Kapalua Coastline Trail hugs Maui's northwest coastline. // © 2016 morganhikinginhawaii.blogspot.com
Feature image (above): Pipiwai Trail leads hikers to one of Maui's tallest cascades, the 400-foot Waimoku Falls. // © 2016 Rick McCharles/creativecommons.org
Maui’s hikes expose clients to an exotic mix of landscapes, from waterfalls to windswept shorelines. It doesn’t matter where on Maui visitors are staying; alluring trailheads await all around the island.
Here’s a look at five fun Maui hikes that areeasily reached by rental car. We’ve included seaside and upcountry routes that demonstrate the island’s natural diversity and wonders. All trail lengths are listed as roundtrip.
Hosmer Grove Nature Trail, .5 mile
One of the many trails in Haleakala National Park, Hosmer Grove packs plenty of perks into its short length. It first winds through groves of introduced trees such as spruce, eucalyptus, juniper, cedar, sugi pine and Douglas fir. Next, it enters native shrubland with riches such as Hawaiian raspberry and local ferns. Birdwatchers flock to this trail, where it’s easy to hear the songs of the iiwi and apapane, two types of Hawaiian honeycreeper.
Bring a jacket, since this trail is perched at an elevation of 6,800 feet.
Kapalua Coastal Trail, 3.5 miles
Ideal for visitors staying on Maui’s northwest coast, this flat route links four pristine bays. Part boardwalk and part lava-rock trail, it runs from Kapalua Beach on the south end to D.T. Fleming Beach Park in the north. Along the way, walkers pass natural splendors including sand dunes, sea turtles and views of neighboring islands. They also get to ogle at manmade marvels such as manicured golf courses and waterfront homes.
Be sure to check out Hawea Point, where indigenous shearwaters make their nests.
Pipiwai Trail, 3.6 miles
This southeast Maui trail has it all, from bamboo forests and bridges over rushing streams to a giant banyan tree that looks like something out of a fairy tale. There’s an 800-foot elevation change, but the payoff is a jaw-dropping view of 400-foot-high Waimoku Falls, one of Maui’s tallest.
Start this hike early or late in the day to avoid the crowds. Since it’s part of Haleakala National Park, trekkers must pay to park at Kipahulu Visitor Center, which is close to the trailhead. Afterward, they can cool off in nearby Pools of Oheo.
Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area, 5.3 miles
Four paths form a loop in Polipoli, set upcountry on the southwest side of island. The Polipoli, Redwood, Plum and Haleakala Ridge trails lay claim to introduced cedar, cypress, pine and redwood trees, while native honeycreepers add a Hawaiian mood to the scenery. At one point along the ridge trail, hikers can see all the way across the Alenuihaha Channel to Hawaii Island, if the weather is clear.
Dress in layers for this exhilarating outing at an elevation of 6,200 feet.
Twin Falls, 1.5 miles
Clients who think that swimming under a waterfall is a dream come true will enjoy this north shore diversion. A 20-minute drive east of Paia town, Twin Falls boasts several easy-to-reach cascades. Part of the path follows an old irrigation ditch with walls that folks can walk on.
Since the area’s waterfalls feature refreshing swimming holes, wear a bathing suit and shoes that can get wet. It’s relatively flat, so it’s good for families, but it can get crowded. This is an ideal Maui hike for visitors who are hitting the road to Hana.