Your In-Depth Guide to Maui Hikes & Trails

July 25, 2014

Maui is home to some superb hiking trails. 

Get up-close to the outdoor beauty of the islands with Maui hikes that feature spectacular panoramic views, cascading waterfalls, bamboo forests and so many more iconic island sights.  Whether you want an easy morning hike to get your day started or are looking for an all-day adventure, these island trails will not disappoint.  So, pack your sense of adventure and a good pair of hiking shoes and hit the trails of Maui.

couple with hiking backpacks looking at the sunny view at Haleakalā East Maui Volcano in Maui, Hawaii, USA

Taking in the scenery at Haleakala


Waihee Ridge Trail
:  The 5 mile roundtrip Waihee Trail climbs 1,500 feet through lush forests, all culminating in breathtaking views of the Waihee Valley and Makamaka’ole Falls.  Start this hike early in the day to get a clear view of the sights before the clouds set in.  Note the trailhead is a bit obscure, with a 200 foot cement road found at the entrance.  While it is a steep way to start a hike, the end reward is more than worth it.

Pipiwai Trail:  Located at Oheo Gulch (also known as Seven Sacred Pools), the Pipiwai Trail is easily one of the best Maui hikes.  The four mile roundtrip trail ascends 650 feet in elevation and 3-4 hours is recommended to really take in all the trial has to offer.  Along the route, you’ll pass the 185 foot Makahiku Falls, banyan trees, cascading streams, and enchanting bamboo forests.  The real highlight of the hike is Waimoku Falls, which falls 400 feet down a sheer lave rock wall.

Kuloa Point Trail: Looking for an easy hike?  Kuloa Point Trail is a half-mile loop trail located at the Kipahulu Visitor Center.  It leads to the ocean at Kuloa Point, with historic walls and Hawaiian habitat sites found along the way. You’ll gain access to beautiful views of the ocean and unique swimming pools where conditions allow. 

Waikamoi Forest Ridge Trail: Located on the Road to Hana about a half mile past mile marker 9, the Waikamoi Forest Ridge is a short .8 mile nature hike through bamboo forests and ferns.  There are various scenic overlooks along the way too.  An extension of the trail is available if you’d like a longer hike, totaling 1.5 miles.
Haleakala Summit Trails:  In total, there are over 30 miles of trails available at the summit area of Haleakala National Park.  Highlights include:
  • Pa Kaoao Trail, which is only .5 miles round trip but offers on the highest vantage points in the park.
  • Halemau’u Trail is a challenging 11.2 mile hike, although there is an initial 3 mile roundtrip loop to the edge of Haleakala’s rim.  If you opt for the full hike be sure to start early in the day and start at the summit.  You’ll trek through Haleakala wilderness and open terrain, gaining a real appreciation for the area also known as the “house of the rising sun.”
  • Sliding Sands Trail (Keoneheehee Trail): The Sliding Sands Trail is not an easy hike but is by far the most rewarding hike found at Haleakala National Park.  The best route is to enter the at the Haleakala Visitor Center, traverse the first 2.5 miles of the trail to the Ka Lu'u o ka O'o cinder cone and then loop back out.  The roundtrip hike descends and ascends close to 1,500 feet in elevation so the hike will feel much longer. 

Wai Trail: Wai, a Hana Highway trail, is located just north of Hana Bay and follows the coastline.  Begin your 3 mile journey in Kainalimu Bay, then follow the black lave dotted coastline where you’ll be treated to epic views of the clear, blue ocean.  Along the way you’ll also see views of the Hana Forest Reserve as well as cinder cones.

Haleakala Ridge Trail:  To enjoy spectacular view in all directions, take to the 1.6 mile Haleakala Ridge Trail.  Starting your hike just above the Polipoli Springs State Park, you’ll work your way down the crest of the southwest portion of Haleakala Crater spotting cinders, shrubs, pine forest and eucalyptus along the way.  Look for the cinder cone cave near the half-way point of the hike.

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