Best Maui Hiking Trails
Ready to explore Maui? We have the top 10 best hikes, including epic waterfall and bamboo forest hikes in Maui.
Maui’s diverse landscape is a tale of two different worlds. The island of Maui is shaped like figure-8, leaning on its side. The larger of the rings of the “8” has Haleakala at the center, a stunning 10,000’+ tall dormant volcano. On the other side, there are dramatic spikes of mountains that shoot out from the ground at near vertical angles. The diversity of terrine makes the Maui hiking trails a must-do for any adventure seeker. We highlight the best maui hiking trails in this article.
Maui hiking is one of the most popular activities for visitors and locals. Many trails with varying difficulty provide easy routes for families and extreme hikes for adventurers. Some of the routes, like Twin Falls Hike Maui, offer incredible views of waterfalls with only a minimal distance to get there. After your hike, relax on one of the many beautiful beaches in Maui.
Editor Notes: I lived on Maui for a few years and was able to experience many of the best bikes on Maui. It’s very important to watch the weather prior to doing any hikes on Maui. Because rainfall levels can be significantly higher at different points on the island, many of these hikes are prone to flash flooding.
Near Haiku, Maui, the moderately challenging Twin Falls hike takes about an hour to complete. This is one of the most popular hikes on Maui, so plan to go early. Dogs are welcome on the hike and there are event off-leash areas.
During excessive rain in the area, this hike will be closed due to flooding risk. Also, it is important to know, that after rain it is not safe to enter the water. Check weather leading up to your hike if you plan to enter the water as rain storms can come and go quickly in Maui.
Many hikers will casually stroll to the closer waterfalls just wearing flip flops (slippah’s as locals call them). However, if you are planning to hike the full distance, shoes are recommended. Exposed roots can be hard to see and are very slippery. Without the proper foot ware it is easy to sprain an ankle, or worse. Fortunately, the primary trail is well kept and offers a smooth path to walk on.
Editor Notes: I have hiked his trail dozens of times and it never gets old. When the water is really flowing, these waterfalls come to life. If you are on island during the winter and spring time, this hike is a must do as the waterfalls are typically at their peak. After hiking Twin Falls, I aways go to Baked on Maui in Haiku. The breakfast there is probably the best on Maui.
Undoubtedly the most iconic hike on Maui, the Pipiwai Trail through the bamboo forest is absolutely stunning. Through lush bamboo forest, the trail weaves along Pīpīwai Stream and ends at Waimoku Falls – breathtaking 400′ tall waterfall.
Located off Road 31 in Kipahulu Valley, this four-mile hike takes you through dense jungle, bamboo forests, and over two bridges as you wind your way up to Waimoku Falls. Along the way, you’ll encounter cascading waterfalls, huge banyan trees with thick roots stretching out along the path, as well as unique rock formations that are sure to capture your imagination.
Along the way, hikers can take a dip in one of several freshwater pools or take in the breathtaking views of Hawaii’s coastal valleys. The best time to visit is during June and July when the wild ginger is in full bloom. Make sure to bring plenty of water for this strenuous hike as there are no services available along the way.
Editor Notes: After hiking to Waimoku Falls check out Ohe’o Gulch and the waterfalls. In general, it isn’t good to swim at river mouths. The brown water from the river can be popular hangout spots for Tiger Sharks. Known as the garbage disposals of the ocean for their liberal eating habits, they bite at anything that comes near them. In brown water, these sharks can not tell you are human – not typically on their menu – and have a higher probability of attack.
The Kapalua Coastal Trail is an easy 3-mile walk that provides stunning views of Maui’s western coast from Kapalua Bay to Honolua Bay. This out-and-back trail passes through diverse landscapes including beaches, open fields, lava rock shoreline, and a forest of Ironwood trees (known as Papaʻu o Kukui). As you make your way along this peaceful route you’ll have a chance to spot wildlife such as whales breaching offshore during whale season or Māmane trees with their bright yellow blooms in July and August.
One of the best beachfront cafe’s on the Kapalua coast is at the Ritz Carlton. The hamburger costs about $30 but is worth every penny after a big afternoon of body surfing Slaughterhouse beach.
This popular three-mile loop trail provides hikers with breathtaking views of the Iao Needle—a 1,200 foot tall landmark jutting from lush green foliage. Along with its impressive geological features, this valley also offers historic sites from Hawaiian culture such as ruins from ancient temples and restored irrigation systems used by Hawaiians centuries ago for taro cultivation. While on this leisurely walk be sure to look for local wildlife like nene geese and mongoose who call this place home too!
Located very close to Kahului airport and super convenient to visit. The path is paved the whole way so you don’t need to be worried about getting muddy. If you have a few hours to kill before your flight, consider packing a lunch and checking out the Iao Needle hike. If you don’t feel like walking the stairs to the lookout, there is a nice park by the parking lot that makes for epic picnicking.
For those looking for more challenging hikes on Maui then head over to Mauna Kahalawai ridge trail which is an 8 mile round trip trek starting at Waikamoi Flats near Makawao Forest Reserve leading up 2240 feet across some rugged terrain before ending up on top of Lanilili Peak with sweeping panoramic views across West Maui Mountains all the way down to Ka’anapali Beach below! There will be plenty of opportunities to observe native vegetation including silverswords plants scattered around throughout your journey so keep an eye out!
One of the best hikes on the island is known as Waihee Ridge Trail. This 8 mile trail takes you on a scenic journey through lush rainforests and grassy fields, with breathtaking views of the neighboring islands and ocean. The trail culminates at a lookout point high atop Waihee Ridge, which offers expansive views of Haleakala National Park and beyond.
The hike begins at Waiehu Beach Park and follows an old jeep road up to Waihee Ridge Trailhead. From there, hikers will pass by several waterfalls along their way to the ridge where they can take in stunning panoramic views of upcountry Maui.
The trail also features an abundance of native Hawaiian plants and wildlife; hikers may even spot wild chickens or pigs that make their home in this area. Additionally, it’s possible to extend your hike by continuing onto Puu Kukui Summit Trail for more amazing vistas!
The Hana Maui Trail is a must-do for any outdoor enthusiast visiting the Hawaiian islands. This 6-mile trail takes hikers through lush rainforest and past cascading waterfalls. At the end, hikers will be rewarded with panoramic views from the Puu Kukui Summit.
This hike is not for beginner hikers. For those who brave its steep inclines and rugged terrain, it’s an unforgettable experience. With its picturesque scenery and unique wildlife, it’s no wonder that Hana Maui Trail is considered one of the best hikes in Maui.
Conditions in Hana change rapidly and have caught me off guard many times. When hiking one of the cliff side trails I got caught in a huge rain storm. The trail going out was very steep off grade. Now, coming back, this trail was slick as ice and a large cliff constantly staring me down as I tried to inch my way back. Rookie mistake that I will never forget.
The Wailea Coastal Trail is one of the best hikes in Maui. It is a must-do for any outdoor enthusiast visiting the Hawaiian islands. This 6-mile trail takes hikers along a stunning coastline. Soak in breathtaking views of white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and picturesque waterfalls. Along the way, you’ll get to experience native Hawaiian plants such as hibiscus, orchids and fragrant plumeria trees.
One of the highlights of this hike is Puu Ola’i Lookout where you can take in views of the entire Makena Coastline stretching all the way to Maalaea Bay. The lookout also offers a spectacular view of Haleakala National Park. The trail winds uphill to Pohaku o’ Kama at 783 feet above sea level. The view offers a birds-eye view of Wailea Resort’s sandy beachfront.
The Wailea Coastal Trail is particularly challenging due to its steep inclines but it is definitely worth the effort for those who are determined enough to complete it! With its unique wildlife, lush rainforest surroundings and unbeatable views.
If you are traveling to Maui with the goal of hiking most of the time, staying at a high end resort isn’t the best value. Having lived on Maui for about four years, I have helped dozens of friends and family plan their perfect Maui vacation. From those looking for luxury resorts and amazing ocean front pools to outdoor enthusiasts that are just as happy sleeping in a tent as staying in a hotel.
Being close to the action is key for those looking to maximize adventure time while in Maui. Given that the drive to Hana can take over five hours when there is traffic. If you don’t want to spend your vacation in the car, consider staying in Hana town. While the cost of hotels and Airbnb’s in Hana is higher, the extra time you get on the trails is well worth the money. Not to mention the incredible sleep you will get in the whisper quiet town.