From parking at end-of-road LaPeruse Bay, take any of the paths wandering south across the lava. If hiking up to around mid-morning, keep a lookout for dolphins in the bay. One of the best tip-offs that there’s something out there is a Zodiac tour boat stopped with people on board pointing.
After less than a half-mile the paths come together and follow a jeep trail beneath the trees. The trail winds along in the shade with the ocean to your right for, again, a little less than a half-mile before the trees end.
Here the trail splits. You could go left. This is the main trail, the Kings Highway, an ancient path that circled around Maui to Hana and beyond. It’s better to continue straight. After about five minutes walk there’s another path to your left connecting to the Kings Highway. Instead look for a path to your right through the last patch of trees along the shore. It will take you to a usually deserted cove with excellent snorkeling along the rocks to the left. Cape Hanamanioa – the lava point with a lighthouse that defines the end of LaPerouse Bay – protects this cove from stiff southern winds that usually chop up the water at the more conventional snorkeling spots closer to the end-of-road parking.
We wouldn’t recommend going any further.
However, should you want to give the Kings Highway a try, double back and take a connecting path to the main trail. Kings Highway is a fairly straight six-foot wide path surfaced with fist-sized chunks of lava just waiting to roll beneath your foot should you step on one the wrong way. For the next mile there’s no shade and little of interest to see. Your only consolation is that generally by mid-day, clouds forming on the flanks of Haleakala protect you from direct sunlight. After a mile, the path dips down into a secluded cove with a few trees and a log swing where you can relax and decide whether to go further or turn back.
We’d recommend turning back.
Still, if you want more of the Kings Highway experience you can rejoin the main path as it continues more or less straight across desolate terrain. It becomes overgrown and fades away in spots, but picks up again soon. As an alternative, you can follow the 4 wheel drive track that winds in and out around the coves. Neither route is particularly inspiring.
Eventually, about 1 ¾ miles beyond the cove with the log swing, you’ll see a small cottage with a flagpole at the waters edge. This is supposedly a community fishing shack maintained by locals. It’s important to note that the locals wouldn’t have hauled themselves and their gear over the same trail you just took. Instead, they’d have simply driven down from the Piilani Highway.
You, however, now get to retrace your steps back to the car.
Don't say you weren't warned.
Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
by Foxboro Marmot
August 4, 2008
From journal Maui Hikes
by smmmarti guide
July 13, 2003
Kapalua Bay is located directly in front of Coconut Grove and the Kapalua Bay Hotel. To reach this beach take the Lower Honoapiilani Hwy. and turn at the Napili Kai sign just next to the Kapalua Club entrance. After you’ve giggled with delight while watching kids maneuver from shore to sea in flippers and masks, and heard enough excited shrieks as they discover the underwater bounty of the brilliantly varied and colored fish, you might tear yourself away from this idyllic beach, amazingly graced with a coral reef accessible by anyone who can swim, and do some poking around.
Hike past the Kapalua Bay hotel toward the Kapalua Bay Villas or drive and park in the public parking lot next to the hotel. At the first oceanfront villa, walk along the path and find a gorgeous natural area called Hewae Point that changes its appearance from a typical coastal refuge to the surface of the moon in a matter of minutes! Natural grasses and sandy paths give way to deep coves and sharp, barren lava rock. Hold on to little ones here, as it can be very windy with steep drops into the ocean. Older kids will want to venture near the edge of any of the coves on the point. Swimming would be treacherous, but it is here that sea turtles regularly congregate. You are almost guaranteed to see them if you are patient.
From here you will encounter a second beach, known as Oneloa. It fronts a development of luxury homes and is less sheltered or visited than Kapalua Bay, yet it is another divine spot to swim or snorkel. If the kids are holding up, continue past the manicured, sweeping lawns of the Ritz Carlton stopping, if you are bold, to play a game of croquet or bocce balls. Walk down the hill respectfully past the sacred protected Hawaiian burial site and toward the long lava rock peninsula jutting into the ocean. This is a wonderfully unique section of rock known as "Dragon’s Teeth," where a glance at the photos explains the moniker. Complete with lava tubes, blowholes, and tide pools, again, caution is advised as swells and surges frequently pound this point so adults and kids alike must keep a safe distance from the edges.
Wrap up your ocean hike adventure with a dip in D.F. Fleming beach waves, West Maui‘s most exciting. Build a campfire on the beach when the sun begins to set. Surf, sea turtles, dragons’ and s‘mores; what more could a kid (or anyone) want?
From journal Maui with Keiki
June 1, 2002
Here, the narrow road with its many switch-backs and sharp turns challenges drivers to keep their eyes on the road while being tempted by stunning ocean views from every direction. We’d driven this road before all the way to the valley. There were times when I had to clutch the armrest and close my eyes (no, I wasn‘t driving!), especially when we came upon blind hairpin turns with single lane passage. Meeting another car round the bend meant that the downhill car was obligated to back up...unto what? The sheer drops were sometimes over 1,200 feet down into a churning brine.
We were promised the hike would not be a difficult as the drive beyond the blowhole. Luckily, we arrived at the designated point past the 38 mile marker where a small (and on this day empty) parking lot signaled the start of the hike. The most hair-raising portion of the road lies beyond this point, should you be so adventurous to attempt a drive. (If you do, by the way, the pay off is some of the most outstanding views you’ll encounter this side of Hana.)
Our informants had advised we follow the "jeep trail" left in the red dirt that meandered across the light beacon point and stopped just shy of the rocky climb down to the shore and the Nakalele Blowhole. We sighted the light beacon and headed in that direction. "I think the jeep trail’s over there," I called to my husband as he made his way toward the precarious rock cliffs lining the water’s edge. He motioned me toward the path less traveled.
I wore walking shoes but soon wished I’d had on mountain boots when a stone that appeared to be secure slipped from under foot and bounced merrily off lava rocks on its way far below me and into the waves. The loose gravel beneath my feet also started to give way and I grabbed for a root, that prompted released as easily as the stone from the ground. "This can’t be right!" I protested and shimmied my way across the narrow ledge.
Find out the results of the cliff hanger in Part Two!!
From journal Maui - Hikes and Upcountry Delights
by Maui Jon
Farmington Hills, Michigan
October 9, 2000
You can take a great guided hike through the rainforest or other beautiful parts of Maui with Hike Maui (808)879-5270. (See their website at http://www.hikemaui.com). There are also books about hiking on Maui at all of the bookstores on Maui. One of the best is Hiking Maui, The Valley Isle, by Robert Smith. You can get it before you go, at major bookstores or by ordering it online from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
LOTS more information about Maui sights, activities, restaurants, hotels and more at
From journal Maui is the best