There are no questions that Maui is a paradise. It combines both the beauty of the clear ocean waters and the lush greeneries of the tropics. This is why the island of Maui is well-known around the world as a dream destination. The warmth of the people and the wonderful nature will welcome you as you visit the island. If you are a true-blue nature lover, you will definitely enjoy the many nature hike trails that Maui provides. Here are some of the best hiking and backpacking spots that you might want to include in your Maui activity itinerary on your Hawaii vacation.
This is one of the most accessible and best places for a West Maui hike. On this trail, you will find picturesque tropical beaches, jagged lava formations, and panoramic vistas. You can expect slight changes in elevation, varying from paved walkways to dirt footpaths, boardwalk paths, and rocky outcrops, making it suitable for families, runners, and active seniors.
This trail lets you enjoy the amazing coastal view along the west side of the island. Starting from the Kapalua Bay, you get to enjoy your walk as you pass along the cliffs along Oneloa Beach, the Dragon’s Teeth, DT Fleming Beach and the Ritz Carlton complex. With very little shade along the path, hikers are advised to stroll during the early mornings or about an hour before sunset. Being on the west side of Maui, you will be gifted with an astounding view of the setting sun anywhere along the route.
Keonehe’ehe’e (Sliding Sands)
Located within Haleakala National Park, this 6-mile trail goes through the south base of the Haleakala Crater. This summit rises at 10,023 feet, located near the Haleakala Visitors Center and leads all the way to the Kapalaoa Cabin. Once past the Kapalaoa Cabin, the topography changes to flat and grassy areas.
The trail continues to Paliku Cabin for another four miles, where you can trek down to Kaupo Gap, which is 300 feet above sea level. This is an excellent adventure for experienced backpacking hikers and is not recommended for small children and amateurs.
This hike travels to Kanaio Beach, with the path continuing for nearly ten miles. This moderate hiking trail passes through historic and harsh lava paths from one of the last eruptions on Maui in 1790. Standard backpack gear, lots of water, sun protection and sturdy boots are necessary for people who would like to venture through this rough terrain.
Starting from La Pérouse Bay, the route will follow the coast where you’ll find sandy lava features and rock walls. Remember that you are passing through historically significant structures and ruins, which should not be disturbed. Also, stay on the marked trails and do not touch any of the rocks at the site. Once you’ve gone past the Kiawe forest, you’ll see a barren expanse of lava, where you can take a detour to Cape Hanamanioa.
A must-see for hiking enthusiasts and tourists, Iao Valley State Park is easily accessible to anyone, including cars and tour buses. The park has steps, paved walkways, and signages with historical information. This hiking trail is suitable for inexperienced hikers, kids, and the elderly, and offers a scenic attraction to visitors.
The Kuka’emoku (Iao Needle) is the main attraction at this park. 1200-feet in elevation, the Iao Needle was created by the soft rock erosion that occurred through millions of years. The valley is sacred and the Iao Needle is considered as the phallic stone of the god of the ocean, Kanaloa.
Located behind the Haleakala and as part of the national park, the Pipiwai Trail is a well-maintained, four-mile round trip trail leads to the falls of Waimoku and Makahiku. It can be a challenging trek due to some of its steep terrains but is well worth the trip and considered by many backpacking Maui as one of the best hikes on the island. On your way, a lush and diverse scenery will welcome you, as the path winds along the freshwater stream of ‘Ohe‘o Gulch.
If you want to make the most of your travel to this part of the island, you can also stop over and experience the Road to Hana and the pools at ‘Ohe‘o. The Road to Hana offers beautiful ocean views, landscapes, and waterfalls. The Seven Sacred Pools is one of the most popular attractions on the island, wherein you can experience taking a dip in the seven swimming holes that are connected by waterfalls, hidden through the thick bamboo forest of ‘Ohe‘o Gulch.
This trail boasts some of the most spectacular views on the island. Breathtaking ocean views, lush greeneries of the rainforest and the wonderful Makamakaole Falls. There are also plenty of tropical birds such as the Hawaii amakihi, apapane, and ʻiʻiwi, ferns and beautiful flora species to behold. If you’re feeling tired from the hike, this well-maintained path also has a number of benches and picnic tables to relax in while enjoying the amazing views of nature.
This scenic 5-mile round trip starts with a steep 200 feet incline of cement road, but once you reach the top, you will be welcomed by the breathtaking view of the Makamakaole Falls on your right. Keep following the route and you will find a better view of Makamakaole Falls. You will also find a few other falls, but these are farther away in the lush valleys of the West Maui Mountains. The trail’s terrain comprises of flat and steep areas, leading to a hill called Lani-ili.
Whether you are a newbie hiker or an experienced backpacker, you have a lot of choices when it comes to hiking in Maui. If you would like to do more hiking adventures for two days or more, you might want to check out some of the best Maui vacation home rentals available at Kahana Village. Located on the westernmost point of the island and just a 1 ½ drive away from the airport, Kahana Village is the perfect choice for your vacation home-away-from-home on Maui!
Please keep in mind that Hawaii hiking can be risky depending on the conditions, so be sure to do your research and be smart while you are on the trail. And don’t forget to be mindful of your environment, stick to designated trails and avoid trespassing on private property!