Best Hikes in Maui

Best Hikes in Maui
James Wheeler

If you are planning to visit Hawaii this time, then there is no way that you should miss these best hikes in Maui. If you don’t know what’s so special about Hawaii then let me tell you, Hawaii offers its visitors splendid views of beaches, landscapes. The top highlights of the Hawaii hike are traveling through rough volcanoes on your feet, rainforests, and waterfalls. If you are visiting Hawaii then keep these best hikes on Maui on your list to get the most out of your trip. 

Best hikes in Maui

Pipiwai hike

Distance – 1.8 miles (one side) 

Difficulty- moderate 

Popular for – waterfalls and bamboo trees

Fees – entrance fees ( $30 for car) 

Pipiwai is one of the hidden gems and best hikes in Maui. The 1.8 miles hike is full of greenery and waterfalls. The hike starts from the parking lot. You will see a board sign for pipiwai that directs you to the right path. This hike was not a popular hike in Maui earlier but now more and more people are visiting this trail. The beautiful pipiwai hike lies in East Maui where the weather is a bit unpredictable. Rain is a common issue when you are visiting this trail, so always prepare in advance for that. 

Though the hike is only 1.8 miles (one side), however as you begin your hike and walk for a few minutes, you will see the Seven Sacred pools. This is the first highlight of the hike, where the waterfall flows into the rugged big ocean, giving you a breathtaking view. The first-timers may think there are seven pools but in reality, there is not, though the view you get is priceless. 

Just after seven pools, you will pass the Makahiku Falls. Here you can stop and take a moment to appreciate the waterfall falling from 200 feet. It is one of the excellent views that give you a daring feeling which you want to capture in your device. 

During your hike, you will also pass Pools, where you can’t swim but only look at them and praise the moment. The reason why swimming is not allowed in pools is because of multiple lawsuits, as many people have lost their lives during cliff jumping, bridge jumping. You will also see many warning signboards throughout the hike, which advise visitors to stay alert from flash floods, rockfall, etc. Hiking doesn’t seem like a dangerous activity but hiking also has dangers that every hiker should be aware of. 

Further, the hike involves hiking uphill on Stair steps surrounded by tree forest. Here you will come across a giant banyan tree, a big tree with spread roots. This is the unique tree in the whole forest that excites many climbers. 

After that, there is a bridge which lands you into the forest of bamboo trees. Here you the only visible thing is bamboo. Here the trail is up, flat, and down. The muddy part of the trail includes stone steps, which are super useful for grip during rain. 

Just a couple minutes walk and there is a river crossing which has flowing water. The speed may increase during rain, as the water level elevates. And just after crossing the river, you will be offered a beautiful view of the waterfall. The big waterfall that is falling from 200, makes the hike worth it. So, if you are into waterfalls and love the greenery then this hike is for you.

Gear and essential to pack for pipiwai hike

  • Wear waterproof shoes or sandals for this hike as the hike includes some muddy and wet parts which can make your regular boots wet. Besides that, it’s a simple hike. 
  • Bring waterproof hiking shoes for this hike as the hike is muddy and your shoes may get wet. You can also pack a pair of other shoes or sandals to wear after a hike. 
  • Bring mosquito repellent because of humidity mosquitos are very common. 
  • Bring a water bottle with you always. 

Lao valley hike

Distance – 0.6 miles

Difficulty – easy

Popular for – history and culture

Fees – $5 for car parking

One of the popular and best hikes in Maui Iao valley hike is all about culture, history, greenery, and gardens. If you want to know a little bit about the culture or history of Hawaii then this hike is best for you.

Loa valley is located West of Wailuku, the state Park that is spread across 4000 acres.

What’s best about this hike is that it is accessible by car and fit for family and explorers.

There are different routes to visit the valley. Choose any route from your current location and you will come to the parking lot.

When you enter the park, you have two options. Either cross the footbridge or choose the descent route that will lead to the exhibition area. Here, If you share some interest in history then, you will get to know the history of the valley and how the valley used to be in the past.

If you choose the footbridge route, the first thing you may see is kids playing in the pool(or jumping in the pool).

Just passing the kids, again you will have two routes, one that passes over the bridge and the other from down.

Choosing the first option (up) takes you close to the needle deck. Loa needle is one of the main highlights of the hike. It is a valuable place because, during the battle of kepaniwai, it’s the loa needle that had to be retreated from Kamehameha I. It not only has historic value but is also one of the best places to take photographs.

The second option (down route) takes you to the needle stream and nature loop. You will also see many other short trails here. You can enter the valley by following some of these trails, but unfortunately, some of them are prohibited and have signs of no to follow them.

If you are a fan of swimming or bathing outdoor then, there are pools and places before the park where you can do this. It is not unusual to see some of the locals around there. They may not look humble at first, but you should be respectful to them.

If you want to have a picnic during your hike with your family or kids then do visit Kepaniwai Park Heritage Gardens, which you will pass on the road to a valley. The park represents the history of many cultures like Hawaii, maui, America, Chinese, Japanese, etc. But does it make your backpack too large, then look at What should you not take on a hike? 

Loa valley hike is one of the hikes in Maui where you may get wet as the rain is common here. It may be one of the wettest hikes in Maui.

The best time to visit the loa valley is during April or May because there is a clear sky and no fog to block the vision. Moreover, the crowd is also less during these months. 

Haleakala Sliding Sands hike

Difficulty- difficult

Length – 11 miles

Popular for – landscapes

Fees – $30 for vehicle entrance 

Sliding sands hike is one of the best hikes on Maui, dedicated to serious hikers. It takes 6 to 7 hours to complete this journey. The hike includes 3,600 feet ascent and 8000 elevation gain. 

Mostly the hike is decent and later level up at the end. The hike is mostly downhill and is one of the hikes in Maui where you get to see the beautiful landscapes throughout the hike. This is a rough hike with stones, ups, and downs. 

If you want an easy hike then, you can start from sliding sand and end your hike in halenmaui trail. But if you want some challenge then you should start your hike from halenmaui trail and end it on sliding sands. 

The hike for sliding sands starts from the parking lot. The trailhead to sliding sands is located on route 378. It is just in front of the entrance gate. 

The beginning part of the hike follows along the Haleakala Highway. Hike for a few minutes and you will see the Haleakala Crater view. 

Further, as you continue your hike, the trail descends and lands you into a pictorial landscape. You can take pictures here. As you continue, you will see cinder cornescornes,  and volcanic landscape.  

As you move further, you will start seeing greenery as the trail levels up and gets rough and rocky. 

One of the highlights of the hike is a plant called Silverwoods. This plant is special as it only blooms once in its 90 years lifespan. If you see blooming sloverwoods then you can consider yourself lucky. 

As you complete the 4 miles of the hike, you will get to see the first trail junction of the hike. To continue further on the halenmaui trail, you have to take the left route. 

As you continue, you will see the black sand which makes the walking process slow. For the 2 miles, you have to continue at the same pace until you pass the black sand. 

After that, you have to hike up to the helali cinder cone. Here is the trail mau challenge as it’s sandy here. However, the view at the end is spectacular. You will get to see the whole view of the trail from the top. 

Just at the side of the cinder cone, there comes the next junction of the hike. Here also, you have to take a left to continue on the helimau trail. Further, the trail gets flatten , and soon you will reach another junction. 

Junction has two trail routes. Both trails meet after some time, so it doesn’t matter which one you take. Further, the hike includes walking over the volcanic landscape. 

Further, you have to climb up the rim of Carter. As the journey continues, you will reach the holya cabin. Further, the hikes include walking through grass fields and volcano. 

After passing the grass, you will reach the rim of the Carter. From here the trail starts elevating to the Haleakala Crater.  This part of the hoke is challenging and at the same time offers you great views of Carter. To get the great view Carter, reach there early in the day as the sky is clear. 

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Waihee Ridge hike

Popular for – mountain scenery

Length – 5 miles (round trip) 

Difficulty – moderate

Fees- no fees (free ) 

located in the northwest part of the Maui Waiheke is one of the best hikes on Maui with spectacular scenic views of mountains, distant waterfalls, and oceans. This is one hike that you don’t want to miss when you are in Maui. 

The trail has many switchbacks throughout the hike. The hike is a bit challenging for beginners, but don’t worry you can conquer it.

The hike begins from the trailhead. You will see the signboard at the beginning of the parking lot that leads you to the trail. 

Overall, it’s a short hike with little challenge and rewards at the end. As you enter the trailhead, the hike follows the same trail till the end. 

As you begin your hike, you have to walk your way up on steep terrain. Further, the trail gets flat for some time, until you make your way into the forest. As you make your way inside the forest, the trail again starts elevating. 

After you make your way out of the forest, you will be offered a great view of the coastline. You can stop and take the photos here. Further, the trail makes you walk on a muddy route that is narrow. 

Just after completing the challenge, you will be offered a great view at the end. Take your time here and enhance the beauty of nature. After that head back, to the parking lot, which follows the downhill path. While heading back, be alert as the trail may get slippery, if you are hiking during rain or fog. 

When you decide to hike this trail, make sure you start your hike as early as possible. The parking is very limited here, so if you get late you get no spot. 

Essentials for this hike

  • Trekking poles 
  • Hiking shoes
  • Sunglasses and hat
  • Rain jacket for rain
  • Small and light backpack
  • Mobile phone for emergency and photos
  • Snacks to fuel up the body

Read: Do you need a sleeping bag with an underquilt? 

Hoapili hike 

Distance – 6 miles (roundtrip) 

Difficulty –  moderate

Popular for – volcano and lava fields

Fees – free

Located in South Maui, hoapili hike is one of the best hikes on Maui. The hike is full of spectacular views of La Perouse Bay to the scenic view of the coast. Moreover, you will hike across the lava fields of Maui. If you are visiting Hawaii then this hike should be definitely on your list. 

To conquer this hike you need to get to la Perouse bay by car. The bus is not a good option here as you need to walk for more than 6 miles to reach the bay. 

Your hike starts as soon as you reach the Perouse bay marks,  where you will see the parking lot to park your car. But before hike eats something. 

There are different ways to do this hike, some are shorter than others. Though the shorter hike is not that short as it can easily take 3 hours to complete the hike, even more, if you want to stretch your hike further. 

There are three ways to do this hike, either choose the first which will take you to Kanaio Beach, or the second one to Hanomanioa Lighthouse. The last one is to hike both at once, for that you have to hike to side trail which will take you to Hanomanioa Light, and then further to kanaio beach. 

The first section of your hike towards the coast will feature the lava fields with sands. The rock walls around is another noticeable thing at the starting of the hike. As the hike continues, the trail takes you through a section of kiawe tree which is close to the shoreline. 

Hike for a few more minutes and you will come to expande of lava. Further, as you continue on the Hoapili Trail,  you have to walk on rough and hard lava, which is a little bit challenging, but not that hard. 

Walking further for more than a mile, you will see a view of Keawanaku Beach. If you want to go near the beach, take the fiant trail that divides from the hoapili trail. This may take some extra time but it’s worth it. Spend some time on the beach, eat and take pictures. 

After exploring the beach, continue your further journey along the hoapili trail. And as you walk for minutes, here comes another lava section. 

Further, the trail starts to emerge in the hoapili trail. But during that, you will see another highlight of the trail, here you see some ancient sites and forests. 

Before continuing your hike further, you should take some time to explore Kanaio Beach.  To go there, again you have to follow the fiant trail. The grayish sand of the beach will let you know that you arrived on the kanaio beach. 

There is another beach which shares less than a mile distance from here.You will find big white coral chunks everywhere on this beach, all ng with some ancient sites that are astonishing. 

The further hike is full of amazing views, but to explore more on Hoapili Trail. It will take more than one day as the trail continues for miles. 

Gear and essentials to pack for this hike

  • Bring sturdy hiking boots as the hike is going to be rough. 
  • Sun protection is very important to prevent sweat and sunburn. 
  • Bring plenty of water. 
  • Small backpack if you are going for a day hike. Carry some extra water in the water bladder. 
  • Bring some dry snacks. 


Kapalua coastal hike

Popular for – snorkeling and beach

Length- 3.5 miles (roundtrip) 

Difficulty- easy

Fees – parking fees ($10) 

Kapalua is one of the best hikes in Maui for families. Kapalua trail is located in the North West of maui,  with exposure to wilderness and lava fields. 

The hike to Kapalua starts from the Kapalua Bay, from the parking lot. It is a short hike of 3.5 miles roundtrip. And it takes 2 to 3 hours to complete this hike. This is one easy and best hike in Maui for kids and family. 

The trail travels along the ocean which gives beautiful views of the coastline. If you are hiking with kids or family then, you don’t have to complete the whole trail, that’s what a lot of people do. 

You can swim or take a sunbathe on the beach, or spend time with your family and take pictures.

Moreover, the trail is also flat throughout the hike, which makes it hikeable for all age groups. 

As discussed above the hike starts from the parking lot, but because it’s near to many hotels, it’s hard to get a spot in the parking lot.

After finding the spot to park your car, follow the downward path that leads to Kapalua Bay Beach. After passing the tunnel, you will reach the beach. 

The trail is well marked and easy to follow, though to explore more, you have to make an effort to find different trails throughout this hike. 

There are signs and instructions for visitors. Some signs also describe the animals and birds on the trail. 

As you arrive at the kapalua beach, you will see the turtles resting on the sand. You can also do snorkeling. If you want to go snorkeling, carry gear for it in advance. 

After exploring the beach, you can continue your hike on the main trail. As you continue your hike, the trail turns into a sand trail. There is two one trail that departs from here, on the left.

This is a short trail that leads you to the Namalu Bay coastline. The view here is breathtaking, take a moment here and just mesmerize the moment. You will also see people doing cliff jumping here and you can join them if you are a Daredevil. 

As you continue on the main trail, the trail takes you to Ironwood Cliffs. Here the trail gets Rocky because of rugged lava. 

Further, the trail takes you to the point where you can head down to the beach named Oneloa Bay. Or you can keep walking straight on the trail. 

I suggest you take the opportunity to visit one loa beach, as you get a peaceful vibe here, with big waves in the ocean. 

To get to the main trail ( ), head to the other entrance route on oneloa beach. Just getting to the main trail, you have another option to take a short trail which is Dragon’s Teeth Access Trail.

The name of the trail justifies the view you get at the end of this trail which is a giant lava rock formation(a shape of dragon teeth). 

After exploring the dragon teeth, head back to the main trail. Further, on the main trail, takes you to the last section of the trail which is D.T. Fleming Park. Here you can make your way to the beach to explore the ocean. 

Gear and essentials for this hike

  • Running or trail runners. You can also wear hiking sandals and take them out whenever you want, like on the beach. 
  • Sunscreen is a must if you are going to stop at the beach. As it’s sunny and humid there, lip balm will prevent dry lips. 
  • The bathing suit is a must if you are going to swim in the water. Along with that don’t forget to towel

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