Annie's Favorites Hikes
Maui offers amazing hikes, from the top of a volcano, lush bamboo forests, sweeping ocean vistas, lush tropical forests, waterfalls, and everything in between. We’ve been here for several years, and we have only hiked a few dozen trails. There are too many hikes to list here, but here are a few of our favorites. Please take a moment to look at the Maui Hiking Hazards & Dangers section. While hiking in Maui is amazing, it does come with the price of not understanding to the environment in which you are hiking. Please respect the culture and the environment when hiking in Maui.
Waihee Ridge Trail
This hike in West Maui Forest Reserve promises lush scenery, great views, and some exciting ridge-line hiking. It can be a little difficult to find the parking lot, keep an eye out for the red Camp Maluhia BSA sign when turning off of Kahekili Highway.
Hiking the Waihee ridgeline up in the west Maui mountains overlooking the Waihe’e Valley is dramatic and always scenic. There is a well-groomed trail that is suitable for trail runners and hikers alike. The elevation climbs by means of clean switch-backs and stairs spaced apart by spots of flat terrain. Good views are available if hiking on a clear day but are prepared for moderate sun exposure.
As on the windward side of all Hawaiian islands, you're more likely to be in for wet weather and muddy conditions. But it's not all that bad, since this means waterfalls are plentiful, the vegetation is greener and the cooler conditions make for a nice comfortable hike!
Users have reported that this trail crosses through private property along an easement. When passing through private property easements and right-of-ways it is especially important to stay on the path and respect posted guidance. Local officials and private landowners work in partnership to provide public access to this area. Staying on the path while on private property ensures that agreements between local officials and the landowner are upheld and that this trail remains open to the public in the future. (Source, AllTrails.com)
Makamakaole Stream: 13 Crossings
This short valley hike leads to the base of Makamaka'ole Falls within West Maui's Forest Preserve. While the hike is not too long, it can be challenging as you will be required to cross Makamaka'ole Stream multiple times (13 to be exact) to reach the falls. But after all that slipping and scrambling you can reward yourself with a refreshing dip at the base of the waterfall. For those looking for more of an adrenaline rush, you can climb the side of these waterfalls to discover the other tiers of this 260-foot beauty. (Source, Hiking Hi)
Warning! there are a ton of car break-ins here. Don't leave anything in your vehicle!
The Bamboo Forest (Pipiwai Trail)
Pipiwai Trail is one of the most popular stops for Road to Hana voyagers, the well-traveled Pipiwai trail boasts more than being the most accessible-to-the-public bamboo forest on Maui. Along with the lush rainforest, hikers on this 4-mile out-and-back path encounter a towering banyan tree. To cap off the hiking adventure, Pipiwai Trail’s turnaround point is marked by the roar of an awe-inspiring waterfall.
Located on the Kipahulu side of Haleakala National Park, you don’t need a reservation to hike Pipiwai Trail as you do at Waianapanapa State Park. There is, however, a park entrance fee of $30 per vehicle, unless you’re an annual pass holder.
Give yourself at least two hours to conquer the trail if you’re planning to hike beyond the bamboo forest and marvel at Waimoku Falls (which we heartily recommend!). (Source Maui Trip Guide)
Pu'U Kilea, also known as the Olowalu Petroglyphs, is one of the easily accessible petroglyph sites on Maui. Access is a quarter-mile-long dirt trail. The petroglyphs are located along a basalt cliff in West Maui and feature human and animal figures as well as sails.
The images at this site were chiseled into the rock hundreds of years ago. Ancient Hawaiians called them ki’i pohaku, or images in stone. Though the exact meanings of the carvings are unknown, the images are thought to represent legends or stories of the early Hawaiians.
The Lahaina Restoration Foundation worked to make the site accessible so that visitors could learn about the island’s rich history. In the 1960s, they built a wooden stairway and viewing platform that led right up to the petroglyphs, but after multiple incidents of vandalism to the ancient art, the platform was demolished. Today, a trail leads to approximately 50 feet below the rock art. (Source Atlas Obscura)
Lahaina Pali Trail
(Moderate to Difficult, Hot, No Water )
The Lahaina Pali Trail is a challenging and rugged 5-mile hike that takes you from Ukumehame to Maalaea. This out-and-back hike has trailheads on either end, both of which are located close to sea level. The trail gains approximately 1600 ft. in 2.5 miles, then descends back toward sea level for another 2.5 miles. The uphill portions of the trail can be strenuous and slow-going, as the terrain is rocky and uneven.
If you're in good physical condition, you can expect to complete the hike in about 3 hours one-way, including several short stops. However, if you're not in top shape or plan on taking longer breaks, it's best to give yourself 4-5 hours for the one-way trip. Keep in mind that a full out-and-back trip will take twice as long.
If you're up for the challenge of hiking the entire trail, you have three options: a 10-mile strenuous hike out and back, two cars (drop one at the ending trailhead), or hitch-hike the return. However, if you're only doing half or less of the trail, it's important to decide which side to hike.
For those seeking breathtaking views, we suggest hiking the Maalaea side. As you ascend on this side, the view just gets better and better. The panorama eventually opens to both coasts of the central isthmus and is more stunning every time you stop. During whale season, you may even catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures on the Ukumehame side.
If you're parking on the Maalaea side, you don't have to park on the highway. Instead, you can go through the gates and drive up to a dedicated trail parking area. With a little preparation and determination, the Lahaina Pali Trail can be a rewarding and unforgettable experience.
Iao Valley State Park (Loop Trail)
The Iao Valley is a must-visit destination for those who love to explore breathtaking scenery. Although it may not be your typical hiking trail, the valley offers a fantastic opportunity to take a leisurely stroll and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area. One of the most prominent features of the valley is the Iao Needle, a natural rock formation that juts out from the lush greenery.
The Iao Needle is a remnant of an old basaltic core from a volcano, standing tall at 2,250 feet above sea level and 1,200 feet from the valley floor. As you walk around the area, you'll be surrounded by a stunning garden of tropical plants and a picturesque walkway. The Puu Kukui Crater encircles the Iao Needle, and it was the site of one of the most significant battles in Hawaiian history.
Whether you're a nature enthusiast or a history buff, the Iao Valley is a must-see destination that offers something for everyone. Take a stroll around the area, and you'll be amazed by the natural beauty that surrounds you. Don't forget to snap some photos of the Iao Needle, a true wonder of nature that will leave you in awe.
Secret Iao Valley Trail (UnOfficial)
Okay, let's start with this is kinda a local knowledge trail. The park Rangers kinda frown on using this trail, but they will not stop you from jumping the rail and taking the trail.
The Trailhead is at the top of the lookout right before you get to the structure at the top. (Maybe 15 feet) You'll see a wooden fence rail and a path heading up the hill. Just jump the fence and start walking. You will get some strange looks from tourists, but who cares?
The trail is amazing. Lush tropical fauna, and mountain ridges all around you. The hike is pretty straightforward. It's about 2.5 miles with an elevation gain of 892 ft. It's in and out. No loop. The trail ends with you in a big green mountain bowl with incredible 360 views of the Iao Valley.
We recommend good hiking shoes, a rain jacket, and long sleeve shirts. I usually wear tech paints too. There is razor grass and lots of pokie things on the trail. It's almost always raining on this side of the mountains, and there will be mud. The red kind. The kind that stains anything that might be white.
Please be respectful of the protected watershed.
Kapalua Coastal Trail
DT Fleming Parking
The Kapalua Coastal Trail runs alongside the ocean through the Kapalua Resort. You will see great ocean views, spectacular waves crashing into lava rocks, natural greenery, fields of lava, beautiful beaches, and luxurious hotels and condos. You will walk on pavement, lava, sand, dirt, gravel, weeds, rocks, stairs, and wooden walkways. The beaches at the start and end of Kapalua Beach and ends at Fleming Beach. You can start your walk at either end of the trail, do the round trip, and then spend the rest of the day at one of those two great beaches. (Source MauiHawaii.org)
Ka'anapali Beach Walk
The Beachwalk runs along the length of Ka’anapali Beach and is one of the greatest places to gaze at the sunset on the island. Even if you’ve come to Maui for peace and solitude, it’s definitely worth spending a morning strolling the beach walk, admiring the hum of beachfront restaurants and resorts, glitzy couples, and evening surfers.
The path runs from Aston Ka'anapali Shores Resort to Hanakao'o Park. We’d believe that the north end of the walk is best, There is plenty of free parking. There are other free parking lots, but we always use the north parking lot because it's the closest to the Condo. We walk this walk nearly every day.
Local tip: For a good walk, get on the beach walk before 9:00 AM, before all the tourists are clogging up the beach walk.
Haleakala National Park Hiking Trails
(Easy to Difficult)
Haleakala offers some amazing hikes. But not without challenges. Altitude and cold are their biggest challenges. Going from sea level to 10,000 feet makes a big difference and really needs to be taken into consideration before any long hikes on top of the volcano. I have personally hiked in at the Visitor's Center and hiked to the Kapalaoa Cabin, spent the night, and walked out of the Kaupo Gap. Don't know if, I would do it again. At least not that route.
We're breaking Haleakala into three hikes, although there are dozens of amazing crater hikes.
#1 The Pā Ka‘oao Hike: Hike up the pu‘u next to Haleakalā Visitor Center to view ancient rock wall shelters and the crater. The distance is 0.4 miles (0.64 km) round trip.100 ft (30 m) elevation change.
#2 Keonehe‘ehe‘e (Sliding Sands): Hike across the crater to Halemau'u Trail. The trailhead is in the Haleakalā Visitor Center parking lot near the road. A popular 11-mile (17.8 km) full-day hike begins at Keonehe‘ehe‘e Trailhead, crosses the valley floor, and ends at Halemau'u (7,990 ft/2,436 m elevation). The park cannot offer hiker shuttles, so consider using the “hiker pick-up” near here.
#3 The Halemau‘u Trail: Hike 1.1 miles (1.8 km) on a rocky path to a crater viewpoint. A popular destination on this hike is a natural land bridge commonly referred to as the "Rainbow Bridge." This area is about 0.25 miles from the first crater viewpoint. Hiking past this will take you down switchbacks carved into the crater walls. It is a little over 2 miles one way to reach the crater floor from the trailhead.
Remember that there is a $30 park entrance fee.