The rock spire known as the 'Iao Needle rise 2,250 feet above the valley floor. This centrally located State Park sits amidst the majestic scenery that novelist Mark Twain once referred to as the "Yosemite of the Pacific", it has easy to follow paved pathways that loop through the 6.2 acre park. A location of great cultural significance for Hawaiian's, the 'Iao Valley State Park sits amidst lands once reserved for the ruling Ali'I or "Chiefs" of Maui. A true "Scenic Wonder" like no other in the Hawaiian Islands.
At a Glance:
Highlights: A must see for any Maui visit, 'Iao is the Valley once home to Hawaiian royalty that now hosts some of the best easily accessible rainforest on island.
Location: Centrally located above the town of Wailuku
Activity Level: Moderate to strenuous as some walkways gain considerable elevation
Equipment: Sturdy shoes, rain gear, water and food.
Warnings!: Avoid the stream area when heavy rains bring flash flooding often. Avoid climbing off trail as there are many drop offs and loose rocks.
Reservations: None needed, park hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Cost: There is a $5 per vehicle parking fee for non-residents.
'Iao is pronounced as the "E-ow" sound as in a cats' "meow")
'Iao Valley State Park has interpretive signage for teaching you the history of the Valley and its significance to the native culture, there is a Polynesian plant garden and small bridge spanning a stream with a fantastic view of the "needle".
Where to Start:
You may stick to the paved sidewalks that loop through out the park or for the more adventurous, a small trail meanders up valley along the left stream fork, it is not well maintained so venture cautiously. All hikes up valley return down the same trail so pay close attention and use stream as reference. Avoid this area when heavy rains or flash flooding is occurring. There are no accessible waterfalls in 'Iao Valley, they are too deep into the mountains to reach easily.
The entry to the Park is atop 'Iao Valley Road which is accessible at the junction of routes 30 and 32 in the town of Wailuku. Follow the road uphill through the residential area and look for a right hand fork in the road and follow the fork downhill. Proceed up this road to the very top approximately 2 miles.