As a kid growing up on Maui I did what all local kids did. We created our playgrounds or activities in whatever the environment allowed. We made up our own hikes. Climbed mango trees, played in the cane fields and swam in the stream. There was never a lack of places for us kids to explore and get lost in our own imaginations.
And then you grow up. No more climbing trees or swimming in streams. Life gets in the way with having to make a living. Even when you live in paradise locals aren’t always at the beach or taking advantage of our beautiful island home. Then in 2016, I wanted to do something different. A challenge or resolution that was exciting, fun and be outdoors. I felt I was missing out on areas of the island that only visitors get to see. I came up with a goal to do 10 hikes by the end of the year. Hiking would accomplish a few things: exercise, being outside and exploring new places on the island. Of course, this would include my husband and it would be something fun for us to do together.
There are definitely more than 10 hiking trails on Maui. I was not an avid hiker and only knew of a few trails, but I was confident I could do at least 10 different trails. There wasn’t any method to how we selected the trails. Whatever trail I had heard of or knew of is what we went with. Most of the trails were close by and easy to get to. If and when I get to 10 they’ll all be posted. For now here are my 3 hikes so far.
What I learned about myself
I am a tortoise and not a hare
I am a finisher – no matter how difficult the trail
The Kahakapao Trail Loop is located in the Makawao Forest Reserve near the town of Makawao. It’s 5.9 miles forms a loop and is shaded by a canopy of trees. I particularly like this hike for its shade. The elevation reaches up to 3600+ feet and the temperatures can be slightly cooler depending on the time of year. A little warning about this trail. This area gets wet and muddy after a heavy rain. That also makes this trail popular with dirt bikers. Check the weather before heading out to this trail under a canopy. There’s lots of free parking.
The Olowalu Valley trail is a beautiful hike which involves a lot of stream crossing. Olowalu is on the west side of Maui on the way to Lahaina. This is actually two separate hikes: Petroglyph hike and the Olowalu Valley. To get to the Petroglyphs it’s about 1 mile from the Olowalu general store. We passed by this historic site and headed straight to the Olowalu trail. The Olowalu trail is approximately 4 miles. The terrain is varied, but not impossible. There are about 9 stream crossings. I particularly remembered this hike because we didn’t know exactly where we were going. As a kid, I remembered taking school field trips to visit the petroglyphs and I hadn’t been back since then. Just passing the petroglyphs you can park outside the gate at the cultural center. Warning please don’t park inside the gate if it is open. It is locked after a certain time and you might get locked in. Note: most of the petroglyphs have been vandalized with graffiti along with weather and time has eroded most of the historic drawings.
What can I say about this hike? It’s HARD!!! If you are not in good physical health please do not attempt this beautiful but challenging trail in Waihee, Maui. It’s not a far hike just about 2.5 miles one way. The deceiving part is the ascending steep trail. I found out quickly how out of shape I was. It amazed me how many people were coming down from the trail with flip flops and even carrying newborn babies. What were they thinking? There’s a lot of free parking, but the park does close at 7 pm. Also check the weather. This is not a place to be when it’s raining.
It starts off difficult. A steep concrete driveway leads up to the trail. We found walking backward made it easier.
Amazing waterfalls that can only be seen from this trail.
We are only halfway to the top at this point. We took a picture just in case we didn’t make it. Eventually, we did make it all the way. Yahoo!
It felt good to make it all the way to the top of Waihe’e Ridge. The views alone are worth all the pain and effort. The air was crisp and clean. I had a bird’s eye view of Kahului harbor, Waihe’e, Waiehu, and Kahului. If you are up for a challenge and if the weather permits accept the journey. We’ll see you on the next hike on Maui.