There are many places to hike on Maui’s West Side. One of the hikes with the most stunning views that is often overlooked is the Lahaina Pali trail, dating back to the 1800s. This is one of Maui’s more challenging and sweat inducing hikes for adventure seekers. If you have a home or condo in Kaanapali or Kapalua, you're only a short drive from this hiking trail.
Trailheads are on both sides of the Lahaina Pali Trail, west and east. The west trailhead starts just after Ukumehame Beach State Park off Honoapiilani Road. This can be a good choice for the winter whale season, as you’re likely to see whales breaching! There’s a parking spot on the side of the highway just after the famous Lahaina tunnel.
Otherwise, you can choose the east side beginning off Honoapiilani Highway, by the intersection with North Kihei Road. If you’re concerned about parking, this starting point offers a parking lot just past the gates.
If you choose to do the entire 5.5-mile trail you’ll need a car at the other trailhead to pick you up or if you are incredibly athletic, you can hike back, which will make the total distance hiked a whopping 11 miles.
In Hawaiian, “Pali” means slope or cliff, which is indeed accurate in describing the rugged terrain of the Lahaina Pali trail. The trailheads start out near sea level and increase to 1600 feet within 2.5 miles. Going uphill can be strenuous and the trail itself is rocky. If you are in good shape, you can expect the hike going one way to take approximately 3 hours.
The hike features a stunning panoramic view of the Central Valley, Haleakala, the Pacific Ocean and neighboring islands Kahoolawe and Lanai. Hikers are also privy to Hawaii’s native wildlife including the official state bird, the nēnē (goose) and pueo (short-eared owl).
One of the unique aspects of this hike is getting up close and personal with Maui’s wind turbines, which are located at the mid-point, Kealaloloa Ridge. If you’ve driven from the south side of the island, gazed from the beach or perhaps from your airplane, the windmills are a prominent spectacle. There are now 34 windmills at an astounding height of 168 feet with 115-foot blades.
We recommend this hike in the early morning, as the sun can be brutal midday. Also, if the trade winds are blowing, start on the east side. This way you'll have a nice breeze to cool you off on the uphill portion of the hike. The dry landscape does not provide much cover. Take lots of water and appropriate hiking shoes. You may experience wind and sudden showers so travel with layers. Expect a beautiful sensory experience and don’t forget your camera!
If you’re a foodie, there’s no better place to live then Maui’s West Side. With so many world-class resorts, it’s not hard to find a place for breakfast, lunch, happy hour or dinner. The Jo Dorner team has favorite restaurants scattered throughout the West Side, including Lahaina, Kaanapali, Napili and… Continue Reading
There are many places to hike on Maui’s West Side. One of the hikes with the most stunning views that is often overlooked is the Lahaina Pali trail, dating back to the 1800s. This is one of Maui’s more challenging and sweat inducing hikes for adventure seekers. If… Continue Reading