A May 2008 trip
to Maui by Foxboro Marmot
Quote: There are some excellent hikes on Maui with waterfalls, bamboo forests and scenery. Then there are others to avoid. Take a look.
Attraction | "Waianapanapa State Park Coast Hike - Black Lava and Waves"
In the interest of full disclosure, we don’t really know how far the trail extends, since we’ve only gone 2 1/2 miles down the coast before turning back. There’s little shade and, while the scenery along the coast can be spectacular, it does get repetitive after awhile. Honestly, waves crashing against black lava, blowholes and lava arches are great, but after baking in the hot sun for an hour, it all seems more than enough. Turn back whenever you've had enough.
Waiananpanapana State Park, off the Hana Highway a few miles outside of Hana, has some interesting attractions besides the coast hike. There’s the Black Sand beach, of course. Most visitors pull in to the parking lot, take a picture or two from the overlook. They’ll walk down to the beach and, if adventurous, walk through the lava cave on the right side of the beach. A few may even go into the water if the sea is calm.
Slightly more adventurous types might take the short loop trail from the left of the parking lot to a freshwater cave - according to legend the unsuccessful hiding place for a Hawaiian princess.
Incidentally, be sure to bring a towel and take a refreshing dip in the cave after your coast hike!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 4, 2008
Waianapanapa/Wai'anapanapa State Park
Attraction | "PoliPoli - We Did This So You Don't Have to!"
If you must explore up here, take Route 37 to the Kula area and find Waipoli Road near Rice Park. It’s a winding road uphill the flank of Haleakala with one redeeming feature. After passing through open fields of grazing cows, you’ll approach the tree line. If you pull over and look around a bit, you should be able to spot Maui’s (currently) one and only disc golf course. Disc golfers, bring your own discs; there’s no place on the island to buy them. The course is intentionally obscure since it may or may not be partially or wholly on private land. The biggest obstacles appear to be the random cow pies scattered throughout.
Past the disc golf course, the road winds back and forth, gaining elevation for another 3 miles or so before leveling off. Unfortunately, at the point the road levels off, it becomes a bumpy, rutted dirt road. It’s generally passable for normal cars – USE YOUR OWN BEST JUDGMENT –so take the 4WD ONLY sign as a suggestion. After 4 miles of bone-rattling, dust-stirring, low-speed misery there’s a fork in the road. Take the right hand road into PoliPoli’s parking area.
Now a trail circuit consisting of Redwood-Plum-Ridge may SOUND appealing, but at this elevation, 6000 feet, and on this side of Haleakala, most of the route will be in a foggy cloud most of the time. Also, the trails run through woodlands and forest so that even if you hit a clear patch don’t expect many scenic vistas.
If you just have to make this trek here’s what to expect. From parking, walk back up the access road a short distance to the Redwood trailhead on your left. The trail trends gradually downhill, eventually reaching some impressive redwoods. Impressive, that is for their growth in such a relatively short time. Compared to California redwoods, these are small children. Come back in another hundred years and they should really be something!
At the intersection with the Plum trail, turn left. Soon you’ll encounter a pair of broken-down cabins from years gone by, totally enveloped in flowering shrubs. Flowering shrubs if you get there at the right time of year. May seems about right. Continuing on, there’s burned stretches and devastated areas from a wildfire a couple of years ago.
Eventually, you bump into the Haleakala Ridge trail, on your left. Again, there’s not much to see along the trail, with one possible exception. At a marker that says 'PoliPoli Park 1 mile,' there's a spur trail to the right. It leads to an overlook that, on a clear day, lets you see across to the Big Island. After making an attempt at the view - Do you feel lucky? - retrace your steps to the Ridge trail continuing uphill until you spot a trail to your left. This returns you to parking.
If you absolutely have to check this part of Maui out, go to the parking area and find the trail heading into the trees near the rest room. Follow it until it intersects with the Haleakala Ridge Trail, then turn right. Travel downhill until you run into the afore-mentioned marker 'PoliPoli Park 1 mile.' Now the spur trail to the Big Island overlook is to your left. Wander over and see if you’ve got a nice view. After taking a look, retrace your steps instead of doing the loop.
You’ll be glad you did.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on August 4, 2008
Attraction | "Best Maui Hike - Na'ili'ili-haele Waterfalls Hike"
Go past Paia heading towards Hana. Watch for Route 36 to become Route 360 - here the numbers on mileage markers start over. The trailhead is 1 6/10 miles after mile marker #5 – the marker for #6 was missing when we were there – but it’s easy to spot. There’s a dirt shoulder on the right side of the road where maybe 5 cars can park, with a wire fence holding back dense green vegetation. A quick look shows a gap where the trail starts. Across the road there are some tall Cook Island pines, the trees that look like nature’s attempt to grow a disguised cell tower.
Prepare for this hike by making sure you’ve got decent footwear that can get wet and still provide traction. Something like sport sandals or old sneakers would be good; flip-flops, not so much.
Once off road, the trail quickly enters a bamboo forest with a steep, slippery downhill section. At the bottom there’s a small stream. Hop over it if the board that’s sometimes there is missing. Continue along to a larger, more open stream. Cross it and follow the trail to the left, upstream. There’s another bamboo forest, then a path to the left. It looks like the main trail might continue straight. Trust us. It doesn’t.
Take what looks like a spur path to the left and cross the stream. You’ll see the first of four waterfalls on the hike to your right.Rejoin the trail on the far side - you may need to scout around a bit to find the trail - and continue upstream. A short section, perhaps ten or fifteen feet, had eroded away on our last visit, but get through this section and you’ll see the path clearly continuing.
Soon you’ll see the second waterfall. Most people stop here. They relax, swim in the pool, sun on the rocks and head back to the car. Also, some locals are waterfall snobs. They’ll get here and decide there isn’t enough water in the stream to make it worth going the rest of the way. But not you. After all, you’ve heard that inspirational blather about the road to Hana, "It’s not the destination, it’s the journey," right? Trust us, it applies here, too.
Continue along the trail until closer to the waterfall you encounter a 12 foot rock wall. There are ropes here, some with foot loops, some without, but anyone in reasonable shape with decent footwear can make it up. Flip-flops just might be a problem. Also, it might help shorter folks to go first and have someone guide a foot into one of the loops. Another tip: use your upper body strength; pull yourself up! At times there has been a ladder, but it’s best not to plan on it.
At the top, follow the trail to the stream. Here the trail comes and goes. Look for it on the left side, then the right, and rock hop or walk upstream when it’s not apparent. Eventually you’ll get to a steep-sided rock-walled gap the stream fills side to side. Now it’s time to swim. It’s about 100 feet to the far end and the third waterfall.
It’s a small one. Haul yourself up the right side. Depending on water level it may be 5 feet, more or less. Walk upstream. Just around the corner there’s the fourth and final waterfall and pool. It’s bigger than the others, but may be less than impressive if water levels are low. Still, few people make it this far off the main road to Hana, so congratulate yourself if you made it to the end. Take a swim and warm up on the rocks before heading back.
Best hike on Maui!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 4, 2008
Commuter parking lot at intersection of Highways 380 and 350
Kahului, Hawaii 96733
+1 808 879 5270
Attraction | "Second Best Maui Hike - Swinging Bridges"
This is one of the guided hikes that Maui Eco-Adventures takes people on, but you can easily do it yourself.
The Waihe'e Valley of Maui is located in the northeastern part of West Maui, just around the corner from Wailuku. From Wailuku, get on Route 340 heading north. After a school on your left, look for a left turn onto Waihee Valley Road. Take it. (If you get to the 5 mile marker, you’ve gone too far. Turn around and try again.) Follow along until you get to a tee in the road. Turn right to Waihee Valley Plantation. There’s a little booth. Pay $6 per person and park in the small lot.
Now some sources state hikers cannot go onto property owned by Wailuku Ag without written permission. This could be a serious nuisance because (1) the best part of the hike is on Wailuku Ag property and (2) there’s no one around from Wailuku Ag to given permission.
But disregard anything that says you need permission to go beyond the first mile. The parking attendant will not specifically direct you onto Wailuku Ag property, but will give curiously strong hints along the lines of "Be sure to hike up the trail for two hours before you turn around," and "Go all the way to the waterfall. It’s a hot day. I’d go for a swim," and "Just keep following the trail to the very end." We’ve assumed that Wailuku Ag is simply providing themselves legal cover should someone get hurt and try to sue.
The first mile is on a dirt road with occasional irrigation ditches and tunnels along side. The overgrown and rusted valves and gears to divert water from one channel to another which are sometimes visible through the greenery seems like remains of an ancient civilization.
That feeling that gets stronger when you reach the first bridge, after about a mile… a cable and plank contraption that was pretty silly when we were there, since the stream it crossed was bone dry, all the water having been diverted somewhere upstream. Further along there’s a second, longer bridge. Despite these two, later the trail crosses and recrosses the stream without bridges, so either be prepared to rock hop or get wet feet.
At trail end there’s a dam with good freshwater swimming in a pool beneath the dam. We were told there was swimming above the dam as well, but water levels were low on our visit. The area is supposed to be popular with local kids on weekends.
As with all hikes involving streams, rainfall and water levels can make this more or less enjoyable on any given day.
Attraction | "Do More than Just Look at the Iao Needle"
Probably fewer than half take a few minutes to stroll along the paved paths on the far side of the bridge, to go up to the overlook, then down to where two valley streams join together.
For a low stress hike, cross the bridge and follow the trail downhill. Just before the paved path starts to parallel the stream, you’ll notice a few dirt paths off to the right through the brush. To make it clearer, there's a sign asking people to stay on the trail.
We’ve always read the sign to mean that those of us who choose to leave the paved path should keep to established trails instead of bushwacking through the brush. We do not interpret the sign to restrict access in any way. The locals we've met along the way agree.
The paths combine into one which makes it way upstream along the right side of the stream. As you walk along, you’ll find little secluded pools among the rocks, occasionally with a family or a few people splashing or soaking in the cool water. Proper etiquette allows you to say hello or chat briefly, but etiquette also calls for you to find your own pool. It’s impolite to barge into some else’s tropic idyll!
Don't be tempted to try the stream flowing beneath the bridge. If you hop over the railing at the far side of the bridge and follow the trail upstream, you’ll find the path soon becomes vague. Besides, the stream is less user-friendly with few comfortable soaking spots. We’ve done this so you don’t have to!
For a more adventurous hike, head up to the overlook. At the top of the steps, just before the covered overlook, there’s another sign reminding people to stay on the paths. On the other side of the railing to which the sign is attached there’s a clear dirt path heading up the ridge. Again, we’ve always interpreted this to mean "Stay on the trail. No bushwacking." This hike is written up in at least one Maui hiking guidebook, which we’ve taken as confirmation that it is legitimately allowed.
And, friends, bushwacking here could get you into big trouble. As the trail heads up along the edge of the ridge, there’s just a thin wall of greenery to your right. A couple of feet off the trail there’s a sheer drop, in places more than 100 feet. Please be careful and stay on the trail. Gaps in this green scrim give an unusual look at the Iao Needle, showing it more as a plate attached to the wall behind it and less like a solitary spire.
As the trail approaches the top of the ridge, you’ll notice short, steep side trails to the left. These go up to the knife edge of the ridge, but there’s an easier way than climbing up here. Wait until the terrain levels out, then start looking for a sharp switchback trail to the left. It’ll take you back along the ridge with views off into the valley to your right and Wailuku and Kahului off in the distance.
To return, retrace your steps.
Remember that anytime you go off on a hike anywhere to use common sense. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own safety.
Iao Valley State Park
Iao Valley Road
Wailuku, Hawaii 96793
No phone available
Attraction | "Hike Beyond LaPeruse Bay? Maybe Not"
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.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on August 4, 2008
from Napili to Kapalua along the Ocean