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As hiking anywhere in the world, carrying supplies and being prepared is crucial when hiking in Hawaii. Always bring ample water as its a tropical island and temperatures can get very hot.
Sunscreen is also important, you’re be surprised how sun burnt you can get at 10,000 feet, which is how tall the summit of Haleakala is. It’s like skiing in the Colorado Mountains. You’ll be freezing but still some how catch a sunburn.
Flash floods can happen at any time and in a blink of an eye. Make sure you check the weather before taking on a Maui hiking trail. Flash floods are more apt to happen in the winter months. It’s always a good idea to bring a light rain jacket or shell.
There are also no snakes in Hawaii which is a great thing to know as some of the Maui hiking trails pass through tall grass. Now thats a insider tip!
Make sure you don’t hike without these essentials and read these posts to learn about more incredible things to do on Maui.
Best Maui hikes
Okay, in no particular order here are the top hikes in Maui. For detailed posts of each hike click on the links below.
Maui Waterfall Hikes
Distance: 4 miles round trip
The Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls has everything you could want in a hike, which is why its one of the best hikes in Maui, if not the best hike in Maui. It’s located in Haleakala National Park, on the southeastern side of Maui in an area called Kipahulu.
This is your East Maui waterfalls and rainforest hike.
This 4 mile easy to moderate hike takes you by waterfall lookouts, through a bamboo forest and ends with Waimoku Falls, a 400 foot waterfall cascading down the side of the mountain.
Finally the star of the show, Waimoku Falls. The 400 foot waterfall is jaw dropping and makes this one of the best waterfall hikes in Maui.
You are not able to swim under this waterfall and remember its 400 feet tall so even a pebble could hurt from falling from that high up. Just exercise caution as people have been lost due to falling rocks.
Distance: up to a half a mile
This trail is one of the most popular stops on the road to Hana, located just past mile marker 2 on the Hana Highway. I’m almost hesitant to put this on the best hikes in Maui list because its not much of a hike. It is one of the easiest and most convenient Maui waterfall hikes though and who doesn’t like waterfalls in a hike?
The first waterfall can be reached within 5 minutes of walking. The path is wide and suitable for all fitness levels. It’s great Maui hike for the whole family. Make the extra 10 minute trek to the second waterfall. It’s taller and bigger to swim under.
Explore Twin Falls if you want one of the best easy hikes in Maui.
Haleakala Crater Hikes
Sliding Sands Trail
Distance: 11.4 miles round trip
Another one of the best Maui hikes is the Sliding Sands Trail. This trail takes you down inside the crater of the volcano that formed Maui, Haleakala ‘house of the rising sun’.
The trailhead can be found 500 feet below the summit. You’ll see tired hikers on their way back up the trail as you gradually descend 2,800 feet to the crater floor.
Red, orange, and purple colored hills and volcanic rock take over the back drop as you hike along the black sand. The views are out of this world and you won’t believe that you’re on Maui but that of Mars or the Moon.
You’ll understand the meaning of sliding sands when you reach the end and have to climb back up the steep, sandy trail. This is the most difficult part of the hike but worth it!
Distance: .6 miles
One of the easy hikes on Maui is the Hosmer Grove Trail. Located just inside the entrance to Haleakala National Park at the Hosmer Grove Campgrounds.
The trail is just over a half mile long and passes through sub-alpine tress like eucalptus, sugi pine, spruce, cedar, Douglas fir, deodar and sandalwoods.
West Maui Hikes
Lahaina Pali Trail
Distance: 5-10 Miles
The Lahaina Pali Trail takes you up a rocky trail to the Kealaloloa Ridge by the windmills. The 1,600 feet elevation gain + the Lahaina heat makes this hike strenuous. The sun is relentless so start early and brings ample water.
There are 3 ways you can hike this trail.
2. Two cars (drop one at the ending trailhead in Ma’alaea)
3. Or hitch-hike back to your vehicle.
Having 2 cars means you can hike up and over the Kealaloloa Ridge and end up the “second” car at the Ma’alaea trailhead 10 miles later. Or of course instead of ending at a car you can hitchhike back to your vehicle.
This is one of the best hikes near Lahaina. Hike the Pali Trail if you want a big caloric burn in a short amount of time!
The Lahaina ‘L’
Distance: 3.2 Miles out and back
The ‘L’ in Lahaina can be seen on the side of the West Maui Mountains. It’s a giant L carved into the side of the mountain. Every year the graduating class of Lahaina Luna Highschool lights the ‘L’ on fire in celebration.
The trail starts behind the high school and is uphill the whole way. The first part of the hikeis a dirt trail. Once you get to the forest on the mountain it is a series of switchbacks that takes you all the way up until you reach the L. Basically when you think you’re there, you’re not and keep trucking.
The hike is just over 3 miles out and back. The trail features wild flowers, panoramic views and a decent workout.
Difficulty: Moderate/ Difficult due to length
Distance: Roughly 12 Miles up and back
If you’re staying in Kapalua at the Ritz Carlton or the Montage on West Maui then the Kapalua Coastal Trail will the closest trail to your resort. The trek begins near D.T. Flemings beach park and climbs about six miles to the Maunalei Arboretum.
The trail is mostly shaded as it climbs the ridge through the forest. You’ll pass by pineapple plants, lilikoi trees and other Hawaiian vegetation. There isn’t a lot of steep elevation gain as its a gradual climb.
There once was a shuttle that dropped you off at to the top of the Arboretum and all you had to do was hike down but that is no longer the case.
Hike this trail for panoramic views and a different perspective of Maui.
The Duck Pond
Distance: 4 MIle Loop
The Duck Pond hike starts behind the Kapalua Driving Range. The loop takes you uphill to the…you guessed it, Duck Pond. This is a great hike if you have small children who would enjoy feeding the ducks at the top. Don’t forget to bring your own bread.
The trail is mostly shaded and paved. The path is the old golf cart paths from the old Kapalua Bay golf course. To get to the duck pond is uphill the whole way. There are a few steeps parts that will get your heart racing but they don’t last long.
The trail loops around the duck pond through a forested area and then its all down hill from here. The trail offers views of Molokai, a decent work out and through the forest.
Difficulty: Moderate due to steepness
Distance: .8 miles down and up
The Olivine Pools are natural tide pools formed by lava along the ocean’s edge on the back-side of West Maui. Dramatic from above, the Olivine tide pools are located on barren lava rock. This stretch of lava rock is in a remote area that has no sandy beaches or easy water access.
In order to get to the Olivine Pools, you must hike 0.4 miles down a sloped cliff to get to the waters edge. This should take around 20-30 minutes. The hike to get down to the Maui Olivine pools is moderately difficult largely due to jagged and in some places fairly steep lava rock.
There are several worn trails leading to the pools, making rough “steps” so it isn’t exceedingly difficult. If waves are crashing don’t attempt to swim as many have been hurt and even death has occured. Summer time is the best time to visit and swim in the pools.
The Waihee Ridge Trail
Distance: 4.80 Miles total
This was the first hike I ever did on Maui when I moved here, therefore it makes the best Maui hikes list and the best hike on West Maui. I recently hiked this trail and had amazing weather. The Waihee Ridge Trail is a popular Maui hiking trails. This trail offers scenic coastal sights, views of the North shore and up close and personal views of the lush valleys below.
The first mile takes you through several different small forests the trail will open up and you’ll be walking on the ridge line. There are a few benches and overlooks along the way.
Mile two is where you’ll start to feel the 1,500 elevation gain. The trail begins to wrap up the mountain with a series of quick switchbacks. There’s a picnic table and small platform once you reach the top to take a breather/drink your victory beer.
Easy hikes on maui
Ka’anapali Beach Walk
Distance: 4.5 miles
Less of a hike and more of a boardwalk beach stroll, I wanted to be sure to include the Ka’anapali Beach walk on best hikes on Maui list because it’s suitable for the whole family.
Chances are if you’re staying on West Maui you’re probably staying at one of the top notch resorts that line Ka’anapali Beach. Not only are you in close proximity to all the things to do in Kaanapali but the beachwalk is conveniently located out front.
The Beachwalk is a paved path that takes you from the end of Lahaina all the way to Honokawai. The path is paved, landscaped, provides epic views and is a great running trail early in the morning.
You don’t have to be an avid hiker to enjoy this trail. More of a leisurely stroll this path takes you past several Maui resorts and Whalers Village which offers lots of high end shopping and must eat restaurants.
The walkway gets very crowded as everyone staying in Ka’anapali will cruise this path. If you want to run or get uninterrupted exercise from this trail enjoy it early in the a.m.
Kapalua Coastal Trail
Distance: 2 miles
The Kapalua Coastal Trail is a beautiful paved trail that offers panoramic views of Molokai and West Maui. I used to live in Napili and run this trail everyday. It’s perfect for several reasons.
The path or shall I say sidewalk is always empty as you pass by beautiful landscaped vegetation and views. The path takes you past some of Maui’s best beaches including Ironwoods, Kapalua Bay and Napili Bay.
If you’re staying at the Montage (one of the best luxury resorts in Maui), this trail will be at your doorstep and a perfect way to start the morning after your morning coffee.
Distance: 1 Mile
As you walk the loop you’ll get sweeping coastal views. On a clear day the greens of the foliage and blues of the sky and ocean are very vivid. This is an easy West Maui hike.
Waikamoi Forest Ridge Trail
Distance: .08 Mile
This is an easy trail locate on the side of the road on the Hana Highway. The loop takes you past a few scenic outlooks and past humungous trees!
The path is dirt and scattered with tree roots. This is a great stop to stretch your legs while driving the road to Hana.
I’ao Valley State Park
Distance: .5 Miles
I’ao Valley is one of the best hiking trails in Maui fit for the whole family. After a short hike up some stairs you’ll reach what is called “the Needle”, a lush, green mountain crag that juts out of the ground so close you feel like you can touch it.
There are a few small trails that take you through different Hawaiian flora explaining on signs what they are along the way. There is also a spot to take a dip in the river.
South Maui Hikes
Distance: 5.5 Miles Out & Back
This heavily trafficked trail is located in South Maui and is suitable for any skill level. The highlight of this trail is the beautiful coastline and goats! Yes there are wild goats that are running around at the beginning of the hike!
Shoes or hiking boots are a must on this hike because the lava rocks jut into the path and make it difficult to hike in slippas. It gets very hot so water and sunscreen is a must. This is one of the best things to do in Wailea.