have hikes there sometimes.

Iao Needle - the upper marker on map

Nestled in the lush greenery of the 'Iao Valley is the natural rock formation called the 'Iao Needle. The green-covered stone protruding from the valley floor is actually an old basaltic core (volcano remnant). The 'Iao Needle is 2,500 feet above sea level, or 1200 feet tall from the valley floor The traditional name is Kuka`emoku and it's known as the phallic stone of kanaloa (Hawaiian god of the ocean); thus the 'Iao Needle was once used as a natural altar. The name 'Iao is pronounced "EE-ow." The 'Iao Needle is surrounded by a very lovely walkway and garden of lush tropical plants.

The hike is not long, but is interesting. First go up to the needle, then down to the stream. One of my favorite things about Hawaii is the near-vertical walls that are green with plants growing.

Take Highway 32 (Kaahumanu Road) west out of Wailuku. This road turns into Highway 320 which lead directly to the 'Iao Valley State Park. Parking is limited. Hawaii Guide

South Central

La Perouse Bay

This is not known as a hike. Go to enjoy a place in another world and hike if you want. It is surprisingly close to Wailea.

The hike: The King's trail goes south the La Perouse parking area. It is over very rough lava. Boots are strongly recommended. (Parking - Try to imagine cars parked between 2 to 4-foot high lava outcroppings.) Here is the Sierra Club's short description of their hike:

Hike south from La Perouse Bay on the Kings Highway to one of the most remote and beautiful areas on Maui. Visit anchialine ponds (unusual shallow ponds with tiny red shrimp) and archeological sites along the way. Then hike further south to beautiful sandy beach where we will swim and have lunch. Bring swimsuit, lunch, water, hat and sunscreen. 6 mile roundtrip all day hike.

"Haleakala’s last display can be seen on Mau‘i’s southeast shore at La Perouse Bay. Scientists estimate that in 1790 Haleakala erupted to form the jagged lava rock coastline. Now there is a monument and ruins of Hawaiian natives who made their home on the sharp a’a lava rock. [This date is accurate because European explorers visited before the erruption.]

"La Perouse is the end of the road, literally, in south Mau‘i. It is located at mile marker 7 at the very end of Makena Alanui Road. From Kihei take Piilani Hwy south to Wailea. Turn right on Wailea Iki road and bear left on to Wailea Alanui Road which turns into Makena Alanui. Look carefully around you as you drive between mile markers 5.5 and 7. On either side you should see fields of a’a littering the landscape. There used to be a sign by the road: "Simulated Moon terrain."

When we took my late sister Lorna to Maui our attempt to drive to La Perouse was cut short due to danger of flooding. The rain caused flooding in every low spot in the road; many seemed designed for run off like they do in desert areas. But we chose not to be victims. We went to Wailea's shopping mall and sat in the sun!

East Maui

Wainapanapa State Park or Wainapanapa Trail

If you go to Hana and the Seven Pools this is on the way. On a one-day trip your time is very limited. But if you spend 30 minutes here you can see a black sand beach and, depending on water conditions, blow holes.

If on an overnight trip there is a 3-mile trail that follows the coastline from just north of Hana Bay to beyond Waianapanapa State Park. The trail begins in Kainalimu Bay and follows the jagged lava coastline along the Hawaiian "King's Highway." This trail is still visible in places where smooth stepping stones were set into the rough lava and cinders.

The coastline is ruggedly scenic with black lava jutting into the deep blue ocean. Looking inland one will get a sweeping view of Hana Forest Reserve with its densely vegetated cinder cones. NOTE: I am not sure the starting location of the 3-mile hike. If you might do it let me know and I will research it.

Oheo Gulch (Seven Pools) The Pipiwai Trail

The Pipiwai Trail above the Oheo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools), is one of the best hikes on Maui. Pipiwai Trail is 4 miles roundtrip, gaining 650-feet in elevation. It takes 2 1/2 - 5 hours to hike, depending on how much nature loving you do. There are several great waterfalls along the route with the final destination fall being Waimoku Falls, falling 400-feet down a sheer lava rock wall shaped like a horse shoe. If it's been wet in the area recently, you can additionally find yourself surrounded by numerous small waterfalls on the surrounding cliff face. This is an absolutely beautiful falls and well worth the hike to get to it.

The Waimoku Falls hike passes the 185 foot Makahiku Falls (which is also beautiful). Basically, the hike to Waimoku is the Makahiku hike extended about 1 1/2 miles. At one mile you will enter the first of three bamboo forests. Because of the marshy ground, wooden boardwalks have been built to make hiking easier.


Polipoli State Park trails - left on map

Right before mile marker 9 on Highway 377, mauka side, you’ll see the turn off for Waipoli Road. Waipoli Road includes several switch backs up the side of Haleakala to Polipoli Springs State Park, an infrequently visited but very beautiful state park on Maui.

Polipoli Springs State Park is located around 6,200 feet above sea level in the Kula Forest Reserve and encompasses nearly ten-acres of recreational area. This Upcountry park offers amazing views of both Maui below and the neighboring islands of Lana‘i and Kaho‘olawe. The towering trees, mature forest of redwoods, and other exotic native vegetation species such as plum, cypress, sugi, and ash are the highlights of the park. Several trails are also available.

Haleakala Summit Trails - right on map

The Big One of Maui hiking. The summit area of Haleakala National Park has over 30 miles (48 km) of hiking trails. Trails range from just 10 minutes to long overnight trips. You might hike in the native shrubland, looking for native forest birds and endemic plants, or in the aeolian cinder desert, exploring the geologic history of the summit.

Sliding Sands Trail -- This is the main trail from the summit into the crater. You can go down a mile or two for a look - the farther the better - or spend days. Fond memory: We hiked it in driving rain with Margaret and David when they were about 7 and 10. Margaret said "Usually when you want to drink rain you hold your head back with your mouth up. Here you just go like this..." She turns to face the wind, head level.

Pa Kaoao Trail -- This short trail (less than .5 mile round trip) leads to the top of Pa Kaoao, a small cinder cone. The trail offers one of the highest vantage points in the park and gives spectacular views of the wilderness of the volcano. Stone shelters built by the early Hawaiians that explored Haleakala long ago are still visible from the trail. The trail starts just outside of the House of the Sun Visitor Center at 9,740 feet.

No photos yet; my energy is expended tonight. Some day soon.