15 Best Hikes in Maui for All Levels

Maui, the second-largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, holds a treasure trove of diverse ecosystems, each contributing to the island’s unparalleled natural beauty and ecological significance. Maui’s five elevation zones comprise a tapestry of biomes, ranging from coastal areas to alpine deserts.

The best way to enjoy Maui’s spectacular landscape? On foot, of course! Follow these popular day hike routes to see some of the island’s most significant natural landmarks, like the Haleakalā Volcano and Iao Needle. Take in sweeping vistas of the verdant West Maui Mountains and endless views of Maui’s picturesque coasts.

These 15 trails will take you to some of the most hallowed spots on Maui! Book your vacation home and pack some fresh pineapple for the road; it’s time to go hiking!

1. Kapalua Coastal Trail

Photo Credit: Alexandre.ROSA

Kapalua Coastal Trail is a go-to for the nearby resort-goers and visitors to Maui’s north shore. With boardwalk pathways and paved trails, it’s one of the best hikes in Maui for everyone.

This trail takes you to some of the best coastal views on the North Maui coastline. You’ll pass D.T. Fleming Beach, which offers views of Honokahua Bay, Oneloa Bay, Namalu Bay, and finally Kapulua Bay. In addition to water views, you’ll see native Hawaiian plants lining the trails, hear sea birds calling from overhead, trek lava fields, and even spot whales.

2. Iao Needle Lookout Trail

Photo Credit: Bernard Spragg. NZ via Flickr CC2.0

Weave through the Iao Valley State Park along the Iao Needle Lookout Trail to see one of Maui’s most iconic natural landmarks. Kuka’emoku, or the Iao Needle, is a needle-shaped rock piercing its way from the valley floor to an elevation of 1,200.

The Iao Needle is intertwined in the tapestry of Hawaii’s ancient history. Native considered it the phallic stone of Kamala, the Hawaiian God of the Ocean. Today, it’s a popular hike and photo opportunity.

The easy hike is about a half-mile stroll on a paved pathway from the parking lot. The overlook is on a ridge, surrounding you with the lush valley landscape.

3. The Pipiwai Trail

Photo Credit: MNStudio

If you’re chasing waterfalls in Maui, the Pipiwai Trail will give you double the pleasure! It’s one of the most popular Maui hiking trails along the Road to Hana Highway to see two of the can’t-miss waterfalls in Maui. It’s located near mile marker 42.

The highlights of the trail are seeing the 185-foot-tall Makahiku Falls and 400-foot-tall Waimoku Falls. Hike through surreal bamboo forest tunnels to overlooks that open up to views of the majestic flow of the iconic waterfalls. It’s just a half-mile hike to Makahiku Falls and nearly two miles to Waimoku Falls.

The boardwalk trail areas and stairs make it a fun adventure for all ages and skill levels.

4. Seven Sacred Pools Trail (‘Ohe’o Gulch)

Photo Credit: Tracy Immordino

Arriving at some of Maui’s beautiful landscapes doesn’t always require a long hike. Many people complete the Seven Sacred Pools Trail in just 15 minutes.

This trail winds through the lush rainforests of the ‘Oheo’o Gulch valley. Streams carve their way through the forest to create a series of waterfalls and sacred natural swimming pools. We know it looks tempting, but keep in mind that swimming is prohibited in the sacred pools. Instead, continue along the trail, and you’ll reach views of the Kipahulu Coast and see preserved historic sites with display plaques to learn more about them.

5. Wailea Oceanfront Boardwalk Trail

Photo Credit: Billy McDonald

Warm up for the more challenging hikes in Maui on the Wailea Oceanfront Boardwalk Trail. It’s a popular route showcasing some of the best beaches on the island’s southwestern shore—no wonder so many resorts are located here.

The boardwalk trail runs along the coast of Makena State Park. Watch paddle boarders off-shore of Wailea Beach, cheer on the surfers as you pass Big Beach, and watch snorkelers dipping below the water surface at Ulua Beach. In the distance, you can see all the way to Lana’i, Molokini, and Kaho’olawe island.

One of the best times to hike this trail is from November to May when you can spot whales in the ocean.

6. Hoapili Trail

Photo Credit: Joe Ferrer

See remnants of the last volcanic eruptions on Maui. The Hoapilil Trail amazes you with an ever-changing landscape dating back to 1790. Hikers tip-toe the coastline along a ridge trail, revealing some of the newly formed landscapes on Maui.

As lava seeped from the volcano into the ocean, it created the rugged, dried lava rock cliffs you’ll see on the hike. Spot Spinner Dolphins in La Perouse Bay, walk the gray sands of Keawanaku Beach, and then reach the Hanamanio Point Lighthouse, perched on Cape Hanamanioa, the southernmost point on the island of Maui.

7. Twin Falls Trail

Photo Credit: Tracy Immordino

First-timers on the Twin Falls Trail often mistake the first waterfall they encounter as the trail’s highlight. But now you know it’s just a teaser—the real show is the Upper Falls. Finally, a hike where you can go for a refreshing swim after completing the trail!

The Upper Falls is the largest of the two and is located at the end of the hike. Spend a few moments admiring the first waterfall, then continue onwards through the rainforest. Save this hike for a hot day when you can cliff jump into the natural pool at the foot of the waterfall.

Pro Tip: Re-energize after this short hike with fresh fruits from the Twin Falls Farm Stand.

8. Nakalele Blowhole Hike

Photo Credit: Tracy Immordino

Volcanos aren’t the only thing that can erupt on Maui. Contrast with the force of the sea shooting water through Nakalele Blowhole. This aquatic eruption can send water soaring up to 100 feet into the air. The Nakalele Blowhole Hike gives you a front-row seat to this natural phenomenon.

This manhole-sized hole in the rocks packs quite a punch. You’ll get the best view of the true power of the Nakalele Blowhole during high tide. The water show times vary—it can take a few seconds between eruptions or a few minutes. Keep your distance while you wait to avoid being swept away by the force of the ocean.

Although a short hike, you should be mindful of ledges and slippery surfaces when climbing over the coastal rocks.

9. Kahakapao Loop Trail

Photo Credit: Kahunapule Michael Johnson via Flickr CC2.0

The dense Makawao Forest Reserve is one of the unique forested areas on the island. It sits 4,000 feet above sea level and covers more than 2,000 acres. You’ll experience just a sample of what this forest has to offer while hiking the Kahakapao Loop Trail.

Seeing what kind of plants and birds you’ll encounter during your forest hike is always exciting. It’s home to native Hawaiian trees like the Ōhi’a Lehua Tree and Koa Tree. You’ll instantly spot the bright red feathers of the ‘Apapane bird. Watch out for bikers and horseback riders sharing the trail!

10. Waihee Ridge Trail

Photo Credit: Maridav

Set your eyes on one of two major mountain systems in Maui. The Waihee Ridge Trail winds along the summit of the West Maui Mountains for views of these expansive verdant peaks.

Cross through the West Maui Forest Reserve and emerge at the summit. At elevations this high, it’s common to experience rainy weather and cloudy skies. If you’re lucky enough to hike on a clear day, you can see all the way to the west shore.

This is a more challenging hike because most of the trail is an uphill climb. It may also be slippery near the top due to frequent rain.

11. Lahaina Pali Trail

Photo Credit: Denis Dore

The Lahaina Pali Trail reveals a part of Maui that was gone but never forgotten. Follow the route of the old King’s Highway, used to connect the native communities that once dotted the island.

Just think—the views you see on this trail are the same as those viewed by native Hawaiians since the early 1800s when they navigated the ‘highway’ for trade and travel. The challenging hike takes you up and down the West Maui Mountains valleys. Peer out into the ocean to see Kaho’olawe, the smallest of the main Hawaiian Islands, and Lana’i considered the last untouched Hawaiian island.

One sight that’s different from what the ancient Hawaiians saw is massive wind turbines. These 180-foot-tall structures are part of the Ma’alaea Wind Farm and showcase our island’s sustainability efforts.

12. Sliding Sands Trail (Keonehe’ehe’e Trail)

Photo Credit: Nature’s Charm

Visiting Haleakalā National Park is one of the best things to do in Maui. Venture into Upcountry Maui to discover a volcano forming more than three-quarters of the entire island. Hiking the Sliding Sands Trail lets you explore the crater of the park’s namesake Haleakalā Volcano—don’t worry, it’s remained dormant for more than 400 years!

Wear shoes with good grips as you zig-zag to the floor of the crater. The drab gray landscapes feel otherworldly, with very little vegetation and the crater walls looming ever so large the lower you descend.

What makes this Maui hike so challenging is the distance from point to point. Going down the crater is always fun, but it can be a workout making your way back up the crater.

13. Halemau’u Trail

Photo Credit: Frank Hamm via Flickr CC2.0

Can’t get enough of the Haleakalā Volcano? The Halemau’u Trail gives you a different perspective of Maui’s largest volcano. Follow this trail to an overlook of the Haleakalā crater to see just how massive this volcano really is.

For the best viewpoint, you only need to hike approximately 1.5 miles into the trail. The summit viewpoint gives a panoramic view of the crater formed from erosion rather than eruption. Look for the vibrant colors formed by volcanic mineral deposits and count the cinder cones.

Complete the hike following a series of switchbacks to the crater floor. It’s a shorter crater hike compared to the Sliding Sands Trail, but it can be more strenuous due to the elevated switchbacks.

14. Silversword Loop Trail (Bonus Trail)

Photo Credit: Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr CC2.0

Still have some energy left after finishing the Halemau’u Trail? Take a detour to the Silversword Loop Trail to see one of the rare, endangered plants that Maui is famous for. The detour is a much shorter route option than the total trail distance, so it’s the perfect time to check it out!

This is one of the only places you can find the Silversword plant growing in nature. Consider yourself lucky to see this sword-like bloom because it flowers only once in its 50-year lifespan. The nutrient-rich volcanic soil and rain make it the perfect environment for the plants to thrive.

15. Mahana Ridge Trail

Photo Credit: Anton Kültz

It can be hard to say goodbye to Maui’s picturesque coast, but the inland hike on the Mahana Ridge Trail is well worth it! It’s one of the best hikes in Maui to see the island’s rich biodiversity.

The trailhead is at the D.T. Fleming Beach and Park. The challenging hike is an uphill climb of more than 2,000 feet in elevation gain. From the ridge line, you’ll reach an overlook of the Pu’u Fukui Watershed Preserve, which has more than 300 native plants.

The trail touches regions of the former Honolua Ranch, once used to grow pineapples and coffee. The Maunalei Arboretum is the final destination on the trail, where you can learn about different native species of plants in Maui.

Pro Tip: Start this hike early because it can take a half-day to complete the entire round trip.

Unwind in Luxury Accommodation After Your Hike

Recharge after your hike in our luxury Maui vacation home. It’s the ideal accommodation for your pre-hike planning and post-hike relaxation. Book now and start exploring the island on the best hikes in Maui.

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