Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Trekking Through Maui

When I visit any of the Hawaiian islands, I rarely spend much time on palm-fringed beaches. Instead, I either lace up my hiking boots and hit the trails or I escape to any of dozens of parks and gardens. These are some of my favorite walks and hikes on Maui.  Because I gravitate to accommodations that have an aura of low-key authenticity, one of my fave accommodations is the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. It's right on the beach, and has some authentic cultural performances as well.


Most people who visit the volcano, Haleakala, do so either by gazing out of their car windows, or from a bicycle seat as they cruise at high speed downhill from the summit. Instead, I tackle some of the many trails that crisscross this landscape with lava cones, lush fern life and ash-laden surfaces. The Sliding Sands Trail, aptly named, given its surface coated with ash and cinder, seems to head into the clouds as you have misty views of the gaping crater. On the Kaloa Point Trail, you'll have staggering views of the Maui coastline.


Once you've reached the crater floor, you're confronted with a barren-scape as you cross rough lava fields. But even here there are portions dappled with shrubs, and wildflower- and fern-spotted meadows. Other botanical species include native Hawaiian blueberries and the red-flowering ohia trees. Not far from the Holua cabins is a long, dark lava tube that you can crawl through – definitely not for the extremely claustrophobic -- but worth checking out.


If I didn't sign up for a trek with Hike Maui, I might very well have ended up with the masses that crowd the ever popular Seven Sacred Pools. Instead, my group hiked in the early morning through a dark bamboo forest to some desolate pools. On the way, we found mango trees, guava orchards, petite waterfalls and swimmable pools without meeting more than a handful of people. The trail was plenty slippery but worth it for the many snacking opportunities: Our guide had us sample tropical almonds, pineapple guava, thimble berries, nectar from yellow ginger and mountain apples. After just two miles, Waimoku Falls cascades more than 400 feet and the tropical amphitheater makes for a perfect secluded picnic where the only sound is the pounding waters.

24 comments:

Jane Boursaw said...

You do get around, Jeanine! My parents spent some time in Hawaii and told stories about visiting Haleakala. Maybe I'll get there one day.

Kris @ Attainable Sustainable said...

It's been years, but my husband and I hiked through the bamboo forest beyond the Sacred Pools. Just stunning! Did you spot any silver sword atop Haleakala?

NoPotCooking said...

Oh this sounds wonderful. We did not get to Maui when we were in Hawaii and I hope to go back and visit Maui and at least one other island.

JTravel said...

Hi Jane, Thanks for your comment. I've been to Haleakala twice and always wish I had more time to explore.

JTravel said...

Hi Kris, I'm so glad you got to experience these bamboo forests. And, yes, I did spot some silver sword when I was in Haleakala National Park.

JTravel said...

Hi NoPotCooking, Yes, pairing Maui with another island would be fab. If you haven't visited Lanai, I would definitely consider it for the wonderful off road options and hikes, of course.

The Writer's [Inner] Journey said...

I have been to Maui two times but have still so much to see there. It feels very pristine and kind of, in a way, otherworldly, between the rain forests and lava flows and even the rich blue of the water. Sigh.

Vera Marie Badertscher said...

Wow! A hiking trail with built in snacks!! Lovely word pictures of Maui.

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

Love the rain forest areas best, myself. What I would NOT give to be in Hawaii right now. *sigh*

JTravel said...

Hi The Writer's [Inner] Journey, yes, in so many ways the Hawaiian islands do feel otherwordly, especially the volcanic landscapes on Maui and the Big Island.

JTravel said...

Hi Vera Marie, I'm a big snacker so I loved having this opportunity to experience the landscape by nibbling the edible plants.

JTravel said...

Hi Roxanne, With all the icy weather we've been having on the East Coast, I'd also love to be transported to Hawaii right now.

sarah henry said...

Malta, Maui, NYC...are you ever at home? I'm with you on preferring to get to know a place on foot.

JTravel said...

Hi sarah, I know it seems like I'm never home but not true at all. And, yes, exploring on foot is THE way to learn about a land and its people.

Rezervesana said...

Great little post. It must be amazing down there.

JTravel said...

Hi Rezervesana, Thanks for your comment. Glad you enjoyed my post on Hawaii.

Bluegreen Kirk said...

When one thinks of Hawaii its usually of the water and the beaches and foods. I never imagine Hawaii had such wonderful hiking trails. Something new to add to my plans for hawaii.

JTravel said...

Hi Kirk, Yes, it's amazing that Hawaii is synonymous with beach and water-based activities. And yet there are so many wonderful valley and mountain hikes.

ferienhaus spanien said...

I love this post.........
I have planed my next travel trip to Maui.While review the post i gathered good information about The Maui, which will help me during my travel time to Hawaii.

Alexandra said...

This would be a dream vacation for me. My daughter went to Hawaii on her honeymoon last year and visited some of the places you mention. They loved the hiking and the volcanos.

JTravel said...

Hi ferienhaus, I'm so glad that my tips can provide some valuable insights for your Maui trip. Happy I can help.

JTravel said...

Hi Alexandra, That's so cool that your daughter did some hiking on Maui. So many people on their honeymoon never leave the beach.

Chisikoff said...

This is soo cool !! I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks so much for your photos! Good Design !

canvas print said...

Wow sounds like you had a brilliant trip, glad you had a great time.