Mahana Ridge Trail
Looking for a scenic yet challenging walk in the rugged mountains of Maui? Look no further than the Mahana Ridge Trail Hike. This not only is a challenge hike boasting a rather long 17 plus miles from start to return, but the elevation change as well of around 1500 feet. For the avid hikers, this hike will challenge you, and for the weekly walkers the sights themselves will encourage you to think you are not fully on an endurance hike.
Parking and Advice
When parking in Kapalua near the Bay Course Clubhouse, and exiting your car, take a deep breath in and look to the Mountain as that will be where you are going; up up and even more up. The hike itself for the first mile or so is on a paved road, some of what used to be the old Village Golf Course at Kapalua, as you wind your way up the hill, you will see the famous 6th tee box and 5th holes of the Plantation course to your immediate left. Here is where you enter into the “unpaved hike”; meandering through a dirt trail next to the yucca trees, and high grasses he hike develops into the old pineapple fields and then transitions to many areas of guava, lillikoi, and a few mango trees. About 4 miles in you will come to a banyan tree which has claimed an old tractor and is a sight to see; for the novice hiker I recommend taking the pine loop portion of the hike as you stroll through the Cook Pines and see some amazing root structures. Here is where you will have the option to keep going or turn around. Turning around is a great option for those that are not ready to make the massive hike into the arboretum, and you can meander back down the same path getting to hit the 83 stairs in the opposite direction.
Snacks and Prep
If you choose to continue as with any hike make sure you have a hiking partner that will be there with you for every step as with all hiking you always want to have someone available to help in the case of need. The hike itself now starts to rear its teeth as you walk through a gate to keep out the wild boars, and into the arboretum. Many of the plants are listed by name here and you can really see how things grow out here in West Maui.
Bring a Phone
The most important information that I can give you about this hike is the need to start early, as it will take much time to get through the entire hike, even the shorter 6-8 mile version takes some time. Prepare a backpack of a few snacks and bring plenty of water and a sports drink or two to keep you hydrated and energized. The hike, although challenging, is worth it for the beauty. It is my favorite on the island.