While ocean breezes and miles of sand bring throngs of visitors to the coasts of Hawaii throughout the year, those seeking more adventure and sightseeing will find these Maui Hikes fully worthwhile.
From an easygoing hour or two of venturing off the beaten path through natural wildlife, to a full overnight camping trip among the elements, there are many possibilities for exploration, recreation, and fun.
As the saying goes, “Not all those who wander are lost”, so enjoy the adventure as you find your way through one of many exceptional Maui hikes.
Whether you see rolling green hills, oceans off in the distance, Instagram-worthy waterfalls, volcanic craters, desert plants, high grasses, or incredible trees, these Maui hikes are trails worth your time.
Explore beyond the resort grounds or visit on your road to Hana exploration for a brief break from the car ride. You’re bound to enjoy the wondrous nature of the great Maui hikes!
Maui Hikes That Should Not Be Missed
In East Maui, this is a 3.4-mile, very popular trail to complete in Hana, Maui. The waterfall marks the pinnacle of this hike, whereas the drive out to the trail head is very enjoyable as well.
It is a gradual uphill, and most report the hike takes roughly 2-3 hours to complete, with significant sightseeing throughout the trail.
Care to explore in a bamboo forest? Pipiwai Trail is for you!
It is heavily shaded, and even if it rains, you’ll enjoy your time on this beautiful trail. It is easy to walk, with boardwalk and stone steps mixed in with stream crossings and roots toward the Waimoku Falls.
Many pick this particular one of the Maui hikes for its glorious waterfall, but beyond a hike and the Road to Hana to arrive, it comes at a price: $25 to park at the National Park grounds. That being said, it is a top rated trail among visitors and especially worthwhile.
‘Iao Valley State Park
Located in Central Maui, this lush and gorgeous trail is a well-maintained pathway that leads down to a beautiful valley and viewpoint of the needle. You’ll see land surrounding canyon walls that Mark Twain once referred to as “the Yosemite of the Pacific”. The trail itself is fairly easy to complete, not offering the challenges of a true hiking adventure, but very prominent scenery for a brief journey.
Craving a more rigorous hike, once you’ve reached the valley and seen the needle? There is a “secret trail” referred to as the ‘Iao Tableland Trail, where you’ll find incredible 360 degree views of the valley towards Wailuku.
There are roughly 40 stairs to take, but the trail itself is less than a mile and can be completed in as little as 30 minutes. This is a family-friendly hike, with no intense hiking boots needed, and suitable for all ages. It is not far from the airport, and many visit before leaving Maui.
Sliding Sands Trail
Keoneheehee Trail at Haleakala National Park is where you’ll find Sliding Sands Trail, at the summit of the crater. Eclipsing 10,000 feet, you’ll be hiking above the clouds. The terrain is relatively easy to traverse, and from the list of Maui hikes here, this one is only moderately difficult.
The trail is 6 miles in length along the base of the crater, heading downward to the Kapalaoa Cabin. The trail becomes less strenuous at lower elevation into a grassy area that is relatively flat. You’ll see unique plants, birds, and animals. Reaching the end is a pinnacle point for an unbelievable sunset. You’ll then turn around to hike upward the same way you came down.
This hike has little to no shade, and it is advised to bring sunscreen and waterproof rain gear. Altitude may be a consideration for some hikers, so those with respiratory conditions may want to bring devices to assist in breathing.
When it comes down to Maui hikes, waterfalls are the name of the game, and Waihou Spring has quite a few small ones to count. This trail is not often explored by larger groups of tourists, and locals enjoy the tame loops of this back-and-forth journey.
The trail is relatively flat overall, but there is a steep climb down, and back up, at one point. You’ll traverse switchbacks to the bottom and come across several tubes and water trickling down rocks. At the end of the hike, you’ll find incredible lava caves, so bring a flashlight to fully explore their wonder. It may be muddy, so consider bringing appropriate footwear.
The hike itself goes by pretty quickly, with lots of nature and wildlife to observe. The difficulty is graded moderate with some steep grades to cross and switchbacks to go over, so it would not be recommended for small children.
Many Maui hikes offer great scenery, but if wild flowers and bird watching are your forte, you won’t want to miss Hosmer Grove. Located near Kula in the Haleakala Wilderness, the trail itself is just over half a mile long and a great place to have brief exercise after visiting the nearby Haleakala volcano.
The trail itself is a very short loop, but you’ll learn quite a bit from the park’s signage about the wildlife and trees in the area. Viewing points are affixed with large metal binoculars to give a close-up examination. There are picnic tables available for resting or enjoying lunch.
Surround yourself in the wanderlust of Hosmer Grove’s quaint forest on a lovely trail walk. You’ll be immersed in the spectacular scents of the forest – fragrances like eucalyptus, peppermint, and more will leave you wishing you could bottle up the mystical scent from one of the great Maui hikes you explored!
Bring sneakers for this moderately difficult hike, where you’ll find visitors of all ages flocking to find the two blowholes worth searching for. There are many signs warning of the danger of the blowholes, which can suck you in and be fatal. Proceed with caution!
In addition to the blowholes that are most noteworthy when visiting the Nakalele Blowhole Trail, there’s also lava rock under acid erosion, a true sight to see. You’ll find rock formations, a massive lava field that looks like it was straight out of a science fiction movie!
There is minimal shade on this trail, and the path is fairly rocky. The view are beautiful, and where else can you find a blowhole than on one of the most unique Maui hikes there is?
Kahakapao Loop Trail
At Makawao Forest Reserve, you’ll find a widely accessible trail with east and west loops and a map station with directions. It is easy to follow along the forested hiking path. The trail itself is very runnable, if you desire a faster pace when visiting great Maui hikes. There are even mountain bikers along a separate trail, so be alert.
The plants and flora at the Kahakapao Loop are most noteworthy. You’ll come across fragrant eucalyptus, Cook pine, beautiful ferns, even mushrooms, and more. It is well shaded throughout the trail, and while you’ll find some hilly points, it is easy to complete. The hike is at least 6 miles, and will take 1.5-2.5 hours, depending on how fast or slow you take your pace.
Also known as King’s Highway, the Hoapili Trail will take you to Hanomanioa Lighthouse and Kamanamana Beach in Kihei, Maui. The 4-mile trail is part of the Ahihu Kinau Natiural Area Reserve, a perfect destination for one of the greatest views among Maui hikes!
There is a remarkable peninsula with full 360 views of the southern coastline and Haleakala. You will walk past many secluded beaches, with great opportunities for snorkeling. Some hikers report seeing spinner dolphins in the bay at the start, and wild goats in the fields! That being said, the hike is fairly easy, with some difficult footing.
You will need good shoes for the Hoapili Trail as it is a hot trek over dried lava. Like many of the other hikes, be sure you pack plenty of water, good hat, and sunscreen!
Located on the North Shore, this popular hike includes several waterfalls and features a fun river crossing. Bring your swimsuit for this one!
The upper trails are past a gate marked “experienced hikers only”, but this trail is still moderate to easy, with picturesque waterfalls and fewer people taking the route. The trail itself is a paved dirt road, very easy to traverse even with children.
While there is a river crossing that some may find rigorous, the hike overall is very easy and a great place to stretch your legs on the road to Hana. It is a fairly popular trail, with crowds in early mornings and families on their trip to Hana.
Waihee Ridge Trail
Also in West Maui, this steep trail provides breathtaking views once you reach the ridge. It offers some rigorous challenge on the way up, but stunning views as a great reward. It is a heavily traveled route, and visitors recommend arriving early to ensure you can find parking and also avoid the heavy sun, as the Waihee Ridge trail does not offer significant shade.
Most visitors complete the trail in approximately 2 hours. The hike itself is not too rigorous for most adventurous children to complete. If you find yourself racing to finish one of these great Maui hikes, you’re in luck with Waihee Ridge trail: as the route back is primarily downhill, you can make your way back down much more quickly!
Planning to island hop and visit Oahu on the same trip? Spend some time pampering yourself at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel or exploring Oahu beaches. And don’t forget that Oahu is a foodie paradise – there is a lot of great food in Oahu to eat.
Additional Information for Maui:
- Getting there: the primary airport for Maui, which is also the main hub for long haul flights, is Kahului Airport. On the west coast you will find Kapalua Airport and on the east coast in Hana, Hana Airport. Both of the latter airports are commuter and significantly smaller. BUT if you don’t want to drive the Road to Hana or up to the east coast from Kahului, these are options. I have driven the road to Hana and I can tel you first hand, if you easily get car sick or cannot deal with essentially three hours of twists and turns up and down mountain, fly. Because as they say, what goes up, must come down.
- When is the best time to visit Maui? Most people visit during summer and Christmas breaks but those are not the best times to visit – that is just when people are off. For best weather, least crowds and best prices, you should aim to visit this Hawaiian Island during march thru May and September thru November. November can be rainy, just check the weather. Over 2.5 million+ people visit Maui a year and that is expected to grow.
- Getting around: if you are planning to do multiple Maui hikes during your visit, it would be wise to just rent a car. Sure, you could use Uber or Lyft, but that is going to add up very quickly and you won’t have anywhere to put your stuff when you get to your destination. If you book in advance, you can usually find good deals. A lot of people like to rent jeeps or 4×4 vehicles. If you know you want to rent one of those types, book in advance to guarantee you can actually get one and to possibly get a lower rate, because they can be expensive.
- Cell service and WiFi – if you are from the USA, your phone should work in Maui. I utilize Sprint as my carrier and have never had any issues on the island. Additionally wherever you end up staying: hotel, resort, etc – they should have WiFi available for you to use.
Things to pack for your hike:
- You will need a water bottle to stay hydrated. I highly recommend bringing your own so that you don’t have to keep buying single use plastics AND you can get a water bottle that holds 32 ounces, which is over twice what standard store purchased waters are.
- For carrying your items I HIGHLY recommend that Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65 backpack. One of the primary benefits of this backpack its its anti-gravity feature. It actually makes you feel like you have less weight that you are carrying, making your hike easier. Additionally, it can store up to 3 LITERS of water.
- One thing you absolutely do NOT want to forget is a first aid kit! You never know when something will happen. Branches have been known to jump out and cut people, trust me, I know. It is far better to air on the side of caution in situations where you could get hurt.
- You will want to bring a camera with you to capture all your epic memories on your hike. And did I mention how STUNNING Maui is? These memories will last forever.
- If you are on a longer hike and need some snacks, I would recommend these protein bars as they can keep you full until you return.
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