5 Great Maui Hikes for the Outdoor Enthusiast

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waiehee ridge trail
Maui isn’t just beaches and resorts. There are some world-class hikes that are bound to stay in your memory banks much longer than other experiences you will have here. We have assembled a list of our favorite hikes located all over the island. No matter where you are staying on the island (preferably in one of our condos!), you will be within a thirty minute drive to one of these hikes, so get out and try one! If you are able to cross all five off your list, let us know which your favorite was!

Kings Trial – If you are vacationing on the south side of the island in Kihei, Wailea, or Makena, take the drive out to La Perouse Bay. The drive through the black lava fields will be unlike anything you have experienced in your life. You will eventually come to a dead end where you can park. If you walk down to the ocean you will see a trail that leads off to the left along the coast. You can walk along this coastal lava trail and enjoy amazing views, spot an occasional wild goat, and even go shell hunting on deserted beaches.

Pipiwai TrailThis trail literally has it all! If you can only do one hike on Maui, then this should be it; and if you plan to do the road to Hana, this should be on your itinerary. The trail starts with a nice walk through a rainforest environment. Along the way you will pass rain pools and streams that you can swim in if you get too hot. You will cross bridges that pass over small waterfalls and eventually get to a thick bamboo forest. As you walk on an elevated man-made path through the steep bamboo forest, you will be surprised how dark the environment gets. The tall bamboo shoots block out almost all sunlight. At the end of the trail you are rewarded with views of Waimoku Falls, which is made up of a thin streak of water that falls down an extremely steep cliff.

Waihee Ridge Trail – Located on the north west side of the island, this trail is definitely the most physically demanding of the five we have selected. The trail starts with a steep paved hill which will have you grasping for air, but then levels off through a forest of pine trees and tropical plants. Once through the forest, start weaving your way up the ridge of a mountain as you gaze down steep valleys on either side of you. There are countless scenic look-out points along the way where you can see Maui’s northern coastline below (pictured above). Many of the helicopter tours come in these same valleys, so in a sense you will get similar views for free! At one point of the hike you will climb man-made stairs that are yards away from awfully steep ravines.

Makawao Forest Reserve – Upcountry Maui is a hidden gem tourists normally wouldn’t associate with a tropical island. The town of Makawao seems as if it would be found in Montana or Colorado because of its cooler climate and cowboy influences. The Makawao Forest Reserve is an extension of this different yet beautiful environment. Walk along trails and mountain bike paths that carve through lush forests of eucalyptus trees, pine trees, and an assortment of tall thin trees you would expect to see in ski destinations. The environment really is unlike anything you will find anywhere else on Maui.

Kapalua Trail Hikes – When most people think of Kapalua, two things come to mind. The world class golf course that hosts a PGA event each January and the five star luxury resort by the name of Ritz Carlton. Few know that there is actually a pretty well-maintained hiking trail system in place. You can learn about the various trails on the Kapalua website, or stop in to the Kapalua pro shop and ask for trail maps. There is even a free shuttle that will take you from the pro shop up to the trail head.