10 Most Breathtaking Hikes in Maui

From an easy stroll along the South Maui shoreline to more advanced trails that weave through thick, tropical foliage and stunning waterfalls, Maui boasts a spectacular variety of hikes that will satisfy everyone from novice hikers to ultimate trail blazers. Here are the 10 most breathtaking hikes in Maui and tips to plan your next adventure through the island’s most thrilling landscapes.

1) Pipiwai Trail

A road to Hana gem, Pipiwai Trail winds its way through native forest and a thick bamboo grove before ending at the base of the 400-foot Waimoku Falls. It’s a surreal setting with multiple waterfalls and huge banyan trees along the way. While it'll give you a decent workout, it's not too hard for families with kids, and at the same time satisfying for more experienced hikers.

Pipiwai Trail Banyan Tree, Maui Hikes
Photo: Thomas via Flickr

What You Need to Know
Difficulty: Moderate, 4 miles
Location: Haleakala National Park in Kīpahulu
Tips: Arrive before noon to avoid crowds.

2) Redwood Trail

Redwood forest Maui hike
Photo: Tim Szlachetka via Flickr

More reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest than a tropical island, Redwood Trail is a unique opportunity to explore Maui’s Upcountry region. Part of the extensive trail system is found within Polipoli Springs State Park, the trail winds through dense stands of stately redwoods and towering conifers.

Redwood Trail Maui Hikes
Photo: Spencer 9 via Flickr

What You Need to Know
Difficulty: Moderate, 1.7 miles (one-way)
Location: Polipoli Springs State Park
Tips: The Redwood, Plum, Haleakala Ridge, and Polipoli Trails form a fantastic 5.3 mile loop

3) Waihe‘e Ridge

View from Waihee Ridge Maui Hikes
Photo: Cassi Gurell via Flickr

Located along Maui’s windward slope, a region known for its rustic beauty, the Waihe’e Ridge trail is a steep, out-and-back hike that affords sweeping views of Maui’s central valley and western coastline, as well as a glimpse of the 270-foot Makamaka‘ole Waterfall.

Waihee Ridge Maui Hiking
Photo: Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

What You Need to Know
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous, 5 Miles (roundtrip)
Location: Wailuku on Kahekili Hwy (Hwy 340)
Tips: Mornings are best to maximize views and avoid afternoon clouds.

4) Sliding Sands/Halemau‘u

Sliding Sands Trail Maui Hikes
Photo: Andy Simonds via Flickr

Haleakalā’s crater is home to some of Maui’s most memorable hikes. Sliding Sands (Keonehe‘ehe‘e) trail begins at the Upper Visitor Center and descends into the crater’s dramatic and sweeping valley floor, while Halemau‘u (Switchbacks) traverses surreal scenery straight out of Lord of the Rings.

Sliding Sands Trail Haleakala
Photo: Conor Dupre-Neary via Flickr

What You Need to Know
Difficulty: Strenuous; An 11.2 mile loop connects Sliding Sands and Halemau‘u; shorter out-and-back hikes
Location: Haleakalā National Park
Tips: Prepare for extreme weather and high altitudes.

5) Hosmer Grove Loop

Hosmer Grove Maui Hikes
Photo: blese via Flickr

An easy nature walk, Hosmer Grove is located just inside Haleakalā National Park’s main entrance and is a perfect hike to enjoy after a visit to the summit. Picnic tables and restrooms also make Hosmer’s ideal for lunch.

What You Need to Know
Difficulty: Easy, 0.5 miles (loop)
Location: Haleakalā National Park
Tips: Keep a lookout for native birds the i‘iwi and ‘apapane.

6) Lahaina Pali

Lahaina Pali Trail Maui Hikes
Photo: Travis Wiens via Flickr

Part of the State’s Na Ala Hele trail system, Lahaina Pali follows the coastline’s natural pali (cliff) along a 200-year-old horse and foot trail. It’s steep, rocky, brutally barren, and whipped by fierce winds, but rewards intrepid hikers with epic panoramic views.

What You Need to Know
Difficulty: Strenuous, 5.5 Miles (point-to-point) or various out-and-back distances
Location: Two access points via Honoapi‘ilani: 0.20 miles south of Hwy 30/Hwy 31 junction, or 0.25 miles north of the Pali Tunnel
Tips: To avoid the heat, get an early start and pack plenty of water.

7) ‘Iao Valley

Iao Valley Trail Maui Hikes
Photo: Stephen Pace via Flickr

Steeped in Hawaiian history and culture, Iao Valley is a lush enclave of Central Maui and home to the iconic 1,200 foot Iao Needle. While hiking opportunities are limited to a few paved pathways, a trip to Iao is well worth your time and especially suited for older adults and kids.

What You Need to Know
Difficulty: Easy
Location: Wailuku at the end of Iao Valley Road
Tips: Arrive early to avoid afternoon clouds and crowds.

8) Kealia Pond

Kealia Pond Maui Hikes
Photo: Peter Liu via Flickr

Kealia Pond offers a self-guided, boardwalk tour through one of Hawaii’s last remaining wetlands. Home to a number of endangered bird species, the 700-acre wetlands border Sugar Beach, an expansive swath of coastline that extends for miles in either direction.

What You Need to Know
Difficulty: Easy, 1.4 miles (one-way)
Location: North Kihei Road
Tips: Visit Kealia Pond visitor center on Mokulele Highway (Route 35) mile marker 6

9) Ohai Loop

Ohai Loop Trail Maui Hikes
Photo: Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Paralleling the northwest Maui coastline, the Ohai Loop offers spectacular ocean views and potential wildlife viewing opportunities (including humpback whales in the winter). Short but scenic, it’s the perfect stop along the drive from Honolua Bay to Kahului.

What You Need to Know
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate, 1.2 miles (loop)
Length: Kahekili Highway between mile marker 40 and 41
Tips: Enjoy the nearby Nakalele Blowhole and Olivine Pools

10) Bamboo Forest (Na‘ili‘ili Haele)

Bambo Forest Maui Hikes
Photo: Thomas via Flickr

The trail wanders through bamboo stands and over streambeds to pass a series of waterfalls and swimming holes. Adventure seekers can tackle slippery rocks, a wooden ladder, and an up-stream swim to arrive at the upper (fifth) waterfall.

What You Need to Know
Difficulty: Easy to Strenuous, length varies
Location: Hana Hwy Mile Marker 6.7 (right side of road)
Tips: Located on private East Maui Irrigation (EMI) land, hikers are advised to obtain access permission from EMI.

About Lauren Blickley

Lauren is a marine biologist, freelance writer, and avid surfer based on the island of Maui. She works at the grassroots level to inspire change, but when not saving the world, can be found either combing the coastlines for seashells or seeking out perfect waves. Stay up-to-date with Lauren’s adventures by following her blog at http://laurenblickley.com/