The Hiker's Guide to Hana Area: Trails, Features, and Directions

Posted by Island Sotheby's International Realty on Tuesday, October 10th, 2023 at 8:39am

As you venture along the picturesque Road to Hana, take some time to explore the natural wonders and historical sites through these hiking adventures. Whether you're seeking a short and easy hike or a moderate trail, Hana offers an array of hiking opportunities for all nature enthusiasts. Let's dive into these captivating trails and what you can expect on each one:



Waikamoi Ridge Trail

Distance: 1.5 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy 

As you traverse the winding Road to Hana, consider a refreshing break at the Waikamoi Ridge Trail, a part of the Na Ala Hele trail system. This hike serves as an excellent way to spend an hour immersing yourself in the wonders of an ancient forest or indulging in a picturesque picnic along the Hāna Highway.

With a round-trip distance of 1.5 miles and an easy level of difficulty, the Waikamoi Ridge Trail offers an accessible adventure for all. The trail is characterized by its lush forested surroundings, teeming with native plants and offering ample opportunities for birdwatching. Throughout your journey, several lookout points will emerge, providing panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Entrance to this natural wonder is free, and you can find it located conveniently off Hana Highway, between mile markers 9 and 10. As you commence your hike, you'll discover a picnic spot adjacent to the parking area, offering an ideal spot for pre-hike relaxation or a post-hike meal.

Beyond the picnic area, the trail leads to the Nature Trail, marked by man-made steps and ancient tree roots. Along this enchanting path, you'll encounter a whimsical sign encouraging you to be "Quiet: Trees At Work." Continuing along, the trail eventually guides you to a lookout point, a picturesque spot for photography or simply basking in the natural beauty.

At this juncture, you have the option to either return to the trailhead or continue your journey uphill. If you opt for the latter, you'll pass through a captivating bamboo grove before reaching another picnic area, complete with grills and tables for your convenience.

To conclude your hike, retrace your steps, returning to the trailhead and completing this delightful excursion in the heart of Maui's enchanting landscapes.



Wai’napanapa State Park

Exporing Wai’napanapa

Wai’anapanapa State Park is not just a quick pit stop on the Road to Hana; it's a 122-acre haven for hikers and history enthusiasts. The name Wai’anapanapa translates to "glistening water" or "water shining with rainbow hues," and the park lives up to its name with a plethora of natural wonders and historical sites.

Hours: The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Reservations: Advance bookings are mandatory for all types of entries, including vehicles and walk-ins. Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance and no later than a day before your visit.

Fees: Hawaii residents are exempt from fees, but proof of residency is required. Non-residents are charged $10 per vehicle and an additional $5 per person.



Ke Ala Loa O Maui Trail:

Distance: 1.7 miles round trip 

Difficulty: Moderate 

The Ke Ala Loa O Maui Trail in Wai’anapanapa State Park offers a moderately challenging coastal hiking experience with a total round-trip distance of 1.7 miles. This trail is a wonderful choice for those who appreciate both the natural beauty and geological wonders of the area. It all begins at the captivating black sand beach of Pā’iloa Bay, created from volcanic lava and featuring a strikingly stark black hue in stark contrast to the surrounding waters.

As you embark on your hike, you'll have the chance to explore a partially collapsed lava tube cave near the beach, offering a photogenic backdrop for memorable photographs. The trail then leads you to the historic King's Trail, an ancient pathway stretching for approximately 3/4 mile along a breathtaking lava coastline.

The hike culminates at Kaukeali’i Heiau, an ancient Hawaiian temple constructed under the supervision of the high chief Kihaapi’ilani. This adds a layer of historical depth to your adventure. The trail concludes just beyond Pukaulua Point, in proximity to the local airport.

With a trail length of 1.7 miles round-trip and an elevation gain of 635 feet, it's essential to stay on the designated trail and avoid trespassing on any ancient sites or burial grounds encountered along the way.



Pi'ilani Trail:

Distance: 4 miles round trip 

Difficulty: Moderate 

The Pi'ilani Trail in Wai’anapanapa State Park offers a moderately challenging hiking experience spanning a total distance of four miles round trip. This trail is characterized by its coastal views, the opportunity to explore ancient Hawaiian ruins, and a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of native vegetation. Starting near the picturesque Pa’iloa Bay, hikers embark on an adventure that takes them eastward along the trail, where a broad lava bench adorned with a blowhole, active during high tide, awaits exploration.

While enjoying the coastal vistas, caution is advised around the blowhole due to unpredictable spray forces. Continuing along the trail, you'll encounter the ancient King's Trail, leading you through a beautiful grove of hala trees. About 1/3 mile into the hike, keep an eye out for a low rock wall situated approximately 25 feet mauka (toward the mountains) from the trail, where a faint red pictograph depicting a human figure adorned with ornamental material can be found. It's crucial to respect and preserve this rare historical site and avoid touching or disturbing it.

Further along the trail, you'll stumble upon a sign marking the ruins of Ohala Heiau, another ancient site best admired from a respectful distance. As you continue, the trail treats you to breathtaking views of the rugged lava coastline, providing glimpses into the town of Hāna and additional ancient sites along the way.

The Pi'ilani Trail is four miles round-trip, with an elevation gain of 570 feet. It's essential to maintain preservation efforts, always respecting the historical and natural elements encountered along this captivating hike.



Fagan's Cross - Hana Town

Distance: Short and accessible for most hikers.

Nestled within sight of the Hana Hotel parking lot, Fagan's Cross is more than just a hiking spot—it's an opportunity to witness some of the most breathtaking coastal views in East Maui. Situated atop Pu’u o Kahaula, this vantage point offers a visual feast and pays tribute to a significant figure in East Maui's history.

Constructed in 1960, Fagan's Cross stands as a memorial to Paul Fagan, a pioneer who introduced cattle ranching to East Maui. Paul Fagan's legacy extends beyond this iconic cross; he was also the founder of the original Hotel Hana Maui and played a pivotal role in establishing the 14,000-acre Hana Ranch in 1944, importing a herd of Hereford cattle from Moloka’i.

Your journey to Fagan's Cross commences from the Hana Hotel parking lot, conveniently located across from the Hana Hotel. As you set foot on the paved path that winds through the ranch's pastures, you'll gradually ascend Lyon's Hill, guided by the curving trail to the right.

While ascending, take your time to savor the surroundings. The climb may be moderate, but the reward is well worth the effort. Keep an eye out for cattle and cow patties along the way. Upon reaching the summit, prepare to be amazed by one of the most breathtaking geographical vistas in East Maui.



Kipahulu District, Haleakala National Park

Exploring Kipahulu

As you journey along the scenic Road to Hana on the island of Maui, don't miss the opportunity to explore the secluded and captivating Kipahulu District within Haleakala National Park. Located southwest of Hana, this detached portion of the park offers a wealth of natural beauty, historical sites, and cultural significance. It's a hidden gem that beckons you to spend some quality time appreciating its unique charm. Here's your guide to uncovering the wonders of 

Entry Fees: The cost of entry is $30 per car, $25 per motorcycle, and $15 per person for those entering on foot.


Waimoku Falls Trail:

Distance: 3.5 miles round trip

Intensity: Moderate

The highlight of Kīpahulu District is undoubtedly the mesmerizing Waimoku Falls Trail. This trail takes you on a 3.5-mile round-trip journey with a moderate level of intensity, making it accessible to most hikers. The reward at the end of this adventure is the breathtaking 400-foot Waimoku Falls, a sight to behold. Along the way, you'll encounter:

Makahiku Falls Overlook: After hiking about 2/3 of a mile, you'll encounter an overlook providing a breathtaking view of the 200-foot Makahiku Falls. Continue on your path and come across an enormous Banyan tree. Regrettably, some tourists have left their marks here by carving their names. Please respect the natural beauty and refrain from adding to it. The trail narrows as you traverse two-foot bridges, adding an element of adventure to your hike. Walk through a mesmerizing bamboo forest on a raised boardwalk. The density of the bamboo here is truly remarkable.

After crossing two streams at a confluence, you'll finally reach the base of the 400-foot Waimoku Falls, nestled in a steep amphitheater. Be cautious of flash flood dangers, especially near the falls. Also, be mindful of the large boulders at the base of the falls, which have fallen from the cliffs above, so it's advisable to keep a safe distance. After marveling at the waterfall, retrace your steps to return to the starting point.


Kuloa Point Trail:

Distance: 1/2 mile

Intensity: Easy

For a shorter and more leisurely hike in Kipahulu, consider exploring the Kuloa Point Trail. This trail covers just half a mile and is an easy walk suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It takes you from the parking area to the edge of 'Ohe'o Gulch, where you can gaze down at the picturesque area. 'Ohe'o Gulch and the erroneously named "Seven Sacred Pools" have been closed indefinitely due to dangerous conditions. Along this short trail, you'll also pass by several ancient sites, adding a layer of historical intrigue to your hike.


Kahakai Trail:

Distance: 1/2 mile

Intensity: Easy

If you're looking to extend your coastal exploration, the Kahakai Trail is the perfect choice. This 1/2-mile trail, with an easy level of intensity, connects to the Kuloa Point Trail and takes you along the beautiful coastline. You'll have the opportunity to admire breathtaking views of the shoreline and discover several ancient sites along the way. Whether you choose to extend your stay at the campground or return to the parking area via the campground road, this coastal journey offers a delightful experience.

Learn more about Kipahulu District



So, as you embark on your journey along the Road to Hana, consider these hiking adventures to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and history of this remarkable region. Each trail offers a unique experience, allowing you to connect with nature and uncover the rich heritage of Hana, Maui. Make the most of your visit and create unforgettable memories on these captivating hikes.



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