When you think of Hawaii, do you think of luxury resorts, beautiful beaches, and pineapple cocktails? Though Hawaii is known for these things, it is also one of the best places to go on an outdoor adventure, like a hike — and Maui is certainly not lacking in hiking trails! 

There are several fabulous hiking trails in Maui for all skill levels. Some Maui hikes lead to waterfalls, others to spectacular ocean views, and some offer a challenging trek through a rainforest or bamboo forest. But regardless of the scenery, one thing is for certain — embarking on one of the best hikes in Maui is a must for any Hawaiian vacation! 

Before planning a trip to Maui, read through this list of the best hikes in Maui to determine which one (or ones!) you’ll check out during your island vacation. 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links, meaning that I earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. This helps me keep the content on my website free for you to enjoy!

Maui Hiking Trails Map 

Before we dive into an overview of all the best hikes in Maui, here is a map to help you find the location of all the hiking trails on this list:

Top Hiking Trails in Maui (Easy, Moderate & Challenging) 

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

  • Length: 11 miles 
  • Trail Type: Out and back 
  • Difficulty: Hard 
  • Location: Haleakalā National Park (Summit District) 
  • Cost: $30 per private vehicle 

Recommended by Jess of Uprooted Traveler 

For one of the most otherworldly hikes to add to your Maui itinerary, head to the Sliding Sands Trail, located at the summit of Haleakala in its eponymous national park.  

The trail, also called the Keonehe’ehe’e Trail, is challenging, at 11 miles in length and with 2,795 feet in elevation gain. There are a couple of other factors that make this hike difficult — you’ll be hiking at high elevation (close to 10,000 feet over sea level!), which makes the air feel thinner, the dark terrain seems to just soak up the heat of the Hawaiian sun, and you’re climbing up crumbly volcanic sand.  

Perhaps, most challenging of all, you’ll hike downhill first and spend the latter half climbing back up. This unfortunately lulls a lot of hikers into a false perception that the trail is easier than it is—before they must make the tough hike back up the volcano. So, make sure to give yourself plenty of time and pack plenty of water, especially for the climb up! 

All that being said, the hard work will absolutely be worth it. Along the trail, you’ll be treated to views of colorful cinder cones and volcanic sand dunes. There’s even a wilderness cabin at the bottom of Haleakala’s crater that you can spend the night at if you’re lucky enough to snag a permit. Keep your eyes peeled here for nēnē, the endangered Hawaiian goose that’s the official state bird.  

Try to time your hike either by catching sunrise before you hit the trail or sunset after you finish your hike — watching the sun cast beautiful colors over the blanket of clouds is worth putting on your Maui bucket list! 

The volcanic terrain and brown and red sand in Haleakalā National Park , with clouds covering the terrain.
Photo Courtesy of Jess of Uprooted Traveler 

2. Pipiwai Trail 

  • Length: 4 miles 
  • Trail Type: Out and back 
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Location: Haleakalā National Park (Kipahula District) 
  • Cost: $30 per private vehicle 

Pipiwai Trail is undoubtedly one of the best hikes in Maui and one of the must-visit attractions on a one-day trip on the Road to Hana. This four-mile out-and-back trail offers stunning views of cascading waterfalls, bamboo forests, banyan trees, and gorgeous rainforest views. 

Pipiwai Trail is a moderate hike, but it offers plenty of delightful viewpoints along the way that will make every twist and turn worthwhile. You’ll see several waterfalls on the trail, including Makahiku Falls a quarter into the hike and the towering Waimoku Falls at the end. This is the second-tallest waterfall in Maui, and the only one that can be seen by foot. The tallest waterfall (Honokohau Falls) can only be spotted on a helicopter ride! 

One of the most unique parts of Pipiwai Trail is the bamboo forest you’ll pass through to reach the stunning waterfall. At several points, there are raised platforms through the bamboo forests, which make for a cool spot to snap a photo. 

Since the Road to Hana is often rainy, it’s good to prepare for rain (or at least muddy hiking conditions) on Pipiwai Trail. If possible, wear hiking boots (or at least closed-toed shoes) and a waterproof jacket. If the rain catches you unprepared, like it did for me, you can always purchase a poncho in the visitor’s center before hitting the trail. This trail is well shaded, so you won’t have to worry about the sun beating down on you. 

Tip: If you’re planning to also hike another trail in Haleakalā National Park, like the Sliding Sands Trail, you’ll only need to pay the $30 entrance fee once. The fee is good for three days, so if you complete both trails within that time frame, you can save some money! 

A woman in a straw hat looking at Waimoku Falls on the Pipiwai Trail, one of the best hiking trails in Maui.
A woman in a black tank top, shorts, and a straw hat standing in a bamboo forest on the Pipiwai Trail, one of the best hikes in Maui.

3. Twin Falls Trail 

  • Length: 1.8 miles 
  • Trail Type: Out and back 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Location: Haiku (Road to Hana)
  • Cost: $10 per vehicle 

Twin Falls Trail is one of the best hikes in Maui and one of the most popular stops on the Road to Hana. It’s also one of the easiest hikes in Maui, making it a great option for families or inexperienced hikers who still want to admire gorgeous landscapes in Maui! 

Located at Mile Marker 2 on the Road to Hana, this 1.8-mile out-and-back trail is one of the best hikes in Maui and leads to two beautiful waterfalls and generally takes an hour to complete, though most hikers spend longer here, either admiring the falls or swimming in the pools below. 

The trailhead at Twin Falls only has 55 paid parking spaces, which may sound like a lot, but they fill up quickly. Most tourists start the Road to Hana early (around 8 AM), and since this is the first stop, it gets a lot of traffic early. An alternative (and one of the best Road to Hana tips!) is to stop at Twin Falls as the last stop on the Road to Hana to avoid the crowds. The falls are open from 8 AM to 5 PM, so arriving at 3:30 will allow you plenty of time to hike before the attraction closes. 

One of the highlights of Twin Falls Trail is that there are lots of swimming holes and cliff jumping opportunities at the base of the falls. While wearing shoes with good traction is advisable on the trail since it can get muddy, be sure to bring sandals and a swimsuit for the swimming holes! 

A waterfall cascades into a light blue pool with rocks in the pool and greenery surrounding the waterfall.

4. Waihe’e Ridge Trail 

  • Length: 4 miles 
  • Trail Type: Out and back 
  • Difficulty: Hard 
  • Location: Wailuku
  • Cost: Free 

Waihe’e Ridge Trail is one of the most stunning hikes in Maui for panoramic views of the lush greenery and turquoise ocean in Maui. Though this hike is challenging and includes an elevation gain of nearly 1,500 feet, it is worth every mile — the views at the top are gorgeous! 

Waihe’e Ridge Trail is in West Maui Forest Reserve, not far from Iao Valley State Park, and has a free parking lot at the trailhead. However, there are limited parking spaces, so it’s best to arrive as early as possible to snag one. Since Waihe’e Ridge Trail is one of the most popular and best hikes in Maui, the parking lot fills up fast. Getting an early start is also a great way to beat the heat, as much of the trail is unshaded and can get warm in the afternoon. 

The most challenging part of Waihe’e Ridge Trail is the beginning, when you’ll need to trek up a steep incline that is partially paved and rocky. After this point, the incline is more gradual. There are several scenic viewpoints along the way that make for gorgeous pictures. You can also sometimes see the Makamakaole Waterfall from the Waihe’e Ridge Trail. 

Unlike most hikes, the views about halfway to the top are the best. As you get closer to the end of the hike, it often becomes foggy, making it harder to see the breathtaking scenery. 

Waihe’e Ridge Trail generally takes about three hours to complete, so fuel up beforehand with a big breakfast or lunch and bring plenty of water. You won’t be disappointed with spending a morning on Waihe’e Ridge Trail — it’s easy to see why this trail is one of the best hikes in Maui! 

A panoramic view of mountains carpeted in greenery, the blue sky, and the ocean in the distance.

5. Waikamoi Ridge Trail 

  • Length: 0.9 miles 
  • Trail Type: Out and back 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Location: Haiku (Road to Hana)
  • Cost: Free 

Another trail on the Road to Hana, Waikamoi Ridge Trail is an often-overlooked attraction at Mile Marker 9 between Twin Falls and the Garden of Eden Arboretum. 

Located in Kamehameha Park, this trail will take you through the rainforest and a small bamboo forest and is a great (easy!) alternative for families who might not be ready for more challenging hikes on the Road to Hana, like Pipiwai Trail, or those looking for a respite from the most crowded attractions, although experienced hikers might find this trail underwhelming. 

This trail is shaded but can be muddy in the rain, so bring shoes with good traction. Though there are no notable viewpoints on this trail, like ocean views or waterfalls, the tree canopy is unique and lovely to behold and makes Waikamoi Ridge Trail one of the best hikes in Maui. 

6. Nakalele Blowhole Trail 

  • Length: 1.2 miles 
  • Trail Type: Out and back 
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Location: Wailuku
  • Cost: Free 

Nakalele Blowhole Trail is a short, 1.2-mile out-and-back trail in Maui that leads to a picture-perfect blowhole. As the waves rush in and out of the lava shelf, the water pressure causes the waves to spurt up from the blowhole up to fifty feet in the air. It’s an amazing sight to see! 

Though the blowhole is the highlight of Nakalele Blowhole Trail (also known as Acid War Zone Trail), you’ll also be able to see other unique sights on the trail, like the “acid war zone,” an empty landscape with large boulders scattered throughout it, and a lighthouse that overlooks the peaceful waves in the Pacific Ocean. 

There is a free parking lot at the start of the trailhead, but it’s small and fills up quickly, so it’s best to come early. 

The reason this short hike with a small elevation gain (less than 300 feet) is considered moderately difficult is because the trail is highly technical, with lots of loose gravel and slippery mud. The part of the hike near the blowhole can be a bit of a scramble, so wearing shoes with good traction is a must. 

Additionally, it’s important to stay far away from the blowhole. People have been injured or even killed by the powerful waves and force of the blowhole. However, if you proceed with caution, this is one of the best hikes in Maui for unique scenery and gorgeous views!

A blowhole erupting from the volcanic rocks in the ground bordering the ocean.

7. Hoapili Trail 

  • Length: 3.5 miles 
  • Trail Type: Out and back 
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Location: Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve 
  • Cost: Free 

Recommended by Elizabeth of Elizabeth Adventures 

The Hoapili Trail is one of the best hiking trails in Maui, filled with breathtaking ocean views, unique lava rock formations and tide pools to explore. 

This 3.5 mile out-and-back trail follows Maui’s rugged coastline, taking visitors over lava fields, past sandy beaches and through forested areas to start. The second half of this trail is fully exposed, walking on the lava rock. The trail ends at the Hanamanioa Point Lighthouse. Though it isn’t an actual lighthouse, it is a stunning viewpoint where you can look back at the coastline of Maui as well as Kaho’olawe Island. 

The Hoapili Trail is in south Maui, south of Wailea. The parking lot is located at the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Reserve at the end of Makena Road, which is a narrow one-way road surrounded by houses. Once you reach the parking lot, park wherever there is space and respect all local parking rules. It is a dirt parking lot, but any car can carefully reach it. There are no fees associated with parking here. 

This trail can be extremely hot. Be sure to go early in the day if you can, pack plenty of water and wear proper sun protection. It is best to wear closed-toe shoes with a sturdy sole due to the constant lava rock. Be on the lookout for wild goats roaming along the trail and give them plenty of space if you spot them. 

8. Iao Needle Lookout Trail 

  • Length: 0.6 miles
  • Trail Type: Out and back 
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location: Iao Valley State Park 
  • Cost: $10 per vehicle + $5 per person

Recommended by Daria from Explore Baja California

Located in the western part of Maui, near Wailuku, Iao Valley State Park is one of the most scenic places in Maui that offers several easy hikes. The valley is a popular tourist spot with dramatic landscapes and historical significance in Hawaiian culture. The most iconic feature of the park is the Iao Needle, a striking 1,200-foot (366-meter) tall peak that rises dramatically from the valley floor.

The park offers stunning views of the Iao Needle and the surrounding lush tropical landscape. Iao Needle Lookout Trail is a short paved trail that leads to a viewpoint overlooking the Iao Needle. Another popular hike is Iao Valley Loop Trail that combines the Iao Needle Lookout Trail with the Iao Stream Trail, offering a slightly longer hike that allows visitors to experience both the views from the overlook and the beauty of the streamside forest.

There are picnic tables available in the park where visitors can enjoy a meal surrounded by the beauty of the valley. The park has a small visitor center where you can learn more about the history and natural features of the area.

You can access Iao Valley by car via Highway 32 (also known as the Honoapiilani Highway), which connects Wailuku and Lahaina. 

A green landscape with rocky mountain formations jutting into the sky.

9. Waiʻānapanapa Coastal Trail 

  • Length: 2.7 miles 
  • Trail Type: Out and back 
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Location: Waiʻānapanapa State Park 
  • Cost: $10 per vehicle + $5 per person 

Although Waiʻānapanapa State Park on the Road to Hana is known for its gorgeous and unique black sand beach, this state park is also home to one of the best hikes in Maui — the Waiʻānapanapa Coastal Trail (also known as Kipapa O Kihapi’ilani Trail). 

Waiʻānapanapa Coastal Trail is a 2.7-mile out-and-back trail that follows a portion of the ancient Kings Highway, built in the 1500s by King Kahekili. You can start the trail from the far end of the black sand beach and will see a lava tube, several burial sites, and a few rocky coves along the way. The lush tropical greenery and turquoise blue ocean are especially striking against this trail’s black volcanic landscape. 

You’ll need to make reservations and pay an entrance fee of $10 per vehicle and $5 per person to enter Waiʻānapanapa State Park to access the Waiʻānapanapa Coastal Trail. We recommend making reservations one month in advance to ensure you can secure your desired date and time slot. You can make reservations on the Go Hawaii State Parks website

Blue waves washing onto a black sand beach in Waiʻānapanapa State Park, the starting point of one of the best hikes in Maui.

10. Kūloa Point Trail 

  • Length: 0.5 miles 
  • Trail Type: Loop 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Location: Haleakalā National Park (Kipahula District) 
  • Cost: $30 per private vehicle 

If you’re searching for an easy hike in Maui that is not short on gorgeous scenery, look no further than Kūloa Point Trail in Haleakalā National Park. 

Kūloa Point Trail is one of the two trails in the Kipahula District of Haleakalā National Park, and unfortunately, it often gets overlooked because of the longer (and more popular) Pipiwai Trail nearby. However, Kūloa Point Trail is not to be missed! 

On this spectacular Maui hike, you’ll be able to see several archeological sites that give insight into ancient Hawaiian culture, including thatched houses and ancient relics. You’ll be able to see gorgeous ocean views of the rural and rocky coastline on the Road to Hana. 

The main attraction on Kūloa Point Trail is the Oheo Gulch and Pools of Oheo — also known as the Seven Sacred Pools. These stunning pools are fed by sparkling waterfalls and flow into the ocean. Though they are beautiful to admire, swimming in the Pools of Oheo can be dangerous due to rockslides and undercurrents and is prohibited. 

Since Kūloa Point Trail is in Haleakalā National Park, it costs $30 per vehicle to enter. However, this admission is good for three days, so be sure to check out other trails in Haleakalā National Park, like Pipiwai Trail and the Sliding Sands Trail, to make the most of the admission fee! 

Several waterfalls cascade into pools (called the Seven Sacred Pools) on one of the best hikes in Maui, with lush greenery surrounding it.

11. Lahaina Pali Trail 

  • Length: 4.5 miles 
  • Trail Type: Out and back 
  • Difficulty: Hard 
  • Location: Lahaina 
  • Cost: Free 

Recommended by Ann of The Road Is Life 

The Lahaina Pali Trail is a scenic hike located on the western part of Maui. The trail follows an ancient footpath that was once used by Native Hawaiians as a trading route. The highlight of this hike is the panoramic ocean and island views that can be seen at any point along the trail. 

The hike is fairly steep and challenging. However, the scenery is absolutely stunning from start to finish, making your efforts worthwhile. The entire trail covers a length of 4.5 miles, starting and finishing in two different locations. Most hikers begin and end at the same location, stopping at the Kaheawa Wind Farm (around the halfway mark) and then returning to the starting point. 

You can choose to begin the hike at the eastern trailhead near Māʻalaea or the western trailhead about three miles west of Māʻalaea Harbor. Parking space is limited at the western trailhead, which makes the eastern starting point a more popular choice. To get there, follow a dirt road that leads off the Honoapiilani Highway to the parking lot. 

Due to the limited shade, it is essential to bring a hat, sunscreen and enough drinking water to last you 3-4 hours. It’s best to start early in the day to avoid hiking in the heat. The terrain is rough and uneven which means sturdy hiking boots are a must. At the time of writing there are no permits or entry fees required to access the Lahaina Pali Trail. 

Overall, hiking this Maui hiking trail is a fantastic way to connect with Maui’s history while admiring the island’s breathtaking scenery. If you have the time to spare, it makes an excellent addition to your Maui itinerary for those who are up for a fun challenge. 

12. Wailea Ocean Boardwalk Trail 

  • Length: 3.2 miles 
  • Trail Type: Out and back 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Location: Wailea 
  • Cost: Free 

Recommended by Sara of Travel A-Broads

The Wailea Oceanfront Boardwalk Trail is a lovely, coastal path that climbs to Wailea Point and is one of the best hikes in Maui near Wailea. The 3.2-mile out-and-back trail is an easy route, with an elevation gain of 120 feet, and takes about an hour and ten minutes to complete. 

Along the way, you will pass by five public beaches (Did you know that all the beaches on Maui are public?) — as well as some of the best hotels and resorts in Maui, restaurants and shops. There are also some trail-side cafes where you can stop for coffee, juice, breakfast and more. 

The Wailea Oceanfront Boardwalk Trail is open year-round and offers gorgeous ocean views no matter what time of day or time of year you are visiting. If you are here between November and May, you may even spot some whales! The trail is paved and is dog, wheelchair, kid and stroller friendly. It also has some restrooms and picnic areas throughout, making it a popular hike for families, tourists and locals alike. 

There are several options for getting to the trail. If you are staying in the Wailea Resort area, you can just walk towards the water, and you will end up on the path. If you prefer starting at either end of the trail, you can park at the parking lots at Polo Beach or Ulua Beach (one of the best snorkeling spots in Maui!), both of which offer free parking. You can also consider parking at the Shops at Wailea, which have historically offered free parking as well. 

A grassy area overlooking a beach in Maui, surrounded by palm trees.
Photo Courtesy of Sara of Travel A-Broads

13. Mahana Ridge Trail 

  • Length: 10.8 miles 
  • Trail Type: Out and back 
  • Difficulty: Hard 
  • Location: D.T. Fleming Beach Park 
  • Cost: Free 

If you’re looking for a challenging hike in West Maui, look no further than Mahana Ridge Trail, starting in D.T. Fleming Beach Park. This trail includes a 2,500-foot elevation gain and is a steep climb but offers beautiful rainforest terrain. 

Mahana Ridge Trail is shaded, but it does get muddy in the rain, so wear hiking shoes or closed-toed shoes with good traction. It does take 5–6 hours to complete this hike, so be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks. Mahana Ridge Trail is not as well-known as other trails on this list of the best hikes in Maui, so if you’re looking for a long, drawn-out, peaceful experience in nature — you’ll likely love the Mahana Ridge Trail. 

Mahana Ridge Trail ends at Maunalei Arboretum, where it connects to the Honolua Ridge Trailhead, if you’d like to keep going for gorgeous views of Honolua Bay. However, most hikers end up turning around and heading back to D.T. Fleming Park, where the hike starts and ends. 

Helpful Tips for Hiking in Maui 

Planning to enjoy some of these best hikes in Maui? Here are some general tips to follow for hiking in Maui — regardless of the trail you choose. 

  • Hike with a buddy — Some of the best hikes in Maui are in rural areas that don’t get a lot of foot traffic. Always hike with a buddy for safety reasons. 
  • Bring water and sunscreen — You will spend a lot of time in the sun on the best Maui hikes, so be sure to apply (and reapply!) sunscreen. Also, bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, and for longer hikes, bring snacks like trail mix and protein bars. I love my Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Bottle for long hikes.
  • Wear hiking boots — Most of the best hikes in Maui are muddy (and often slippery) because of the frequent rain the island receives. Wearing hiking boots is recommended, but at the least, wear closed-toed shoes with good traction. These Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Boots are my favorite. I wore them on the trails in Maui and thought they held up wonderfully!
  • Arrive early — Most of the best hiking trails in Maui have accompanying parking lots, but they often fill up quickly. Arrive early to snag a spot (and to beat the heat!). 
  • Check requirements — Some of the best hiking trails in Maui require parking fees and reservations, and others adhere to strict hours. Do your research before arriving, so you don’t spend hours in the car to be turned away by a full parking lot or reservation list. 
  • Enjoy the views — The best hikes in Maui are popular for a reason — the breathtaking views! Take your time, snap some photos, and enjoy the journey. 

FAQs – Best Hikes in Maui, Hawaii 

What is the most famous trail in Maui?

The most famous trails in Maui are the Waihee Ridge Trail, a stunning and challenging hike that provides panoramic rainforest and ocean views of Maui, and Pipiwai Trail, a moderate hike in Haleakalā National Park that includes memorable viewpoints along the way, including waterfalls, a bamboo forest, and a banyan tree.

What is the hardest hike in Maui?

Kaupo Trail (Kaupo Gap) is the most difficult hike in Maui. Located on the backside of Haleakalā National Park, this trail is roughly 14 miles long and includes an elevation gain of more than 6,000 feet, from sea level to summit. This strenuous hike should only be attempted by experienced hikers.

Are there waterfall hikes in Maui?

Yes! There are several waterfall hikes in Maui for varying skill levels. One of the most popular waterfall hikes in Maui, Pipiwai Trail, includes several waterfalls, including the second-largest waterfall in Maui, Waimoku Falls. Twin Falls Trail and Kūloa Point Trail are two shorter hikes in Maui that include waterfalls.

Marvel at the Spectacular Views on These Best Hikes in Maui, Hawaii 

Whether you want to journey through a magical bamboo forest, marvel at a cascading waterfall, take a dip in a refreshing pool, trek along a black sand beach, or enjoy stunning views of Haleakala Crater or the Pacific Ocean — you will find a trail on this list of the best hikes in Maui that will exceed your expectations. 

Make time in your Maui itinerary for one of these spectacular hiking trails in Maui. You certainly will not be disappointed!

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Brit! I'm a writer from Phoenix, AZ who loves coffee, golden retriever puppies, and obviously, travel! I help ordinary women (like me!) dream, plan, and do extraordinary travel experiences.