When planning a vacation to the Valley Isle, be sure to save some time to explore Maui’s best hiking trails. Guests can discover unique eco-zones, plan a Maui day hike, or even an overnight camping trip.
Maui’s best hikes. Waste less time on vacation, and maximize on your valuable time in paradise. With real facts, and the best research available at your fingertips, enjoy our local expert knowledge provided below. Here, you will learn all the awesome details about each hike. Find out how long specific hikes are, learn if certain trails are appropriate for children, and find out exactly where they are located.
Maui Hiking Safety
When adventuring through Maui’s gorgeous terrain, it’s important to always keep safety in mind. From mauka (mountain) to makai (ocean), there are so many gorgeous sights to see and explore. Although most visitors’ first thoughts about safety in Maui might have to do with the ocean, being conscious to the elements is also important when exploring Maui hiking trails and forests.
Maui Hiking Tips:
- Never hike alone
- Heed all warning signage, and stay on the trails
- Do not trespass on private property
- Be prepared for sudden changes in weather and bring: sunscreen, mosquito repellant, ponchos, jacket, and wear sturdy shoes
- Bring an adequate amount of food and water for the duration of your hike
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicle
- Start hikes early
- Hike during daylight hours, and make sure you have time to return to your vehicle before the sunset hour
- Bring a fully-charged cellphone on your hike, and if possible, turn on your GPS
- Be aware that some remote areas will not have cell phone coverage
- Never dive or jump into ponds because of submerged rocks and edges
- Call the National Weather Service at 1-866-944-5025 to check weather before you head out
- Call the Maui County Automated Information line at 808-986-1200 ext. 1 for Maui Emergency Management Agency emergency notifications like flash flood warnings and advisories
- Wear brightly colored clothing so that rescue crews can easily spot you in case of emergency
1. ‘Iao Valley State Park Central Maui, 1/2-1.8 miles
‘Iao Valley State Park always provides a beautiful day trip activity in Maui. This historic State Park is home to the infamous ‘Iao Needle, and the site of the Battle of Kepaniwai in 1790. This is where King Kamehameha I conquered Maui’s warriors in pursuit of uniting all Hawaiian Islands.
Within this 10-mile long, 4,000 acre park, all hikers can explore lush scenery, and native Hawaiian flora and fauna by way of a paved pathway. The park is known as a spiritual rainforest full of mellow hiking trails, waterfalls, swimming holes, BBQ and picnic areas.
‘Iao Valley State Park gates are open from 7am-7pm. For the best view of the ‘Iao Needle, arrive in the early morning before the clouds start settling in the valley. This is a perfect place on Maui to visit with kids!
‘Iao Valley State Park requests a $1 donation entrance fee per person, and $5 for parking.
Haleakala – Sliding Sands Trail Haleakala Crater, 10 miles
Haleakala’s Sliding Sands Trail is located within Haleakala National Park. This is the summit of the Haleakala Crater. At 10,023 feet, near the Haleakala Visitors Center, this trail travels 6-miles through the south base of the Crater. It leads through loose cinder all the way to the Kapalaoa Cabin (at approximately 7,400 feet).
Just past the Kapalaoa Cabin, the trail mellows out into flat grassy areas as the topography naturally changes due to decreasing elevation. Sliding Sands continues another 4-miles to the Paliku Cabin, where hikers can then access the Kaupo Gap to hike down to 300-feet above sea level.
If Maui hikers would like, they can walk a bit further to the Kaupo Store and treat themselves to an icy cold refreshment. Sliding Sands is not suggested for small children or amateur hikers, but it is excellent for those up for one of the best adventures in Maui. This is undoubtedly a Maui adventure that you and your friends will never forget!
Pipiwai Trail-Oheo Gulch Oheo Gulch, 4 miles
The Pipiwai Trail is located just above the Seven Sacred Pools of Oheo in Kipahulu’s Haleakala National Park. If you are driving the “Road to Hana,” you will not want to miss this beautiful adventure!
To get to Pipiwai Trail, drive past Hana Town for about 15-minutes.You’ll find the trailhead near mile marker 42 off Highway 31. The hike begins across the road from the Haleakala Ranger Station, and is free of charge. However, there are fees for parking and/or camping at the Oheo Gulch Haleakala National Park.
The Pipiwai Trail is a 4-mile (round trip) hike that takes approximately 4-hours to complete. However, keep in mind that you can easily spend more time lingering and exploring this area. There is plenty to see!
This hike does not fail to deliver. It’s everything one could dream of experiencing on a tropical island adventure. With each turn of this hike, you are blessed with a new and fantastic view. Key points include giant bamboo forests, a tranquil stream, an enormous banyan tree, and several spectacular waterfalls including Makahiku Falls and 400 ft. High Waimoku Falls.
The Pipiwai Trail is a perfect hike for those looking for a waterfall adventure in Maui. As with all stream and waterfall hikes, hikers should remember to proceed with caution when hiking through muddy pathways, and when crossing over water on slippery stones, or rocks covered with moss. Proper footwear is a must, and this hike is not appropriate for small children.
La Perouse Hoapili Trail, 5.5 Miles
Located south of Wailea (as far as you can drive on road) is La Perouse. It’s an oceanfront archeological site that remains sacred to Native Hawaiians. While driving to La Perouse, you’ll pass Makena’s Big and Little Beach, pass the Ahihi Kinau Reserve, and a long stretch of lava fields.
La Perouse’s large and jagged lava formations are from the most recent eruption of Mount Haleakala in the 1790s. You’ll know when you’ve reached your destination when you see the horse coral, and a stone monument. The parking lot is located just past those two markers.
From La Perouse, guests can travel south on the Hoapili Trail (King’s Highway). It will take you through jagged lava fields. You’ll see archeological site signage, and all hikers must stay on the trail. Please respect this area, and note that it is not an ideal hike for small children. Wear sturdy hoes on this hike, as loose lava can easily make it more challenging. Make sure to bring plenty of water, because there is no access to drinking water along the way.
The trail starts near the water’s edge and is easy to find. You’ll pass some ancient Hawaiian structures and ruins along the way, which are historically significant and should not be disturbed. It is essential to remember to always stay on the marked trail, and never move any of the rocks at this site.
At the end of the trail, hikers will find a beautiful and pristine bay with crystal clear waters. This is a great place for experienced and advanced snorkelers to explore. You can also see some dramatic olivine pools, and visit the La Perouse Bay lighthouse.
Twin Falls North Shore, 1/2-2 miles
Twin Falls is located a 20-minute drive east from the historic Paia Town on Maui’s North Shore. This Maui hiking site is easily found off of Hana Highway. It’s marked by a big gravel parking lot, and an amazing Maui-style snack stand with ice cold coconuts, tropical fruit, smoothies, and fresh baked banana bread for purchase.
Many Road to Hana tours will stop at Twin Falls, but it’s also easily navigated on your own. This hike is perfect for those traveling with children, with the capability to visit many different tropical waterfalls and freshwater swimming holes. With that, please be extremely safe walking near, and while entering the swimming holes. Many accidents happen here.
All pathways are dirt and gravel, so it is highly suggested to bring good walking shoes. The main pathway splits into both left and right fork, offering visitors options for which way to explore.
Ho’olawa Li’ili’i (left fork) is the footpath that leads to the most popular waterfall at Twin Falls. Via the left fork, you will come to an old rock masonry irrigation ditch. Just continue to walk over the cement blocks or through the stream, and you’ll arrive at the picturesque “Caveman Swimming Hole and Falls.”
Ho’olawa Nui (right fork) is also accessed off the main pathway. It leads Maui hikers through two hand-dug irrigation ditches, and finally to another set of waterfalls great for swimming and photo ops.
When adventuring at Maui’s Twin Falls, make sure to bring good walking shoes, bathing suits and towels, and bug spray for hikers prone to mosquito bites. Do not jump off of rocks, and watch your step for tree roots sticking out of the walkways. It is common for travelers to have accidents at this location, so be safe, heed all warning signs, and do not jump off or rocks.
Waihee Ridge Trail Wailuku, 5 miles
For experienced hikers, the Waihee Ridge Trail is an incredible Maui day trip. Here, venturesome guests climb uphill for about 1,500-feet until they reach Lanilili Peak. As you must imagine, once you go up, you must come down!
For this Maui adventure hike, definitely wear comfortable and sturdy hiking shoes, and bring lots of drinking water. This is not a hike suggested for children, unless you’re traveling with some exceptionally athletic teenagers.
Once visitors reach Lanilili Peak, there is a bench where you can view a massive waterfall in the distance. The overlook offers scenes of Waihee Valley, the blue Pacific Ocean, and a glimpse of the outer Island of Lana’i depending on the weather.
This Maui area is sparsely populated, and it will be shocking if you can catch some cell phone service. Hike with a buddy, do not leave valuables in your car, and make sure to have adequate drinking water and snacks to re-fuel. This hike is a great option if you’re physically fit, and want to test your hiking stamina.
Nakalele Blowhole & Sweetheart Rock 1 mile
Located on the most northern point of West Maui, Nakalele Point is visited by travelers and hikers from near and far. Visitors hike down a rugged cliff trail to observe Pacific Ocean views, and one out of seven of Hawaii’s natural blowholes. The path leads to the ocean with fascinating rock formations and Hawaiian wild flowers. Throughout this moderate hike, there are dramatic views of the blue Pacific Ocean and West Maui’s gorgeous coastline.
Nakalele Point is approximately 8-miles north of Kapalua. There are a few different paths to explore, and they all lead to the blowhole. The trail that starts at mile marker 38.5 is the main trail. It’s common to see local food vendors pulled over near the trailhead, so keep your eyes peeled while driving. Most often, the vendors are selling ice-cold coconuts and delicious fresh-baked banana bread. Without a doubt, we recommend a visit with the local vendors at Nakalele Point.
Please note that the trail can be awkward to hike down because other visitors might be hiking back up. Make sure that you are wearing sturdy walking shoes, and stay off of the slippery wet rocks. If you’re hiking with children, or inexperienced hikers, be prepared to assist them over the rocks. This hike is not suitable for small children or elderly seniors.
When hikers reach the bottom of the rocky trail, they’ll find the blowhole to the front left. When visiting the blowhole, be extremely careful of the slippery surfaces, and always keep a safe distance. It’s prevalent that visitors get injured here because they get too close to the blowhole. The blowhole will blow at a consistent height, and out of nowhere, a huge and and forceful 100-ft blow will arrive. This is when people can get hurt. Please keep a safe distance, and remember to never turn your back on the ocean (or, a blowhole).
Hosmer Grove & Supply Trails Upper Kula, 2-5.9 miles
Situated at 6,750-feet, the Hosmer Grove and Supply Trails offer some of the most fabulous hiking experiences (and views) in all of Maui.
Hosmer Grove is located just inside the Haleakala National Park and Visitors Center. The trails and signage are both well maintained, and the hikes are just as pleasant as can be. Here, hikers begin their experience with a fragrantly calming hike through Cedar, Sandalwood, Spruce, Eucalyptus, and Pine trees. Next, hikers travel through shrub lands where hikers may spot four different types of Honeycreepers that are native to this area.
The 2.4 mile Supply Trail is accessed closer to the main road, marked by signs and a cattle guard gate.
When exploring the Hosmer Grove Trails, plan an early start, bring water, lunch and snacks, sturdy shoes, and wear layered clothing because the temperature at this elevation can sometimes change quickly. Hosmer Grove Trails are excellent hikes for those that want to spend an entire day hiking. Hosmer Grove is also a Haleakala National Park drive-up campsite.
The Haleakala National Park Visitors Center is open from sunrise-4pm. If you arrive before the entrance station is open, be prepared to pay the entrance fee at an automated fee machine (cash only).
Waihou Spring Trail Loop Olinda – Upcountry, 1-2.4 miles
The Waihou Spring Trail Loop is located in the Upcountry Olinda area, and accessed by driving all the way up Piiholo Road.
Guests can park directly outside of the trail entrance, where a pathway immediately leads hikers through a mystical Cypress, Eucalyptus, native Hawaiian Koa, and Halapepe forest. This is an old-time favorite hiking location in Upcountry Maui, and an undoubtedly gorgeous secret spot. When visiting this Maui hiking trail, it feels almost surreal that a terrain like the Waihou Spring Trail Loop is found on Maui. It’s a perfect example of how diverse Maui’s topography can be.
Upon entering this Maui hiking trail, visitors are guided through a complete loop that follows through an upper section to a ridge. From the ridge, all hikers will be rewarded with a lookout point that towers above Maui’s North Shore coastline. The lookout point is marked by a park bench.
The Waihou Spring Trail Loop is open from sunrise to sunset seven days a week. This hike is great for those traveling with children. Be sure to hike with a buddy, and stay on the clearly marked trails.
Halemauu Trail Haleakala Crater, 10 miles
Haleakala’s Halemauu Trail starts from the west side of the crater summit, continues down switchbacks towards the crater floor, and finally leads towards the east end of Haleakala Crater.
The beginning part of this hike is pretty calm, as it travels through level (mostly) areas where hikers can experience an ever-changing volcanic eco-zone with loose lava rock and native shrubs.
The switchbacks travel down through an approximately 1,500-foot long cliff area. From here, hikers will be pleased that they chose to wear sturdy and comfortable shoes! All will marvel in views of the Koolau Gap leading towards the Pacific Ocean.
The Halemauu Trail travels 4-miles further through the crater floor, finally reaching the Holua Cabin at 7,000 feet. Hikers can then choose to continue across the crater floor for another 6-miles to the Paliku Cabin.
Camping in Haleakala is an amazing life experience for all who witness its magic! The best way is to camp in Haleakala is to do it in style; plan ahead and book a cabin. By doing this, avid hikers can make the most of their experience in the crater by resting up every evening. In this way, you’ll wake up fresh and be ready for another day of exploring Haleakala’s Crater.
Kings Gardens on Maui
The Kings Gardens Waterfall Hike is a unique and enjoyable Maui activity. Due to the rare and sensitive nature of this sacred Hawaiian heritage site, only 24 people are allowed to visit a day.
Plan ahead of time to be one of the lucky ones, and walk in the footsteps of the Hawaiian Ali’i on his ancient walking trail. At Kings Garden, guests will also have the rare chance to see the world’s biggest pre-historic dinosaur ferns!
Being a historical heritage site, the mission of this park is to perpetuate Hawaiian culture; preserve, and conserve the gardens. All guests contribute towards this legacy with an entry fee donation that directly supports the charity that oversees the gardens.
Upon arrival, guests will be greeted by an expert local guide. Guides share fascinating stories, legends, and myths about this sacred historical location. The guides are some of the best in Hawaii, and bring to life the secrets of the gardens: natural habitats, nature, relics, private waterfall, natural swimming pool, rainforest, caves, and more.