Sometimes the best way to see Maui is on foot! Maui offers spectacular opportunities for hiking on every area of the island.
The Pipiwai Trail
The Pipiwai Trail is off the Road to Hana (Highway 360) between mile markers 6 and 7. It meanders through spectacular Hawaiian scenery, past the 200 foot Makahiku Falls with the “Infinity Pool” at the top, several step-falls, and culminates at the base of the tremendous 400-foot Waimoku Falls. The trails are long but are easily accessible from the parking lot, and traverse a wide range of vistas and scenic stops. The first half-mile of the trail is steep in places, but still navigable for most casual hikers. Along the path, well-maintained boardwalks wind through many diverse scenes, though a bamboo forest, and past a gigantic banyan tree. The Bamboo Forest is about one mile’s hike along the trail and carries on for about a half a mile. It can be a long and challenging hike, but well worth the effort.
The Kula Botanical Garden
The Kula Botanical Garden encompasses 8 acres of unique native Hawaiian and imported plants, rock formations, a covered bridge, meandering stream, waterfalls, koi pond, aviary and a carved Tiki exhibit. Plants are labeled, and a map is available for self-guided tours in the Garden’s gift shop. The Garden was designed with a botanical focus that continues to govern the plant selection and placement. Many plants are selected for their educational potential or to preserve native specimens.
The Ke’anae Arboretum
The Ke’anae Arboretum is a charming arboretum and botanical garden built on ancient leveled terraces. Located along the meandering Pi’inau’au Stream, with over 150 labeled plants on six acres of land, the Featured displays include blue marble trees, lobster claw plants and a grove of Maui’s famous rainbow eucalyptus trees. While you hike the half-mile length of the Arboretum, you’ll also find different types of taro, gingers, hibiscus, papaya, and a mix of native and non-native Hawaiian trees.
Twins falls is located a short walk away from Mile Marker 2 on the Hana Highway, about 40-45 minutes from Kahului. Several other small falls are located at this stop, but the primary falls runs over a cave-like overhang that is richly festooned with local flora. These accessible, picturesque waterfalls offer a large shallow pool at their base. You can take a relaxing swim, or swing from a long rope into the cool water, when the water is deep enough. The many hiking trails around the falls offer many photo and exploratory opportunities, including a hand-dug rock tunnel, and an old rock masonry weir.
Wai‘anapanapa State Park
The caves of Wai’anapanapa are believed to be the scene of a tragic legend that ended in the murder of Princess Popo’alaea. She ran away from Chief Ka’akea due to his jealousy and cruelty. She and her attendant hid in these caves until her reflection was seen by Ka’akea. Every spring, for one night, red shrimp cover the cave floor, turning it blood red. Some believe that this annual event marks the anniversary of Ka’akea’s gruesome murder of Princess Popo’alaea and her friend. Today, visitors can enter the caves and even swim in the cool anchialine pools of the Wai’anapanapa Caves, fresh water pools that float in a layer above the heavier salt water that comes up from the Pacific Ocean below.
Make sure you bring water, towels, snacks, and a first aid kit, and watch for warning signs, no matter where you hike. Hiking trails can be long, they can be unsupervised, and there may be hidden dangers. Don’t stand under tall waterfalls. Even a small rock can cause serious injury if it falls from several hundred feet. Watch for muddy patches after rainfall.