The Mahana Ridge Trail is a 10.4 mile out and back heavily trafficked mountainous ridge trail found on West Maui. Highlights include fresh fruit trees, a vivacious forest and occasional coastal views of Mokupe‘a and Honokahua Gulches.
It’s a longer trail especially if you plan on going all the way to the Maunalei Arboretum. The rugged land once was used to cultivate coffee and pineapple during the Honolua Ranch era. Plan on spending 3-6 hours hiking depending on how far you go and how quickly you hike.
‘Back in the day’ there used to be a shuttle provided by the Ritz Carlton that dropped you off at the top by the Arboretum. Then all you had to do was hike down hill the 5 miles or so until you made it back to the Ritz. The shuttle no longer runs and now the only option is to hike up 5 miles and back the whole 5 miles.
Another option would be to have two vehicles. Drop one off at the Maunalei Arboretum before you start the hike that way you have a vehicle when you get to the top but we’ll get into more detail on that in the Mahana Ridge Trail Directions section.
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Mahana Ridge Trail Directions
The Mahana Ridge Trail begins at a popular beach on Maui, DT Flemings. From Hwy. 30 on West Maui, find the signed road to D.T. Fleming Beach Park just past mile marker 31.
The trailhead can be found in the right corner of the parking lot when you are looking at the ocean to the left of a small green schoolhouse. There are restrooms and water located here for public use before you begin your hike.
DT Flemings is the beautiful beach down the hill from the stunning Ritz-Carlton, one of the best places to spend your honeymoon on Maui. DT Flemings beach park is about a 20 minute drive North of Lahaina and a 10 minute drive North of Ka’anapali.
Another option is to park in the parking lot of the Kapalua driving range which is located next to the Taverna one of the best restaurants in Kapalua. From here you can walk down the paved path that used to be the old golf course cart path.
Once you make it through the tunnels, turn left and continue down that paved road. This is also the start of the Duck Pond walk which is one of my favorite hikes on Maui. If you were going to the duck pond, you’d turn right and go up the hill but for the Mahana Ridge Trail we are headed down the paved path to the left.
If you are staying at the Ritz-Carlton you can walk to this part of the trail without having to get into your vehicle.
Hiking the Mahana Ridge Trail on Maui
Starting from the trailhead at DT Flemings, the forest becomes thick and overgrown as you begin hiking the Mahana Ridge Trail. About a half mile as you climb the slope you’ll pop out onto a paved road that takes you up past the Kapalua Golf Course.
Starting from parking at the Kapalua Driving Range, the next half mile of a trail is down a paved road. You’ll come to a set of yellow opened gates, make a right.
Soon you will see a municipal building on the right just before you start to ascend up the hill. Half way up this hill you’ll see a path cutting into the brush, this is where you would pop out if you were ascending up the hill from DT Flemings beach park.
The next .25 miles up the meandering road will feel like a doosey. Keep going, you’re almost there – off the road and back into the forest.
The entrance to the trail is just up the hill to the right. If you’ve entered the golf course you’ve gone too far. There is a sign pointing you in the right direction but most likely it’s covered in brush.
The trail borders a small wooded area to the left and palm trees being cultivated to the right. This is where you re-enter the forest.
You’ll pass by several different tree clusters. First small Christmas trees then a beautiful group of centurion plants that look very similar to giant agave plants.
Soon after the path will start to open up as it heads downhill. Once you hit the bottom don’t be surprised if you see golfers in golf carts. The next patch of tall grass is very photogenic and inviting (see the picture above).
Two and a half miles in you’ll start to climb man made stairs composed of giant rocks. The dirt trail continues up the switchbacks along the ridge. Don’t forget to look back, there’s a few scenic spots directly off the path perfect for photo ops.
3 or so miles you’ll pop out of the forest and hit a dirt road that runs up t the water basin. Just north of the water basin you’ll cross that dirt road again and see signs pointing toward the Maunalei Arboretum.
If you weren’t planning on hiking the whole 10 miles, this is a great spot to turn around as it will total over 5 miles. If you continue on the Mahana Ridge Trail towards the Arboretum the path will be in the treeline/forest and if it has rained recently can get very muddy.
Next the trail becomes a bit confusing. The trail is just past the three-way intersection. If you’re nearing a building, you missed the turn. Follow the road for a short section and find the trail again when you see a metal gate indicating the private property of a water company.
The trail departs to the left of this gate on a stone staircase. After a few miles of hiking through different species of plants and trees, cross another dirt road and private property signs. Stay on the trail.
The trail is relatively flat for a while until you find a metal gate placed by a pineapple company. Cross through it and close it behind you. From here it’s about a half mile descent to the Maunalei Arboretum. When you’re ready turn around and come back the way you came.
When to Hike the Mahana Ridge Trail
The trail is fairly shaded so you can hike during the hottest time of the day it doesn’t matter as you won’t get blazed out by the sun. You will however need to think about rain if you start the hike later in the day. This area gets cloudy as the day progresses and afternoon showers are not uncommon.
It rains more frequently in the winter and if it has rained recently the higher on the ridge line you hike, the muddier it can potentially get. Checking the weather before you hike is always something you should do and Maui is no exception. Flash floods can happen at any time, although it is less common on this trail compared to others trails on Maui.
Hiking this trail a few days after a sunny spell is your best bet if you plan on hiking the whole way.
Tips for Hiking the Mahana Ridge
- Dress appropriately. If you hike the Mahana Ridge Trail the whole way you’ll need appropriate shoes and clothes.
- Since parts of the trail are overgrown wearing long pants will shield from getting itchy especially if you have sensitive skin.
- Carry adequate water.
- Be mindful of hazardous weather conditions.
- Bring a bag of some sort to take home fresh fruit as there’s lots on the trail ripe for picking.
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Other Maui Hikes to Enjoy
I have been living on Maui for over a decade and have had ample time to experience all of Maui’s awesome hikes more than a handful of times. If you’re interested in hiking on Maui when you are visiting, click on the hike links below to get a detailed guide of that trail.
- Pipiwai Trail – This 4 mile hike takes you through a dreamy bamboo forest and ends at the stunning Waimoku Falls.
- Sliding Sands – Takes you down through Haleakala Crater.
- Waihee Ridge – Takes you along a ridge offering scenic coastal views.
- Lahaina Pali Trail – Takes you up to the West Maui windmills with epic views of Lanai.
- Hoapili Trail – Scenic trail along the coast and across barren lava fields in South Maui.
- Olivine Pools – A 0.4 mile hike down a sloped cliff to get to natural tide pools formed by lava along the ocean’s edge.
- Iao Valley State Park – Iao Valley is a historic state park in Maui home to iconic Kuka‘emoku.
- Kapalua Coastal Trail – Coastal path along West Maui offering coastal views, world class beaches and dramatic sea cliffs.
- Nakalele Blowhole – A 1.25 mile round trip trail that takes you past steep, rugged, coastal cliffs.