The Lahaina Pali Trail is a popular hike on Maui. Known for its coastal views and windmills, the Pali hike is a heavily trafficked trail on West Maui and one of the best Maui hiking trails near Lahaina. I hike this trail often because it always gives me a workout and it is only 20 minutes away from my house.
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We’ll get into all the details to prepare you for the windmill hike in Maui. I’ll cover everything you need to know about hiking the West Maui Pali Trail along with tips and tricks you’ll need to know before you go. Here’s what to expect:
- Lahaina Pali Trail facts and information
- Lahaina Pali Trail location
- When to hike the Pali Trail
- Tips for hiking this West Maui/Lahaina trail
- What to pack for the Pali trail Maui
- Other things to do in West Maui
- Additional Maui planning resources
Lahaina Pali Trail Quick Facts
- Difficulty: Strenuous
- Duration: 3-4 hours to the windmills and back. 4+ hours if hiking from point A to point B.
- Distance: 5 -10 Miles depending if you hike from point A to point B (10 miles) or if you hike to the top and turn around at the windmills (5 miles).
- Dogs are allowed on the trail.
Hiking the Lahaina Pali Trail on 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. This is the perfect hike if you are looking for a workout.
The West Maui’s Mountains are wet and it rains often, especially in the winter.
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.
Lahaina Pali Trail Directions
Where is the Lahaina Pali Trail Located? The main Lahaina Pali trailhead (Western) at Ukumehame can be found on the mauka side (mountain) of the road just past Papalaua Wayside Park. It is about a 15 minute drive coming from Lahaina.
If you are coming from the airport it is a 25-30 minute drive and the trailhead will be on the righthand side of the road just after you pass through a small covered tunnel.
Parking is limited to 15-20 cars but it never gets too crowded and its shaded. If you’re hiking out and back, park at this trailhead.
If you have 2 cars, drop one off at the Maalaea trailhead (Eastern) and start the hike at the Ukumehame parking lot. 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 if you want to hike the entirety and are limited to one vehicle.
When to Hike the Pali
Checking the weather before you hike is always something you should do and Maui is no exception. The sun is brutal in Lahaina. Lahaina in Hawaiian is translated as cruel merciless sun after all. The sun is pretty brutal on this hike and there’s not much shade. A hat is probably a good idea.
Brush fires aren’t uncommon on Maui especially in the summer. There has been some damaging fires in this area. You may still see charred trees from a previous disaster.
Since it is Lahaina you won’t need to worry too much about rain but the wind is a different story. The apex of the Lahaina Pali hike is the windmills which you can see from the South Maui and on your drive over. Of course this is a green energy where the wind turbines use wind to make electricity, so it’s going to be windy up there.
Get an early start to avoid the hottest part of the day and before the winds. It’s never a bad idea to bring a rain jacket or shell, especially if you have expensive camera equipment.
You will need a proper pair of shoes or hiking boots to hike this trail as well. I don’t hike with poles but I’ve seen lots of people hike with them. Sunscreen is also a must! I always have a bottle of reef safe sunscreen with me in my pack.
What to Expect on the Lahaina Pali Hike
The Lahaina Pali Trail makes a great hike due to its convenient location on West Maui and the caloric burn. More calories burned = more pina coladas you can enjoy.
The trail starts on a rocky path then quickly pops onto an old service road. Just shy of a quarter mile up the old concrete path make sure to turn left to start the trail and not continue up the service road. There is a large arrow painted on the ground next to the sign. From here the trail goes up.
The next two and a half miles to the windmills will be the most difficult. You’ll be tackling 1600 feet in elevation up a large, rocky trail along the Kealaloloa Ridge. The trail consists of large rocks and boulders.
By the end of the first mile you really start to feel the elevation gain. This compacted with the Lahaina heat and lack of shade makes for a difficult hike.
After an exhausting 3 miles or so up the trail you’ll reach the pinnacle of the hike, the windmills. Take in the sights, ocean views and witness the massive size of the windmills up close and personal. If you’re hiking out and back this is where you’ll turn around and head back down.
If you opted to hike the whole trail from Ukumehame to Maalaea continue on the trail. The trail stays consistent of large rocks and boulders without shade. You have about 7 miles to go from here. Make sure you eat a power bar and drink lots of water, you’re going to need it.
Tips for Hiking the Lahaina Pali Trail
- Fuel up before you start this hike. Even though it’s only 5 miles out and back to the windmills and back it’s a steep incline up. Plus when you factor in possible heat and wind conditions, the hike will exhaust a lot of energy.
- You are hiking to the windmills so it can pretty windy. Winds pick up more in the afternoon.
- Brush fires aren’t uncommon.
- The heat is brutal on this hike and there’s little shade. Lather up the sunscreen and wear a hat.
- Dogs are allowed on the trail.
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Other Things to do in West Maui
- West Maui is one of the most popular parts of the island, check out these amazing stops while exploring West Maui.
- Ma’alaea Harbor has lots of boat tours running daily like snorkel tours and whale watches. – Check out 10 Water Activities to Enjoy on Maui
- You’ll be starved after this difficult hike. Find out what the best restaurants in Lahaina and the top restaurants in Kaanapali are.
- Explore Lahaina Town and enjoy these 20 awesome things to do on Front Street.
- Check out the top 20 things to do in Kaanapali.
- Visit some of Maui’s Best Beaches
- Explore the Olivine Pools on the Northside of West Maui
- Snorkel at Honolua Bay
- Hike the Mahana Ridge Trail