Hiking is one of my favorite ways to explore an area.  It’s always a great way to travel on a budget.  Living on Maui for the best part of a decade has given me ample opportunity to test out all of these trails and come up with a best hikes on Maui list.

Maui is full of all kinds of hiking trails and for all fitness levels.  Whether you are searching for the best hikes in Maui with waterfalls, an advanced calorie burning challenge through the crater or a stroll along the ocean, there is a Maui hiking trail for everyone.

From the iconic Waihee Ridge to the popular Pipiwai Trail, these are the best hikes Maui has to offer.  

Mauis best hikes

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There are plenty of hiking opportunities, varying in length and difficulty for every skill level across the island.  As with any activity that you’re doing by yourself (without a guide at least), safety is the first priority.  None of the Maui hikes listed in this article require rappelling gear or the likes. 

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. 

Reef Safe Sunscreen (this is also a great gift idea for hikers) 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!

Ohai Trail one of Maui's best hikes

Best hikes in Maui Quick List

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

Maui waterfall hikes
A bamboo forest on the Pipiwai Trail Maui

Pipiwai Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 4 miles round trip

Location: East, Maui

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.

Banyan Tree on the Pipiwai Trail, one of the best hikes on Maui
The first mile is rocky and rooty so if its been raining a lot theres a chance of it being muddy so plan accordingly. You’ll reach a beautiful, big banyon tree a half a mile in, a great place to stop and have a drink of water.
Next you’ll reach a bamboo forest that has a raised platform walkway that takes through the forest and to Waimoku Falls with ease. I LOVE the bamboo forest and hearing the cracking and knocking of the bamboo!
I'm Jess Traveling standing by Waimoku Falls on the Pipiwai Trail

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.

Girl in front of a waterfall in the distance

Twin Falls

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: up to a half a mile

Location: North shore

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

Maui crater hikes
Sliding Sands trail inside Haleakala National Park Maui

Sliding Sands Trail

Difficulty: Difficult

Distance: 11.4 miles round trip

Location: Upcountry 

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.
Rare plant inside Haleakala Crater
Along the way you see rare plant called the silversword that is only home to Haleakala Crater and parts of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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!  

Inside Haleakala National Park contains lots of Maui’s hiking trails and the most unique trails on Maui.

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    Hosmer Grove

    Difficulty: Easy

    Distance: .6 miles

    Location: Upcountry 

    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

    West Maui Hikes
    The Windmills of the Pali hIke

    Lahaina Pali Trail

    Difficulty:  Difficult

    Distance: 5-10 Miles

    Location: West Maui

    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. 

    1.  Out-and-back.

    2.  Two cars (drop one at the ending trailhead in Ma’alaea) 

    3. Or hitch-hike back to your vehicle.

    If you’re hiking out and back park at the  Ukumehame trailhead as the parking lot is shaded and its closer if you’re coming from Lahaina. 

    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!

    Hiking the Lahaina L Trail Maui Hawaii

    The Lahaina ‘L’

    Difficulty: Moderate/difficult

    Distance: 3.2 Miles out and back

    Location: West Maui

    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. 

    Mähäna Ridge Hike on Maui

    Mahana Ridge

    Difficulty: Moderate/ Difficult due to length

    Distance: Roughly 12 Miles up and back

    Location: West Maui

    If you’re staying in Kapalua at the Ritz Carlton or the Montage on West Maui then the Mahana Ridge Trail is a perfect hike if you are looking for a challenge.  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.

    Duck Pond Trail a West Maui Trail

    The Duck Pond

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Distance: 4 MIle Loop

    Location: West Maui

    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.

    Olivine Pools Maui Hawaii

    Olivine Pools

    Difficulty: Moderate due to steepness

    Distance: .8 miles down and up

    Location: West Maui

    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 Ridge Trail with ocean Views

    The Waihee Ridge Trail

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Distance: 4.80 Miles total

    Location: North Shore of West Maui

    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

    Easy Maui hikes
    An easy hike in West Maui

    Ka’anapali Beach Walk

    Difficulty: Easy

    Distance: 4.5 miles

    Location: West Maui

    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.

    Easy hiking trail on Maui

    Kapalua Coastal Trail

    Difficulty: Easy

    Distance: 2 miles

    Location: West Maui

    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. 

    Ohai Trail, Maui Hawaii

    Ohai Trail

    Difficulty: Easy

    Distance: 1 Mile

    Location: West Maui

    The Ohai Trail is an easy trail is a perfect stop to stretch your legs and take in the views when you are driving around West Maui. This trail is suitable for every fitness level.

    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.

    Best stops on the road to Hana

    Waikamoi Forest Ridge Trail

    Difficulty: Easy

    Distance: .08 Mile

    Location: The Road to Hana

    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.

    Road to I'ao Valley State Park near Wailuku, HI

    I’ao Valley State Park

    Difficulty: Easy

    Distance: .5 Miles

    Location: Central, Maui

    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

    Hikes in South Maui

    Kings Trail

    Difficulty:  Difficult

    Distance: 5.5 Miles Out & Back

    Location: South Maui

    This heavily trafficked Maui hiking 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.

    Those are the best hikes in Maui.  Have you tried any of these Maui hikes?  Let me know your favorites in the comments below. 

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