You have to do these two hidden Maui hikes when you’re in Hawaii! You’ll be rewarded with stunning waterfalls and amazing views.
You can’t go to Hawaii without doing at least one hike. No matter what island you’re on, there are ways to connect with nature and enjoy amazing views.
Hikes in Hawaii range from super easy to incredibly challenging – even dangerous. It’s important to do your research in advance so you avoid getting yourself into trouble and needing to be rescued. Pay close attention to weather as rain can make a hike that is typically easy into a dangerous mudslide! It’s also important to be realistic about your abilities and to make sure you pack the right clothing for hiking. Good shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy are a MUST.
Best Hikes in Maui, Hawaii
Here are two hikes we did in Maui that I highly recommend. They are both challenging, mainly due to muddy conditions. The first has beautiful views of the Hawaii landscape all the way to the ocean. The second has several waterfalls that you can enjoy and even two that you can swim in! Read on for everything you need to know.
We were so lucky to have the local scoop on hikes in Maui thanks to A.J. from The Wander Travels. He grew up in Maui and is a full-time photographer. His work is amazing – including these pictures of me from our hike! I’m constantly grateful for Instagram and the connections we make there. We’ve met up with people from all over the world that have a similar passion for travel and photography.
Iao State Park Secret Trail
The standard 0.6 mile hike is very popular and easy. It is completely paved and features a lush botanical garden. If you’re up for a challenge, there’s a lesser known trail that offers amazing views. It’s quite steep and extremely muddy. Even though it’s only 2.5 miles round trip, it felt like much farther. It took us almost 2 hours to get to the top. Don’t wear shoes or clothes you care about. I fell at least three times! We were completely covered in mud by the end. Make sure you bring a change of clothes or at least towels to cover the seats of your car on the way back to your hotel. One thing I really liked about this hike is that it’s mainly covered until your reach the ridge, protecting you from the sun and the heat.
There is an upper and lower trail. Lower takes you to a river, and upper offers these spectacular views at the end. It’s a little tricky finding the trail. It’s considered “closed” as it’s not maintained. Walk to the viewpoint at the top of the stairs at Iao State Park and hop over the railing on the left side. You’ll see a small dirt path leading up the hill.
Scenic Views in Maui
Make sure you budget adequate time to do the entire hike to the top, otherwise there’s no point. It goes through the forest and has no views until the end. We met people coming back down who were complaining that the hike was not worth it. They clearly didn’t make it all the way.
We met a handful of hikers on the trail, but overall this is a pretty unknown and special hike. Make sure you respect the land and stay on the trail, pack water and don’t be an idiot. It hadn’t rained for a couple of days before we went and it was still extremely slick and muddy, so I would avoid it if there is bad weather.
In case you’re wondering, yes I packed a skirt in my backpack for photos. I was worried I’d be muddy and quite possibly look like I pooped my pants. My fears definitely came true. If you’re hoping for a great Instagram shot, it’s worth being a little extra and packing a change of clothes.
Iao State Park has a parking fee of $5.00. Well worth it to support the upkeep of this amazing Maui treasure.
More information on AllTrails (my favorite site for hikes!):
Bamboo Forest & Waterfalls Hike Maui
The Bamboo Forest & Waterfalls hike is popular without being crowded. You’ll know you arrive when you see a line of rental cars parked on the Road to Hana. Make sure you don’t leave anything valuable in your car as apparently break-ins are common.
The hike is short (about 1 mile) and relatively easy, although a bit muddy (like many Maui hikes). The hardest part is scaling a sheer wall by hanging on to a rope hung for that purpose. You are rewarded for your efforts with a beautiful waterfall with a swimming hole that is chilly but refreshing on a hot day.
As you might guess from the name, most of the hike winds through a bamboo forest.
The first two waterfalls (out of four total) are pretty underwhelming. The third and fourth waterfalls are why people do the hike.
Secret Waterfalls in Maui
We only made it to the third waterfall. The fourth is only accessible by climbing up a ladder perched on the side of the cliff. It felt a little too sketchy. Talking to people returning from the fourth waterfall it is impressive, but not as good as the third one. You also have to swim about 200 meters. Not ideal when carrying thousands of dollars in camera equipment.
As you can see in the photo above, there’s a rope swing off to the left. I was way too chicken to try it, but it seemed reasonably safe. You have to use a bamboo stick to hook the rope.
The mosquitos were pretty bad on this hike, but be nice to nature and skip mosquito spray if you plan to swim.
More information and where to find the trailhead on AllTrails (my favorite site for hikes!):
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