Maui’s State Parks
From mauka to makai (mountains to sea), Maui’s state parks are a true showcase of the diversity of this island. Whether you’re in the mood for beaches, forests, waterfalls, or historic sites, your options are as varied as you choose to make them.
Towards the middle of the island you’ll find two Maui state parks. Halekiʻi-Pihana State Monument is the remains of two heiau (ancient temples) that were rededicated as war temples under Kahekili, Maui’s last ruling chief. While visitors are welcome at heiau, please remember that these sites are still considered sacred by most of Hawaiʻi’s residents today. Please respect our culture and traditions by not climbing on the structures, moving rocks, or leaving non-biodegradable offerings.
Also centrally located is the perennially popular ʻIao Valley State Monument. On a short (0.6-mile) paved loop trail hike, you can view the unique erosional formation, Kukaʻemoku (ʻIao Needle) as well as visit a botanical garden filled with Polynesian canoe plants (the plants brought on canoes by Hawaiʻi’s first settlers). Please note that ʻIao Valley State Monument has been closed for repairs in the wake of major flooding, and is expected to re-open by mid-July. Please check the state DLNR website to make sure it is open when planning your trip.
On the slopes of Haleakalā, you’ll find Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area. This state park in Maui sits at 6,200 feet, and is the perfect cool foggy escape for when you just can’t stand any more hot days on the beach! The Kula Forest Reserve allows camping and has one cabin for rent. Hikers are advised to wear bright colors, as pig and seasonal bird hunting occur in the forest reserve.
Along the Hana Highway, you’ll find several state parks in Maui and wayside areas to stop at during your drive. Waiʻānapanapa State Park is great for hardy families who enjoy fishing, tidepooling, and seabird viewing. There are 12 cabins available for overnight lodging. Scenic views are available from Wailua Valley State Wayside, Puaʻa Kaʻa State Wayside, and Kaumahina State Wayside. Please bear in mind that state wayside areas are usually a rest stop for picnicking, and may not have much in the way of facilities.
Finally, for those who love the beach, no trip to Maui is complete without a visit to Mākena State Park, a rugged wildland beach topped with a cinder cone volcano formation. This is a popular spot for surfing, shore fishing, and swimming (during calm seas). No drinking water available, so be sure to come prepared.
From the mountains to the ocean, Maui’s state parks have all the adventure you’re looking for!