Known as the “Valley Isle,” Maui hosts a variety of landscapes from the beautiful lush tropical waterfalls of Hana to the stunning open views of the grasslands from Kula to the dramatic moonscape of the Haleakala Crater. Many hiking enthusiasts have tagged Maui as the best of all the islands for the sport. Here are a few of the most popular.
Photo: HTA/Tor Johnson
WAIHEE RIDGE TRAIL
Level: Moderate 5 miles
You will start the hike passing through a dense rainforest and eventually climb along a ridge with great views of the West Maui mountains. This hike has beautiful scenery, several waterfalls, and a picnic area at the summit for those who planned ahead. The trek back down can be slippery when wet, so be prepared with sturdy shoes.
MAKENA STATE PARK
Level: Easy 2 mile
From the west side of the parking lot, you will take a sandy trail that leads to the beach. This hike will lead you past tidepools, lava flows, and a rough coastline. Makena has been known for years as the “nude beach” where public nudity is against the law, but rarely enforced.
Level: Moderate to Strenuous 11 miles
This is an all-day trek that starts at the parking lot and traverses the moonscape-like valley floor to Halemauu. It’s best to arrange transportation back to the visitor center as there is no shuttle from the trails end back to the trail head. The scenery is spectacular and hiking Haleakala is an adventure you will never forget.
Level: Moderate 4 miles
Some say this hike is truly the essence of Maui. Plan to stay overnight in Hana and take off for the trailhead first thing in the morning. It’s a well-maintained trail and you will be surrounded by a lush tropical landscape as you climb the sometimes-steep terrain. Look for the spectacular Makahiku and Waimoku Falls along the way.
Level: Easy 1 mile
This is a must stop on the road to Hana and a good place to stretch your legs and get a snack from the stand in the parking lot, known for their selection of fruits and smoothies and fresh baked banana bread. It’s a memorable experience for the whole family to enjoy and only a one-mile round-trip trek. You will see water falls and beautiful scenery.
LAHAINA PALI TRAIL
Level: Strenuous 6.5 miles
This hike follows a historic road that traverses high over the southern end of West Maui. It’s a difficult hike and strenuous climb to the 1600 ‘ summit, but the views are spectacular. Look for the wind turbines before you make your way back to the trailhead.