Iao Needle Lookout Trail
For those looking for volcanic features shaped by erosion look no further than the Iao Needle Lookout Trail (in Iao Valley State Monument). Be aware there is a $5 entrance fee per vehicle but Iao Valley should be on everyone’s list who visits Maui. This park is well known to locals for swimming and just hanging out with the family. The trail itself is relatively easy, making it suitable for families. The reward for enduring the hike is an impressive feature known as the Needle, an amazing volcanic ridge landscaped by erosion to create what looks like a sharp point covered in jungle vegetation. While there, be sure to explore the rest of what the park has to offer. There are botanical gardens full of tropical plants and beautiful picnic locations.
For those who enjoy lush, green landscapes, then the Plum Trail in Polipoli Recreation Area should be on your list to hike. Polipoli is magical and located on the slopes of the famed volcano Haleakala. It’s a beautiful place filled with stunning local flora and fauna. If you’re visiting the right time of year, the trail is lined with local plum trees.
Be cautious, if you do not know your plants just keep to the trail and enjoy the amazing views of the ocean and the Island of Maui through the trees. On this trail, you will at times feel as though you’re hiking in the Rocky Mountains and then suddenly the view of the ocean will open up.
Bamboo Forest Trail
There are two bamboo forests on Maui, but the Bamboo Forest Trail one to visit is in Na’ili’ili Haele. The Bamboo Forest Trail has spectacular waterfalls and captivating swimming holes.
- First, you’ll park on the road and traverse your way through a bamboo forest. It’s easy to get lost here so remember which way you came and which you intend to go to.
- Then there will be a river crossing. Be mindful of the fact that some people have become stuck on the other side of this river due to heavy rains, so pay attention to the weather. Follow the stream and you will meet your first waterfall.
- Keep going and climb up the muddy rock face with a rope left by the locals next to the second waterfall. After a short hike, there is a third which also doubles as an amazing place to swim.
- If you climb along the left side of that fall and hike a little further you will be greeted with a swim. Once you cross the river you will be greeted a short hike to the fourth waterfall.
The beauty will take your breath away. This hike takes some effort, but the serenity will be a worthy reward.
Waihe’e Ridge Trail
The Waihe’e Ridge Trail (in the West Maui Forest Reserve) takes you up Maui mountains, offering great views of lively vegetation, waterfalls, and valleys.
From the parking lot, you’re greeted with a steep climb which then winds through a forest littered with eucalyptus. Eventually, you make it high enough to see the valleys below and they are a sight to behold! The ridge drops away abruptly off to the sides so be sure to watch your step. All the while you’re surrounded by breathtaking views of the jungle and the ocean. Since the Waihe’e Ridge Trail resides on the windward side of Maui, it tends to receive a lot of rain, so wear appropriate clothing and footwear (and possibly a hiking stick).