Hit the Trails and Experience the Natural Treasure of Maui's Iao Valley
Be one with nature at Iao Valley, located in West Maui approximately 3 miles west of Waikuku. Immerse yourself in 4,000 acres of pristine island landscapes while following the state park's two paved hiking trails. Take the Iao Needle Lookout Trail to the observation desk, which will reward you with stunning views of the famous Kuka'emoku, or "Iao Needle", an erosional landmark that juts out 1,200 feet from the valley. Brush up on your Hawaiian floriculture while touring the lush botanical gardens found within the Ethnobotanical Loop. Steeped in historical significance, the Iao Valley is also the site of the 1790 Battle of Kepaniwai between Hawaii Island and Maui.
Yes, you can swim in the Waikuku River, formerly known as Iao Stream, within the Iao Valley. You'll be surrounded by breathtaking scenery while taking a refreshing dip in the clear, fresh mountain water. The river is particularly popular from late spring to early fall. Just be aware that this area is the wettest spot in Hawaii and prone to flash floods. Weather can change quickly so be sure to pay attention to local weather reports before venturing out.
How long is the Īao Valley hike?
The Iao Valley offers two paved hiking trails that are ideal for people of all fitness levels. The trails are only a 0.6-mile long with a slight elevation of 200 feet. Enjoy a tranquil walk through lush scenery and view the famous Iao Needle before taking the ethnobotanical loop along gardens and lao stream. It's the perfect locale for a picnic, photo op or even to take a refreshing dip in the park's streams and ponds.