The Best Hiking Trails On Maui

Trails Vary From Volcanoes To Rainforest to Parks

Waihou Spring Trail
Plan on this trek south of the Waihou Springs Forest Reserve tree plantation road taking about one hour as you amble along the hilly, one-mile route. The trailhead is located on Olinda Road at the Waihou Springs Forest Reserve gate.

Waianapanapa Beach Trail
Amble along this scenic stretch of coastline are tidepools, lava arches and black sand beaches abound you can hike along a trail that provides spectacular views. There are also many ancient Hawaiian cultural sites in this very special area. A grassy area atop the bluffs of Waianapanapa provide a great picnic spot, and you can also camp with a permit.

Iao Valley Trail
This favorite family path leads through the Iao Valey State Park to some pools and a great view of the 1,200-foot spire of basalt known as the Iao Needle, also called Kukaemoku in Hawaiian. While you are at the park check out the cultural exhibits and plant displays at the Kepaniwai Park and Heritage Gardens, and also the Hawai‘i Nature Center which has hands-on exhibits for kids, including an Interatctive Nature Museum.

Waihee Valley Ridge Trail
A great view of Kahakuloa and also Central Maui can be seen from the Waihee Valley Ridge Trail, a moderately difficult 3-mile hike with fantastic panorramic views. The trailhead is located off of Kahekili Highway (Hwy. 340) on Maluhia Road – go about one mile and look for the trail marker sign.

Waikomoi Reserve
This Haleakala National Park trail visits forests of native koa and ohia lehua trees that provide habitat for other native Hawaiian plants as well as birds, including Hawaiian owls, or pueo.

Redwood Trail / Plum Trail / Haleakala Ridge Trail in Polipoli
Located in Polipoli Springs State Park in Upcountry Maui, the 2-mile-long Redwood Trail goes through the tall stands of redwood trees planted there by the Civilian Conseration Corps in the 1930s along with many other trees in the park.

Walk slow so you don’t get out of breath because you will be at an elevation above 6,000 feet. Also in the park are the equally enjoyable Plum Trail and Haleakala Ridge Trail. Camping at Polipoli is allowed with a permit from the Division of State Parks.

To get to Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area from Kula, follow Kekaulike Avenue (Hawaii 377) to Waipoli Road.

Hoapili Trail – The King’s Trail
This 6-mile trail along the rough lava terrain of Maui’s southern shoreline passes important Hawaiian cultural and archaeological sites as it climbs up from the ocean and then back down.  The Hoapili Trail is located at the end of Makena Road – look for a white sign marking the trailhead. Give yourself about 6 hours to complete this challenging trail.

Haleakala National Park Trails
The most ambitious trail here is the Kaupo Gap Trail which leads from Haleakala’s summit all the way down to the coast at Kaupo and Kipahulu.
The Kaupo Trail starts on the east side of the summit crater of Haleakala Volcano and goes through a rift in the crater wall before descending through the lunar-like summit crater into alpine highlands, koa forests, rainforests, and a variety of native ecosystems before reaching the ranchlands near the coast and finally coming out near the ocean at Kipahulu. Some people leave a car at Kipahulu and then get dropped off in the morning at the summit, making the 20-mile trek down the volcano all in one day.

Another trail at the summit of Haleakala is the Sliding Sands Trail, which provides a wonderful half-day hike descending to the floor of the valley and then back up to the summit. Halemau Trail is a bit more challenging, and joins up with the Sliding Sands trail after about 9 miles.

Waimoku Falls Trail
This waterfall-laden trail begins in Kipahilu at the Kipahulu Visitor Center and Ranger Station (808-248-7375), which is part of Haleakala National Park.
Climbing upward through rainforest areas including a nice bamboo forest, the trail eventually reaches the beautiful Waimoku Falls as it plunges about 400 feet down the mountainside. Kipahulu Valley and Oheo Gulch provide other attractions as well including the Seven Pools swimming area with dozens of swimming holes, and the 180-foot Falls at Makahiku.

Beware of flash floods in this area, and if you are unsure of weather conditions call tthe Kīpahulu Ranger Station at 808-248-7375.

Waimoku Falls
Another 1½ miles up on the Waimoku Falls Trail is Waimoku Falls plunging about 450 feet over a cliff. This is a great place to rest a while and splash some cold water on yourself as you enjoy the scenery.

The 4-mile-long Waimoku Falls Trail takes about two hours to hike, starting at the Kipahulu Visitor Center. You will be enchanted as you wind your way through the dense bamboo forest. Several good swimming holes are located above and below Waimoku Falls, and this whole area is part of Haleakala National Park.

Maui is full of splendor and amazing sights and there are many more best hiking trails on Maui. However, if you are unable to get to these hikes, or have some physical limitations, then another great way to see the Maui sights are from a helicopter tour. As with most islands in the Hawaiian chain, Maui offer a unique and unforgettable view from above. Even if you hike, taking a Maui helicopter tour is another way to get a new perspective of the valley isle.