The Ultimate Guide to Hiking Hawai’i: Mau’i

Updated July 1, 2021.

It’s Mau’i Monday! One of Steve’s and my favorite things to do when we travel is hike, and Hawaii has no shortage of beautiful hikes across each and every island. Mau’i’s nickname is the Valley Isle, so you can imagine the lush green landscape and all the beautiful trails there are to explore. Whether you love mountains, valleys, waterfalls, or beach hikes, Mau’i has a hike for you! Here are our Mau’i hiking details.

Waikamoi Ridge Trail

This was our first real hike on the Road to Hana. The “hike” at Twin Falls is really just a short walk, and hiking the Na’ili’ili-haele trail a few miles prior was against our better judgement since it is a treacherous hike even on a dry day, and it was a very rainy day. The lush Waikamoi Ridge Trail was a nice hike to get ourselves off the road, and it wasn’t raining there!

Steps are helpful at a steep part of the trail
View from a lookout point on the trail
Essential info: The Ultimate List of Hiking Tips


  • Location: Road to Hana, between mile markers 9 and 10
  • Total Hiking Time: 45 minutes
  • Distance: 0.8 mile loop
  • Cost: FREE
  • Parking: Parking lot at the trail head
  • Terrain: Mud, dirt, man-made wood plank stairs
  • Restroom Facility: No; there is a restroom facility about 3 miles farther down the road

Other Tips

If you are hoping for waterfalls and scenic vistas overlooking the ocean, skip this one. The charm is in the greenery and the fact that you’re hiking through the jungle! It’s an easy hike, but it will most likely be very muddy along the way.

Waianapanapa State Park Coastal Trail South

This was one of the best surprises of our entire trip! Because we took three days to enjoy the Road to Hana, we had plenty of time to take this trail that most day-trippers opted to skip due to time constraints. It was beautiful, dramatic, romantic, and we had it all to ourselves! We even got our own private blowhole that blew with every wave, instead of standing around with the masses waiting for the blowhole near the picnic area to blow (it only blows at high tide). We kept looking at each other in disbelief and saying, “I can’t believe we have this all to ourselves!” We took the route south of the picnic area (toward Hana), but there is also a trail to the north (toward the Hana airport) as well.

Private Big Wave Show
Trail all to ourselves!
More here: The Ultimate Maui Bucket List


  • Location: Waiapanapanapa, Hana, Hawaii; Road to Hana, mile marker 32 
  • Total Hiking Time: 1 Hour
  • Distance: 3 miles round-trip
  • Cost: FREE
  • Parking: Large parking lot
  • Terrain: Mostly flat, lava rock, dirt
  • Restroom Facility: Yes

Other Tips

This is also part of the original “King’s Highway” all the way around Maui, and part of the original Road to Hana! Definitely take advantage of the restroom facilities, picnic tables, trash cans, and large parking lot. If you’re interested, there are 12 cabins for rent here, and we saw several tents set up as well. Check with local authorities for camping rules and restrictions.

Pipiwai Trail and Bamboo Forest

Usually the anticipation is better than the actual event, but not so with the Bamboo Forest! You’ll hike the Pipiwai Trail, which is lovely and offers many beautiful views and photo opportunities, including a huge banyan tree. About a mile in, you come to a couple of bridges that lead you to the bamboo forest. It is one of the most magical, most fantastic places I’ve ever been! Even Steve was impressed, and he is not easily impressed! After about a mile in the bamboo forest, the final portion of the trail leads you to the 400-foot tall Waimoku Falls!

Bamboo Forest
Waimoku Falls
Banyan Tree
More here: The Best Hawaiian Adventures


  • Location: Road to Hana, mile marker 42
  • Total Hiking Time: 2.5 hours
  • Distance: 5 miles round-trip
  • Cost: $25 per car (admission good for all of Haleakala National Park for three days)
  • Parking: Large, paved parking lot
  • Terrain: Dirt, very muddy, raised boardwalk
  • Restroom Facility: Yes, as well as a visitor center and water refilling station

Other Tips

Do not miss this! If you have the luxury of time on the Road to Hana and plan to spend two or more days enjoying all it has to offer, make this your first stop on one of your days. It’s at the end go the Road to Hana, so it is the least crowded in the morning, and is very popular in the afternoon. Hiking in the morning means you will beat the heat and have the trail mostly to yourself!

Red Sand Beach Trail

This hike is sometimes a little controversial, since the trail is on private property but the beach itself is public. But don’t worry! The owner has posted a sign absolving himself of any liability if you get hurt. I had read that the trail was “treacherous,” but we thought it was the easiest hike of the day! Be smart, watch your footing, and you’ll be fine. The views from the cliffside trail are truly stunning, and the water is the most stunning sapphire color I’ve ever seen–maybe something to do with the same iron that makes the sand red? When you round the corner and see that incredible beach, you will know why this is such a special place!

Red Sand Beach
Red Sand!
Signage from the owner. Hike at your own risk!
Get more: Top 10 Sites on the Road to Hana


  • Location: End of Uakea Road; the trailhead is not marked, but just walk across the field and toward the water. 
  • Total Hiking Time: 30 minutes
  • Distance: 0.8 miles round-trip
  • Cost: FREE
  • Parking: Street parking, public parking lot at Keawa Place and Hauoli Road, or public parking lot at Hana Bay
  • Terrain: Dirt, loose rock
  • Restroom Facility: Yes, at Uakea and Hauoli Roads

Other Tips

Beware, this is a clothing optional beach! We did not see anything we shouldn’t have seen when we were there, though. I think it is far more popular with tourists than with local nudists these days.

Screen Shot 2018-05-12 at 5.09.46 PM
Hikers, beware!
More here: 5 Things You Forgot to Pack for Hawaii

Hoapili Trail

This trail is kind of desolate, kind of gray, kind of tough due to the loose terrain. But if you’re at all interested in history and think it might be fun to walk on the youngest portion of Maui, this is the hike for you! There are a couple of beaches along the way for swimming and snorkeling, and you can see Kahoolawe better from here than anywhere else on the island! It’s a beautiful hike if you like dramatic coastlines and the sound of the ocean as well.

Kahoolawe in the distance
Happy for a sunny day!
Dramatic coastline
More here: How to Spend 8 Days on Maui


  • Location: Take Makena Road all the way to the eastern-most end
  • Total Hiking Time: 2 hours
  • Distance: 4 miles round-trip to the lighthouse (there is an extension beyond thelighthouse to add another 1.5 miles round-trip)
  • Cost: FREE
  • Parking: Gravel lot
  • Terrain: Loose rock, lava rock, sand
  • Restroom Facility: Yes

Other Tips

Bring water! This is important on any hike, but there is very little shade on this hike, and even in the morning the sun was already beating down on us. Also, look out for bombs! Not to be dramatic, but Kahoolawe is no longer inhabited because the Navy used it for target practice during World War II. There are some unexploded bombs in the water, and some may have washed up on the southeast Maui coastline where this trail is located. If you see something unusual, contact the police, and do not investigate yourself! There are signs to tell you more at the trailhead.

Look out for unexploded BOMBS!
More here: Hawaii for History Lovers

Of course, there are many more hikes than this on Maui, and I hope to add to this post on our next trip to Maui! Get more of my Maui and Hawaii planning posts on my Hawaiian Islands Page!

Love this post? Pin it for later!


7 responses to “The Ultimate Guide to Hiking Hawai’i: Mau’i”

  1. […] Best Hike: Pipiwai Trail and Bamboo Forest, Maui, Hawaii, […]

  2. […] more? Check out my Hiking Hawaii posts for the Big Island, Maui, and Molokai! Stay tuned for a hiking post all about Lana’i next May, and for all things […]

  3. […] Love hiking as much as we do? Hiking Hawaii: Maui […]

  4. […] More here: Hiking Hawaii: Maui […]

  5. […] Keep reading: Hiking Hawaii: Maui […]

  6. […] that goes double for Hawaii. I have Hiking Hawaii posts for O’ahu, Island of Hawai’i, Mau’i, and Molokai, and when we can get back there, I’ll be doing posts for Kaua’i and […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by ExactMetrics