Top 10 Hikes in Maui

Alexandra MitchellLast updated: July 13, 2016

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Top Ten Hikes In MauiWhen planning a vacation in Maui, it can be overwhelming trying to decide what activities to choose from. With so many adventurous offerings, how do you know which is the best hike for you on Maui? Take the stress out of your vacation planning, and check out Pride of Maui’s Top 10 Hikes in Maui article. Here, you will learn all the awesome details about each hike; how long it is, if it’s appropriate for children, and where on Maui it’s located. Discover unique eco-zones in Hawaii, plan a day hike or an overnight camping trip, and feel amazing knowing that you have the most thorough information available. Waste less time on vacation, and maximize on your valuable time in paradise. With real facts and the best research available at your fingertips, enjoy the local expert knowledge provided below. Happy hiking, Malamo Pono and A Hui Ho!

Top 10 Hikes in Maui

#1 ‘Iao Valley State Park, Central Maui, 1/2-1.8 miles

Iao Valley Iao Valley

‘Iao Valley State Park always provides a beautiful day trip activity on Maui. This historic state park is home to the infamous ‘Iao Needle, and the site of the Battle of Kepaniwai in 1790, where King Kamehameha I conquered Maui’s warriors in pursuit of uniting all Hawaiian Islands. Within this 10 mile long, 4,000 acre park, guests, families and fellow hikers can explore lush scenery and native Hawaiian flora and fauna by way of a paved pathway. The park is known as a spiritual rainforest full of mellow hiking trails, waterfalls, swimming holes, and BBQ and picnic areas.

‘Iao Valley State Park gates are open from 7am-7pm, with a $1 donation entrance fee per person, and $5 for parking. For the best view of the ‘Iao Needle, arrive early morning before the clouds start settling in the mountain valley. This is a perfect place on Maui to visit with kids!

For more information, please visit Iao Valley State Park in Central Maui online.

#2 Twin Falls, North Shore, 1/2-2 miles

Twin Falls is located just a 20 minute drive East from the Historic Town of Paia on Maui’s North Shore. This site is found easily off Hana Highway, marked by a gravel parking lot, and an amazing Maui-style snack stand. It is possible to book a guided tour through Twin Falls, but it is easily navigated on your own. This hike is perfect for those traveling with children, with a capability to visit many different tropical waterfalls and fresh water swimming holes.

Twin Falls Twin Falls

All pathways are just dirt and gravel, so it is highly suggested to bring good walking shoes. The main pathway splits into both a left and right fork, offering visitors options for which way to explore. Ho’olawa Li’iii’i (the left fork), is the footpath that leads to the most popular waterfall at Twin Falls. Via the left fork, you will come to an old rock masonry irrigation ditch. Just continue to walk over the cement blocks or through the stream, and you will finally come to the picturesque “Caveman Swimming Hole and Falls.” Ho’olawa Nui (the right fork), is also accessed off the main pathway, and leads hikers through 2 hand-dug irrigation ditches, and finally to another set of waterfalls great for swimming and photo ops.

When venturing to Twin Falls on Maui, make sure to bring good walking shows, bathing suits and towels, and bug spray for hikers prone to mosquito bites. Always exercise caution when jumping off rocks, and watch your step for tree roots sticking out of the walkways! There are no fees for entering or parking at Twin Falls.

Learn more at Twin Falls on Maui.

#3 Makahiku Falls-Oheo Gulch, Kipahulu,1-2 miles

Makahiku Falls is one out of the two waterfall hikes out of the Oheo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools). This is the shorter option, and is approximately one mile each way if you hike it completely.

Oheo Gulch Oheo Gulch

The best way to experience Kipahulu and the 7 Sacred Pools is by camping overnight at the Oheo Gulch Haleakala National Park, adjacent to this awesome East Maui locale. In this way, guests can experience waking up in East Maui splendor, and take a dip in a fresh water pool. Seven Sacred Pools is a stream of fresh water swimming holes that begin in a high rainforest in East Maui Mountain valleys, and trickle one by one all the way to sea level.

The trail to Makahiku Falls is accessed on the right side of Hana Highway across from the Haleakala Rangers Camp. As with all jungle and waterfall hikes in Maui, hikers must exercise caution when walking through muddy pathways, and when walking across stones and rocks that may be covered in slippery moss. This hike is great for novice to advanced hikers, and for the romantics that are looking for that oh-so-amazing waterfall adventure in Maui. This hike is not appropriate for those traveling with children. There are no fees for entering Makahiku Falls, but there are fees associated with parking/camping at the Oheo Gulch Haleakala National Park.

For more information, please visit Makahiku Falls online.

#4 Waihou Spring Trail Loop, Olinda-Upcountry, 1-2.4 miles

The Waihou Spring Trail Loop is located in Olinda, Maui, accessed by driving all the way up Piiholo Road. Guests can park directly outside of the trail entrance, where a pathway immediately leads hikers through a mystical baby Cypress, Eucalyptus, and native Hawaiian Koa and Halapepe forest. This is an old time favorite hiking location in Upcountry Maui, and an undoubtedly gorgeous secret spot. It’s almost unreal that a location like the Waihou Spring Trail Loop is found on Maui. It is a perfect example of how diverse Maui’s topography can be.

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Upon entering this hiking trail on Maui, visitors are guided through a complete loop that follows through an upper section to a ridge, then to a lookout point that towers above Maui’s North Shore coastline. The lookout is marked by a park bench, and for the avid hikers, the lower trail continues from the ridge down switchbacks to the Waihou Spring, a rock grotto and mystical cave setting. The Waihou Spring Trail Loop is open from sunrise to sunset 7 days a week. This hike is great for those with children, with an exception to the lower trail to the Waihou Spring, where hikers are definitely advised to exercise extreme caution. There are no fees for entering or parking at the Waihou Spring Trail Loop.

For more information, please visit Waihou Spring Trail Loop online.

#5 Polipoli Spring State Recreational Area & Forest Reserve, Kula, 1/2-7 miles pending trail

The Polipoli Spring State Recreational Area & Forest Reserve is one of the most magical areas in Maui to go hiking. Many different trails are available, ranging from .6 to 7 miles in length. Polipoli is elevated at an average 7,000 feet above sea level. The skyline offers gorgeous views of Maui’s South Shore and outer islands.

Poli Poli Poli Poli

When hiking through Polipoli, it is common to feel like you are one with the clouds, and suddenly transported into a misty fairyland full of baby Redwood trees and native Hawaiian flora and fauna. The Polipoli trail is an easy one for those traveling with children, maxing out at .6 miles crossing through the Haleakala Ridge Trail. The Redwood Trail encompasses 1.7 miles, winding through Redwoods, trail junctions and tree groves. It is also the trail that accesses further trails, including the Plum Trail (via the Tie Trail (.5 miles), and Boundary Trail). Please note that Polipoli Spring State Park is a network of trails, and shorter and longer options are available. Pay close attention to the trail signs while hiking. There are no fees for entering or parking at the Polipoli Spring Park.

For more information, please visit Polipoli Spring State Recreational Area & Forest Reserve online.

#6 Waihee Ridge Trail, Wailuku, 5 miles

The Waihee Ridge Trail is an incredible day trip for the experienced hiker. Here, venturesome guests climb uphill for about 1,500 feet until they reach Lanilili Peak. That being said, the hike is nearly all downhill on the way back down. Definitely wear some comfortable hiking shoes and bring lots of water for this adventure. This is not a hike suggested for children, unless you have some especially athletic teenagers.

Waihee Ridge Trail

Waihee Ridge TrailOnce visitors reach Lanilili Peak, there is a bench where you can view a massive waterfall in the distance, and overlook Waihee Valley, the blue Pacific Ocean, and a glimpse of the outer island of Lana’i depending on the weather. It is a sparsely populated area on Maui and a great option if you are thinking about venturing on a longer hike and want to test your hiking stamina. There are no fees for entering or parking at the Waihee Ridge Trail. 

For more information, please visit Waihee Ridge Trail in Wailuku online.

#7 Hosmer Grove & Supply Trails, Upper Kula, 2-5.9 miles

Situated at 6,750 feet, Hosmer Grove & Supply Trails offer some of the most fabulous hiking experiences and views in all of Maui. Hosmer Grove is accessed between the Haleakala National Park and Visitors Center. The trails and signage are both really well maintained, and the hikes are just as pleasant as can be. Here, hikers begin their experience with a fragrantly calming hike through Cedar, Spruce, Eucalyptus and Pine trees. Next, you can travel through shrublands, where hikers have popularly noted sighting four different types of Honeycreepers that are native to this area. The Hosmer Grove Nature Trail is accessed through the end of the road by the parking area. The 2.4 mile Supply Trail is accessed closer to the main road, marked by signs and a cattle guard gate.

Hosmer Grove

Hosmer GroveDefinitely plan ahead and get an early start for exploring the Hosmer Grove Trails. Bring water, lunch and snacks, comfortable shoes, and wear layered clothing because the temperature at this elevation can sometimes change quickly. This is a great hike for those that are okay with spending an entire day hiking. There are no fees for entering or parking at Hosmer Grove. 

For more information, please visit Hosmer Grove & Supply Trails online.

#8 Kaupo Gap Trail, Haleakala Crater-Kaupo, 8.3 miles

The Kaupo Gap Trail is for experienced hikers who are comfortable hiking from 6,400 feet in elevation to 300 ft above sea level. This trail can be hiked two ways, depending on whether you are hiking in or out of the Gap. It’s more popularly accessed ‘out-of-the-Gap’ from the Paliku Cabin at the Haleakala National Park. From here, hikers travel downhill through ancient lava formations, densely vegetated with dry brushlands, Hawaiian Kiawe and low native forests.

Haleakala

At approximately 3,800 feet, the trail crosses through the Haleakala National Park boundaries and continues into property which is privately owned by the Kaupo Ranch. The trail continues through rolling pastures, finally descending steeply to the coast. This hike offers some of the most breathtaking views of naturally undeveloped areas on Maui. The Pacific Ocean is always right below, offering picturesque viewpoints of South Maui areas and the Kings Trail. Fees are associated at the Haleakala Visitors Center pending all activities.

For more information, please visit Kaupo Gap Trail online.

#9 Haleakala- Sliding Sands Trail, Haleakala Crater, 10 miles

Haleakala’s Sliding Sands Trail is located within Haleakala National Park, and is the summit of the Crater. At 10,000 feet, near the Haleakala Visitors Center, this trail travels 6 miles through the south base of the Crater leading through loose cinder all the way to the Kapalaoa Cabin at approximately 7,400 feet. Just past the Kapalaoa Cabin, the trail mellows out into flat grassy areas as the topography naturally changes due to decreasing elevation. Sliding Sands continues another 4 miles to the Paliku Cabin, where hikers can then access the Kaupo Gap and hike all the way down to 300 feet above sea level.

Haleakala

Then, hikers can walk a bit further to the Kaupo Store and treat themselves to a icy cold beer. Sliding Sands is not suggested for small children or amateur hikers, but is great for those up for one of the best adventures on Maui. This is surely one that you and your friends will never forget! Fees are associated at the Haleakala Visitors Center pending all activities.

For more information, please visit Sliding Sands Trail on Maui online.

#10 Halemauu Trail, Haleakala Crater, 10 miles 

The Halemauu Trail in Haleakala starts from the west side of the crater summit down switchbacks towards the crater floor, and finally towards the east end of Haleakala Crater. The beginning part of this hike is pretty calm, as it travels through level-ish areas where hikers can experience an ever-changing volcanic eco-zone with loose lava rock and native shrubs. The switchbacks travel down through an approximate 1,500 foot long cliff area. From here, hikers will be pleased that they chose to wear sturdy and comfortable shoes as they marvel in views of the Koolau Gap leading all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Haleakala Crater

The Halemauu Trail travels 4 miles further through the crater floor, finally reaching the Holua Cabin at 7,000 feet. Hikers can then choose to continue across the crater floor for another 6 miles to the Paliku Cabin. Camping in Haleakala is a truly amazing life experience for all who bare witness to its magic! The best way is to go in style and plan ahead by booking cabins. By doing this, avid hikers can make the most of their experience in the crater by resting up every evening for the next day and long stretch of Haleakala’s Crater. Fees are associated at the Haleakala Visitors Center pending all activities.

For more information, please visit Halemauu Trail on Maui online.

Mahalo for reading Pride of Maui’s Top 10 Hikes in Maui! Maui offers an abundance of hiking adventures for all levels, and we hope that this information is not only useful, but helps you determine what will be best hike for your vacation in Maui. What hike have you always wanted to do on Maui? Let us know in the comments below!

Written By  Alexandra Mitchell

Alexandra is a marketing professional with a passion for writing about travel to the Hawaiian Islands, vacation rentals, and luxury real estate. She exposes readers to glimpses of 'Old Hawaii,' new destinations to explore, local events, and all the best things to do on Maui.