Hiking is one of my favorite ways to explore an area and it always fits into the 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 Maui hikes list.

Okay, in no particular order

best maui hikes

Pipiwai Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

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.   It’s located in Haleakala National Park, on the southeastern side of Maui in an area called Kipahulu.  

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.

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!

Finally the star of the show, Waimoku Falls. The 400 foot waterfall is jaw dropping. 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.

Sliding Sands Trail

Difficulty: Difficult

Distance: 11.4 miles round trip

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.
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!  

Twin Falls

Difficulty: Easy

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.  I’m almost hesitant to put this on the best hikes in Maui list because its not much of 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 for the whole family.  Make the extra 10 minute trek to the second waterfall.  It’s taller and bigger to swim under.

Lahaina Pali Trail

Difficulty:  Difficult

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. 

1.  Out-and-back.  

2.  Two cars (drop one at the ending trailhaed) 

3. Or hitch-hike back to your vehicle.

 If you’re hiking out and back park at the Ma’alaea 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 Ukumehame trailhead 10 miles later.  Or of course instead of ending at a car you can hitchhike back to your vehicle.

The Waihee RidgeTrail

Difficulty: Moderate

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.  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 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.

Oaia Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 1 Mile

This 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.

Kings Trail

Difficulty:  Difficult

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.

I’ao Valley State Park

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: .5 Miles

I’ao Valley is one of the best Maui hikes that is fun 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.

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Mauis best hikes with I'm Jess Traveling
Mauis best hikes with I'm Jess Traveling
Mauis best hikes with I'm Jess Traveling