Maui's Best Adventures

Pipiwai Trail & Waimoku Falls

Rating: In a nutshell: Pipiwai Trail is a treasure of the National Park System that passes through diverse scenery and culminates at the base of an absolutely spectacular waterfall. Minuses: You’ll be sharing the trail with lots of other folks. Sound-bite: [insert hollow percussive sounds of bamboo striking one another] DETAILS: Taking into account the easy accessibility, the Pipiwai Trail …

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West Maui’s North Shore

Rating: In a nutshell: Rugged shoreline, scenic vistas, and cliff-edge driving you’ll never forget. Minuses: If you’re not a confident driver parts of this drive could be your worst nightmare. Sound-bite: “what do you mean back up!?!“ Most visitors will travel in and out of West Maui along its West and South shores through Maalaea. This is definitely the commuter …

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Olivine Pools

Rating: In a nutshell: Dramatic, swimmable tidepools located on barren lava along the ocean’s edge on the back-side of West Maui. Minuses: Can be dangerous. Terrain on the short hike is unforgiving to those who are not sure-footed. Sound-bite: “My car got broken into!” Be Very Careful Here People have died here. Many more have been injured. Understand why, and …

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Nakalele Point, Blowhole & “Acid War Zone”

Rating: In a nutshell: Blowhole and scenic rugged coastline hike. Minuses: If you’re not sure-footed parts of the trail can be challenging. Sound-bite: [hssssst….BLAST!] Blowhole safety In Maui it has been customary to allow the careless free control over their destiny. But if you come from a place where they would put a barrier around dangers, then they would most …

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The Back Side of Haleakala

Rating: In a nutshell: If you like the road less traveled, continuing on past Hana around Haleakala is an adventure worth taking. In about the same amount of time as it would take you to go back the way you came, you can see a side of Maui many miss. Minuses: The road becomes rough for portions and rental car …

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Twin Falls

Rating: In a nutshell: Twin Falls is the first easily accessible string of waterfalls and pools on the Road to Hana. It also has one of the better snack stands on the journey. Twin falls is typically underrated by guidebooks, and is a worthy stop. Minuses: You must budget your time properly here if you are cramming the Road to …

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Waioka Pond (aka Venus Pool)

Rating: In a nutshell: Among East Maui’s most spectacular natural pools, situated in rugged and scenic coastline. Minuses: Access and safety issues mean that the vast majority of visitors should skip this. Sound-bite: “That last step is a doosey!” NOTE: I did not rate Waioka Pond because most readers should not be attempting to access this site for the reasons …

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Wailua & Ke’anae Valley Hike

Rating: In a nutshell: An easy 30-minute hike can turn into a spectacular multi-hour moderately easy-going hiking adventure. Graded un-paved access road passes for miles through an undeveloped Eden of Maui rainforest and watershed. Minuses: Access may require permission from EMI. On weekends you might encounter boar hunters and their pit bulls. Sound-bite: “Yesterday I found the best hike on …

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Waihe’e Ridge Trail

Rating: In a nutshell: Hike into the clouds, with spectacular views. Minuses: Fairly steep 2.5 miles, can be slippery back down. Sound-bite: [Birds singing] This is a nice hike with spectacular views. The photos here don’t do the views full justice. Every direction you look, you’re treated with a different view – lush rainforest valley, Makamakaole Falls in the distance, …

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“Bamboo Forest” (Na’ili’ili Haele)

Rating: In a nutshell: Na’ili’ili Haele, for most, will be a nice short hike to two or three waterfalls and pools. The more able hikers will be rewarded with more significant sights. Minuses: Access may be restricted by EMI. Can become dangerous to nearly impossible depending on conditions/how far you go. Sound-bite: “Is that really a ladder?” Safety Note This …

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Red Sand Beach

Rating: In a nutshell: A dramatic and beautiful hidden cove unlike any other. Minuses: The short hike to the beach is hazardous. Sound-bite: “Has the Mothership departed without me?” WARNING: Part of the trail was lost to a landslide and has become more dangerous than it once was. This is not a safe hike for anyone unaccustomed to navigating cliff-edges …

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Jaws Surf Break (aka Pe’ahi)

Rating: In a nutshell: The biggest wave surfed in the world each year has been at Pe’ahi more than any other place. Minuses: The access road can be 4WD Sound-bite: [crashing waves, cheers and helicopters] Disclaimer on the rating: Pe’ahi is only “must-see spectacular” when the North Shore is having monster surf (look for high surf warnings.) Key Info: Mile …

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Keokea through Ulupalakua

Rating: In a nutshell: A hearty breakfast or lunch, then off for scenic vistas, and wine tasting. Minuses: The road in Ulupalakua is unforgiving if you become over-enthusiastic during the wine tasting! Sound-bite: “They should call this ‘Paniolo soul food’, brah!” This is a good side-trip to take after a Haleakala Crater sunrise trip, or during a planned Upcountry exploration …

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Lahaina Pali Trail

Rating: In a nutshell: A rugged and challenging 5-10 mile hike with stunning panoramas of the central valley, ocean and neighbor islands. Minuses: If you want to do the whole trail you’ll need 2 cars or legs of steel. Sound-bite: [whipping winds] SUMMARY: This is a rugged and strenuous 5-mile trail from Maalaea to Ukumehame. This is an out-and-back hike …

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Lower Puohokamoa Falls

Rating: In a nutshell: Lower Puohokamoa Falls is a tall, cascading waterfall that the vast majority of people will, at most, view from a distance. Extreme hikers can take a treacherous hike to a spectacular views and pool at the base. Minuses: Access to view and hike may be on private land. Hike itself is only for experts. Sound-bite: “Most …

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Waikamoi Nature Trail

Rating: In a nutshell: Waikamoi Nature Trail is an easy short-stop on the Road to Hana. Good for non-hikers. A nice quick-stop that many will appreciate. Minuses: Not among the long list of “spectacular” on this road. No waterfall. Sound-bite: “Worthwhile place to spend 20 minutes.” DETAILS: Okay, you know the quiet little shy kid in the family that no …

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Pu’u Maneoneo Petroglyphs & Village Ruins

Rating: In a nutshell: An extensive and well-preserved rock art site that rivals the best rock art sites of the other islands. Minuses: This a remote place on Maui that requires some off-trail hiking in dense forest. The amount of kiawe trees in the area virtually assures that you’ll draw blood at some point. Sound-bite: “How often do these trees …

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Helele’ike’oha Falls (aka Blue Pool)

Rating: In a nutshell: A beautiful pool and waterfall, but access is closed. Minuses: Access is closed to the public. Sound-bite: “But I came all the way from Wisconsin!” “Blue Pool” (the real name is Helele’ike’oha Falls), is the poster child of guidebooks hyping places to the braking point, and entitled tourists following the lead. Access to this location is …

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