Where do I even start? Maui was GREAT! We had a direct flight from Dallas, which is about 8 hours, and Maui is 5 hours behind this time of year. We got into Maui around 2 (local time) and went to the rental car place… at the same time as everyone else obviously lol so prepare for this. 3 hours later we were driving off in a Jeep Wrangler.
We stayed in Kaanapali, on the east side of the island. Hind sight, I might have stayed more towards the middle, because I felt like I was driving constantly back to the other side (I drove over 1000 miles in a week!)
The first adventure was the Olivine Pools, closer to Kapalua. It was a short hike, but even with the tide being as low as it was going to be for the week, it was still very high. Locals say when the tide is low you can actually go down and sit in the pools. Its a pretty area none the less. Later that day, I spent most of my time adventuring all around the West Maui Forest Reserve, there are quite a few hunting trails and they were no issue for the Jeep.
Most of my time in Maui it was cloudy and raining. That night we ventured to Luau Drums of the Pacific, it was a great show and some insight to the local history. The sun creeped out for a few minutes and we got to see that beautiful Maui sunset.
The next morning I decided I was going to Hana and picked out the Pipiwei Trail, its also called Bamboo Forest. Its in the Haleakala National Park, and there is a fee to get in. This is the first time I got to see a Banyan Tree, as you pass one about 1/2 mile or so into the hike. Next you pass Makahiku Falls, because it had been raining, the water was flowing very intensely. They say the meaning of the name is “The water who has no friends.” You go through a huge bamboo forest, and in the end come out at the 400ft Waimoku Falls. The trail is about 4 miles and takes a couple hours to complete. There is pretty good gain, about 600 ft. You’ll burn the calories but it wont kill you.
After that I headed to the other side of Haleakala, straight up the volcano, which I believe is around 10,000 ft. I originally wanted to watch the sunrise, but you have to have a permit to do so, which sells out pretty far in advance. They say the sunsets are just as nice, but I didn’t get to see it because it was so cloudy. I hiked down into the crater to the cinder cones, it cleared out for about twenty minutes while I was there, then the clouds rolled in. It was a LONG hike out with about 10 ft visibility… a unique experience in itself. I would definitely check the weather before heading up here, but worth it for sure! Below is a picture of some silversword, its a plant endemic to Haleakala and only grows here on the volcano.
The next morning I headed back to Iao Valley, to find this “secret” trail everyone was talking about. I believe in the past, you could hike alot of this park, but after recent storms (the last few years) they have closed it all down, its simply a tourist place with a great view of the falls and the Iao River, but its PACKED with tourists… not my favorite thing. I hiked up to the top of the stairs to see if I could find a trail, and there was a faint mark of one over the shack at the top. This ended up being my favorite hike in Maui.
Once you get through some trees you have a great view of the Iao Needle, and you hike along a ridge-line all the way up into the valley. Its a muddy trail, so I would definitely be prepared for that, and I did pass a hiker, so I would imagine there are a few people on this trail daily. Its a wonderful view the whole way up, across some streams, though Strawberry Guava groves, and straight out to a view of Kahoolewa Ridge Wall of Tears and the ocean. There was a great battle here, where the army of Kamwhameha defeated the army of Maui. Its nothing short of a perfect hike.
On the way out, I watched my GPS to see when I got closer to the river, I found a faint trail heading that way and decided to try my luck. I made it down and found a deep pool to take a swim in, which was nice after 3 miles in the rain forest. I hiked the river out and a few hundred yards down found some locals favorite swimming spot, about another half mile down, there were more locals and I hiked it all the way back out to the tourists LOL. I would absolutely recommend this hike, I would rate it moderate, there is some bushwhacking, and you only feel a little safer because the ferns line the edges… because you are on the edge of the ridge!
Because I’m crazy and I like to fit in a million things LOL, that evening I headed out to The Hoapili Trail, this is on the southern tip of Maui, close to the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Reserve Area, it looks like a volcanic wasteland, I spent some time walking around the lava beaches and checking out some tide pools, there are no motorized vehicles here and nothing even remotely close. Bring lots of water if you plan on spending time here.
The following morning I headed back to Hana, the traffic on this road is insane… so I would plan on going early if you plan to go. The actually drive to Hana isnt that long, a couple hours if you dont stop. I drove all the way to Hana for the Pipiwei hike and then enjoyed the drive back during the day, against traffic, that was nice. This time, I planned on going all the way around the island. I took 360 until it turned into 37. The road wasnt terrible, but I could see where it could be with enough rain. My favorite place on this drive was a gulch west of Kaupo, I’ve never seen so many mountain goats in my life! Hundreds! I could have spent all day there hiking up that gulch and If I go back, I most certainly will.
Rainbow Eucalyptus trees on the Road to Hana just passed mile marker 7.
The rest of the drive back was mostly remote beaches, you wind up and down hills and narrow roads, down to rocky beaches and cliffs. Maui has so many different terrains, all making it that much more impressive!
My next adventure? Well of course I had to dive Molokini and Turtle Town, I used Maui Dive Shop and had a great experience, the corral is different than mexico, but I felt like I was in an aquarium with so many fish swimming around me! The best part was diving with the sea turtles, an experience I will never forget! I wish I would have dove earlier on my trip because I met so many great people on the dive boat I could have went with on my adventure hikes, but then again you will have an altitude limitation, which could have messed up some of my hiking!
The last day we went to Mamas Fish House, a reservation is needed but phenomenal views and worth it! I ordered the stuffed fish, which is their signature dish, I also ordered the best oysters I’ve ever had in my life, $20 bucks for half a dozen but AMAZING. Paia town was nice too I spent a little time shopping and exploring the beach. I found a sea lion sunning as I was exploring some tide pools, he scared the hell out of me LOL. Very cool experience other than almost stepping on him 🙂
I’m happy to share my journey with everyone, feel free to ask any questions!