Maui is known mostly as a world-class vacation destination, famous for its white-sand beaches and luxury resorts. But it’s paradise for those looking to explore the great outdoors, too.
If you’re avid hiker or backpacker looking to lace up your hiking boots and get away from it all, Maui is nirvana. From coastal trails surrounded by the sounds of gently crashing waves to multi-day treks through Haleakala, Maui boasts a range of hikes through all sorts of climates for all skill levels. These are a few of our favorites:
Photo: Be at peace (CC BY-SA 4.0)
This hike isn’t for the faint of heart, but offers a glimpse of Haleakala that’s out of this world. You’ll travel at least 5 miles across the ancient shield volcano, known as the House of the Sun, where you can find plant species found nowhere else in the world — like the indigenous 'Ahinahina, or silver sword plant.
The trailhead is located at the summit’s visitor center. You’ll begin at the top of the crater, then descend 2,000 feet. Depending on your experience, you can choose to do a 5-mile round trip or continue farther, even possibly camping overnight. Be sure to bring water and prepare for weather, elevation and a steep climb as you explore one of the most stunning and untouched parts of Maui.
Photo: Forest & Kim Starr (CC by 3.0 US)
Prepare to have your breath taken away. This 5-mile trek along a dramatic ridgeline offers panoramic views of Maui’s azure waters in one direction and lush, soaring cliffs in another as you ascend 1,500 feet in elevation.
As you climb steadily in altitude, you’ll move through several ecosystems, starting first along a road that leads through a grassy meadow. The rest of the trail travels through forests populated by Cook Island pine, guava trees, and swamp mahogany, eventually leading to a sweeping view of Maui’s north shore and the soaring slopes of Haleakala in the distance.
Photo: Kanalu ChockCamera location20° 46′ 03.6″ N, 156° 14′ 09″ W View this and other nearby images on: OpenStreetMap - Google Earth 20.767667; -156.235833 [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
Perfect for the entire family, the loop trail through Hosmer Grove in Haleakala National Park travels just a half-mile through a lush forest of both indigenous and introduced trees. Cedar, spruce, pine and eucalyptus trees exude pleasant aromas that fill the crisp air, and you’ll occasionally hear the sounds of rare birds in the mountain forest. Located at 7,000 feet in elevation, it can get chilly, so be sure to bring a jacket.
Meandering along the Hana coastline past hidden coves, blowholes, tidepools, Native Hawaiian cultural sites and black-sand beaches, the 2-mile Wai’anapanapa Coastal Trail is truly Mother Nature’s masterpiece. The first part of the trail is paved until you reach the first natural wonder: a massive blowhole that juts out from the rugged, lava rock coastline.
But don’t stop where the pavement ends. As you continue along the trail that runs adjacent to the coastline and sparkly blue water, you’ll see more blowholes, collapsed lava tubes and arches of rock. Be sure to keep an eye out for hidden coves, home to pristine, black-sand beaches.