Planning a trip to Hawaii’s Valley Isle and looking for a list of the best hikes in Maui? I’ve got you covered!
I love everything about Maui. It’s just so beautiful! You can’t beat the island’s laidback beaches, blue ocean, lush forests, and waterfalls.
I also really love hiking. I find that it’s the best way to really explore during my travels and connect with nature—especially when a place has so much of it to offer as Maui does!
The thing about Maui is that there are a ton of amazing hiking trails—which is awesome—but it can be a bit overwhelming figuring out which ones to choose and finding the ones that fit your skill level and itinerary.
No matter which hike you choose, you’re in for the scenery and views of a lifetime!
So here goes my list of the 9 best hikes in Maui for epic views!
P.S. Planning a trip to Maui? Book some of my absolute favorite activities through GetYourGuide below!
Best Hikes in Maui: Easy to Moderate
1. Twin Falls — 1.8 miles, 50 minutes
Twin Falls is an extremely popular Maui hiking trail.
One reason for this is that Twin Falls is the first waterfall hike you encounter on the famous road to Hana drive (just past mile marker 2).
The other reason is that it’s totally beautiful!
You won’t have the trail to Twins Fall for yourself, but it’s definitely worth doing—especially if you’re looking for an easy, straightforward hike through lush jungle and a chance to take a dip in a refreshing swimming hole at the base of a waterfall.
Note: there’s another short, beautiful hike past Twin Falls at mile marker 9 called Waikamoi Ridge Trail that you can check out while you’re out this way.
2. ‘Iao Valley State Park — 0.6 miles, ~15 minutes
Iao Valley State Park is an iconic one located in the center of Maui and is best known for the 1,200-foot tall Iao Needle rock formation that seems to poke straight up to the sky.
The Iao Needle Lookout Trail hike is the most popular and also one of the easiest hikes on Maui. It’s a paved walking trail that takes you up a volcanic hillside and through the lush jungle to the picturesque lookout point.
Along the way, you’ll also get a fascinating history lesson via plaques that tell the story of the bloody Battle of Kepaniwai in 1790 where King Kamehameha I defeated the Maui Army.
The hike starts directly from the ‘Iao Valley State Park parking lot which costs $5 per car.
The official trail is very short and paved—it’s basically a staircase.
But if you’re feeling adventurous, once you get to the top, you’ll see a path beyond the rail (and beyond the do not cross the railing sign). I’ve gone up this hiking path multiple times and the views are so worth it.
Just stay on the path, and make sure to be on the lookout for park rangers when you enter/exit the path.
3. Nakalele Blowhole — 1.2 miles, ~45 minutes
The hike to the Nakalele Blowhole is one of the coolest Maui hiking trails ever!
It’s not long but you’ll need to walk through some steep rugged coastline and slippery rocks along the way, making it moderately challenging. I highly recommend wearing hiking boots.
Along the hike, you’ll find the Nakalele Point lighthouse. This is a lovely place to stop and get some panoramic views of the blowhole and the ocean.
You’ll then pass through a rocky area called the “Acid War Zone” which is exactly what it looks like! Due to erosion, there are crazy volcanic rock patterns and formations that naturally create this interesting post-apocalyptic scenery. It’s super interesting!
Farther along, you’ll arrive at the blowhole. You’ll need to hike down closer to sea level and experience the explosive geyser effect that’s really something!
But, it’s critical to stay at least 20 feet away from the blowhole. The blowhole’s eruptions are unpredictable and can be quite violent depending on the water conditions and also create a vacuum effect that’s super dangerous. People have been sucked in before and drowned. 🙁
You’ll get plenty of amazing pics and have a blast while keeping a safe distance, I promise!
Note that to see all of these sights, you’ll need to start the hike from the parking area at mile marker 38 as you drive north from Kapalua.
4. Waihou Spring Trail — 1.8 miles, 1 hour
You’ll find the Waihou Spring Forest Reserve, a gorgeous 186-acre pine tree grove, at an elevation of 3,820 feet where you have some lovely mountain strolling or hiking options.
If you want to make this an easy forest walk, you can take a left at the fork and do the spring trail loop that’s just 0.6 miles long.
For a more challenging hike, you can go right at the fork and take the Waihou Spring Trail which ends with a short but steep switchback trail hike down into a ravine where there are some interesting lava caves.
If you decide to be adventurous and explore the caves, just be sure you have proper hiking shoes and water, as getting back up to the main trail can be strenuous if you’re not in shape for it!
You can get to the Waihou Spring Forest Reserve by going up a narrow, winding road near the small upcountry town of Makawao.
5. Pipiwai Trail to the Waimoku Falls — 4 miles, 2-4 hours
A massive banyan tree, several waterfalls, an emerald bamboo forest, a grove of apple trees—all leading up to a majestic 400-foot tall cascading waterfall as the final destination.
How’s that for an epic Maui hike?
You’ll encounter all of these gorgeous sites when you make the moderate 4-mile round-trip trek on the Pipiwai Trail to one of the best waterfalls in Maui, the Waimoku Falls.
You’ll work up a sweat putting in those miles, but the workout feels awesome and all the photo ops you’ll get are totally worth it!
I recommend getting an early start because it’s a very popular hike—take your time and be patient if you encounter some crowds!
The Pipiwai Trail also takes you to the Seven Sacred Pools—which are among East Maui’s most precious highlights—and also a must-see!
I should also note that the Pipiwai Trail is part of the Haleakala National Park, which costs $30 per vehicle to enter. It’s located near mile marker 42 towards the end of the Road to Hana.
Best Hikes in Maui: Moderate to Hard
6. Hoapili Trail — 5.5 miles, 4 hours
The cool part about hiking South Maui’s Hoapili Trail is that it takes you to parts of the island that are secluded and that most people don’t see.
The hike is quite strenuous, as you’ll be traversing across some rough terrain made up of hard (and sometimes pointy!) lava rocks. Be sure you have proper hiking boots that will keep your feet well protected.
The Hoapili Trail begins at La Pérouse Bay and follows the undeveloped coastline where you’ll pass through lava features, an overgrown Kiawe tree forest, and possibly spot some wandering feral goats!
Also, note that most of the hiking trail is mostly exposed with little shade and it can get uncomfortably hot and dry. Be sure you’re wearing the strongest sun protection and have lots of water!
About a mile into the hike, you can cool off at Keawanaku Beach, a secluded beach that you can reach by taking a short side trail. There are other small beaches to check out along the way, so take your time and enjoy having a piece of Maui nature all to yourself!
7. Sliding Sands Trail — 11 miles, ~5-7 hours
If you’re ready to make a full day out of hiking, then you’ll want to hit up Haleakala National Park and embark on one of the most popular trails, Sliding Sands (also called the Keonehe’ehe’e Trail).
The Sliding Sands trail starts on Haleakala’s rim and takes you down to the crater floor. To get back to the rim, you can either turn around and take the same route or mix it up by hiking back up the Halemau’u Trail on the other side.
This combination is called the Sliding Sands Loop and is an 11-mile point-to-point trek that could to take you anywhere from 4.5 up to 10 hours depending on your fitness level and pace.
You won’t see waterfalls or lush vegetation on this hike—quite the opposite! The volcanic landscape is almost barren except for a few endemic plants, called silverswords, scattered about here and there.
But that’s what’s so cool about it. It’s like you’re walking through a crater on Mars with just rocks, dirt, and sand with varying shades of brown, red, and orange.
It’s a long hike and the terrain makes it challenging, but also totally rewarding!
Make sure you have all the proper hiking gear—including shoes, sunscreen, hat, snacks, and plenty of water!
8. Mahana Ridge Trail — 10 miles, ~5 hours, 45 minutes
Are you ready for a long, strenuous hike on West Maui that includes lots of greenery and ocean views? Then the Mahana Ridge Trail is perfect.
You’ll find the Mahana Ridge trailhead at Fleming Park, which you can get to by driving north through Lahaina into Kapalua.
When you start the Mahana Ridge Trail, you’ll be embarking on a challenging climb to 2,000 feet through native Hawaiian forests and end up at the Maunalei Arboretum.
The beauty of the hike is that you’ll see tons of trees, plants, and gorgeous scenery along the way.
Another plus, if you’re looking for some solitude, this hike isn’t nearly as busy as many of the other Maui hikes, so enjoy the peace and quiet!
If you see signs about a shuttle, know that there used to be a shuttle service back to Kapalua from the endpoint, but that it no longer runs. So be aware that getting back on foot is the only option!
9. Waihe’e Ridge Trail — 5 miles, ~2.5 hours
For a scenic hike up to the clouds in the West Maui Mountains of Wailuku, the Waihe’e Ridge Trail doesn’t disappoint!
It starts fairly easy—even though you’re already at an elevation of 1,000 feet when you begin—but then gets much more challenging as you ascend another 1,500 to reach the peak at 2,560 feet. But what you find here are some breathtaking panoramic views of central Maui, Wailuku, and the mountains.
But, don’t worry because you’ll have plenty of gorgeous scenery before that point to keep you going. You’ll be stopping a lot to take some awesome photos with views of the Makamakaole Gulch and the Waihee Gorge down below.
The afternoon clouds that roll in can block some of the best views, or it can start raining causing the trail to get muddy and slick, so you’ll want to do the Waihe’e Ridge Trail hike in the morning.
And there you have my hiking guide with my roundup of the best 9 hikes in Maui!
Depending on which ones you decide to tackle and how long you’re in Maui, I’d recommend focusing on your favorites and giving yourself time to rest in between. Happy Maui hiking!
Heading to Maui? Check out my other Maui travel guides here.
The best hikes in Maui are:
– Twin Falls
– Pipiwai Trail to the Waimoku Falls
– Mahana Ridge Trail
The easier hikes in Maui are:
– ‘Iao Valley State Park
– Nakalele Blowhole
– Waihou Spring Trail
The difficult hikes in Maui are:
– Hoapili Trail
– Sliding Sands Trail
– Waihe’e Ridge Trail
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.