So, this trip wasn’t solo. Two of my best girlfriends helped me celebrate my 50th birthday—and it was fabulous. Seven days and we packed it full of dining, shopping and beachcombing, and—perhaps to their surprise—hiking!
My husband and I had a ’50 favorite hikes’ book from our very first, pre-wedding bells Maui trip. It’s worth noting that decade-old hiking books are not all that helpful and should probably be left behind!
With outdated info, we did a fair amount of scrambling and making-it-up-as-we-went. Some highlights:
Lahaina Pali Trail
This is a rigorous hike on an open ridge. We did it early in the morning to avoid the sun being too hot. Don’t plan on doing this in flip flops – you’ll want your boots. And bring plenty of water – there is no shade along the way, so water is your only friend for cooling off. The payoff of the wind turbines is awesome! We did it as an out and back but if you’re with others and have a 2nd car, you can do it from end-to-end.
Biggest tip? The trailhead is on Hwy 30, just .1 mile south of Kuihelani Highway. You’ll open a gate (and close it behind you) to a pretty gnarly unpaved road. Our little rental car did okay, but depending on what sort of clearance you have, you may want to park right after/before the gate and walk in.
Kapilau Ridge Trail to Wailuku Cross
This one is not easy to find – and not an official trail, so there’s nothing to link to – but it’s awesome and feels like a well-kept secret. It’s about a 1,000 elevation gain in what feels like straight up, but it’s all treed, so it makes for a nice shaded, dry hike. The payoff after a great workout is panoramic views from Paia to Kihei. It really is lovely.
From High Street in downtown Wailuku, you want to head toward the mountains on Hwy 32. In about a half mile, the road splits and you’ll stay left. You’re looking for telephone pole #5 on the right side of the road (I can’t make this up). Parking is along the side of the road.
I’m not saying the ‘Road to Hana’ is overrated (actually, maybe I am), but Nakalele Blowhole is an awesome experience—is a much safer, shorter drive—and has an amazing payoff. It’s not a long walk, so you’ll need to round it out with other walking if exercise is your main goal. But in terms of beauty and awe, it has you covered. Drive about 16 miles north of Lahaina on Highway 30—trailhead is between milepost 37 and 38. Do heed the handpainted signs – it’s not a water park! People have died getting to close to the blowhole. Bring your camera and your common sense.