Walkers and Hikers: Come See Maalaea!

Looking for a relaxing stroll, or a serious hike? The small, scenic harbor town of Maalaea (located on the southwest side of Maui) has both!

Haycraft Park

For those who enjoy long, picturesque walks on the beach, Haycraft Park might just offer Maui’s best option. Connecting Maalaea Beach with Sugar Beach, it creates the island’s longest uninterrupted stretch of sand, complete with views of Kaho`olawe and the Molokini crater. Its amenities include parking, picnic tables, barbecue grills, a shower, and portable toilets, as well as walkable access to drinks, snacks, and other necessities at Maalaea General Store.

Also known as a favorite location for honu (Hawaiian sea turtles), Haycraft Park provides the perfect spot for whale-watching every November through April, as Maalaea Bay has been designated part of the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Year-round, beachgoers can spend a quiet day watching the boats come and go in the harbor and then stay to appreciate one of Maui’s spectacular sunsets. And in a section to the east of the park, protected from waves and boat wakes, small children can enjoy a safe swimming option.

Pali Trail

For an active, rugged hiking experience – with some history sprinkled in – Maalaea also features the starting point for the Pali Trail. Stretching 5.5 miles (one way) from Maalaea Harbor to the beach at Ukumehame, this historic footpath ranges in elevation from 100 to 1,600 feet above sea level.

Running along the southern slopes of Mauna Kahalawai (known today as the West Maui Mountains), the trail boasts views of Maalaea Harbor and the Keālia fishponds, the Haleakalā volcano, the islands of Kaho`olawe and Lāna`i, and of course (during the winter months) whales. Hikers will also find themselves passing beneath the turbines of a wind farm and possibly spotting nēnē, the state bird of Hawai`i. Most of the route is exposed to the sun, so if you decide to explore it, wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water!

The Pali Trail was originally established in the early 1800s, to connect Wailuku/central Maui with the Lahaina area on the west side of the island. When construction of a dirt road took place closer to the coastline at the start of the next century, use of the older path fell off. The newer route, paved in 1951, became today’s Honoapiilani Highway – while the old Pali Trail was reclaimed for hiking purposes as part of the State of Hawai`i’s Nā Ala Hele program.

Most hikers opt for seeing part of the trail on an in-and-out round trip. Because of the parking lots at each end, though, hiking parties with two vehicles have the option of experiencing the whole route without committing to a strenuous 11 miles. Whatever path you take, if you’re curious about your surroundings, check out this informational trail guide created by the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Want to hear more about the Maalaea area and Maalaea real estate? Contact me today!
Leslie MacKenzie Smith, REALTOR(S), RS-42147

Read More About Maalaea, Maui:

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Maalaea

Maalaea: Maui’s Hidden Treasure

One Small Town, Three of Maui’s Best Attractions

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