Maui offers more than just sandy beaches and luxurious resorts. West Maui is separated from the rest of the island by steep cliffs and has plenty of natural wonders to see and places to hike, as well as the shopping and beach experiences you’d expect.
Taking the Kahekili Highway or the 340 from Kapalua to Wailuku, is quite an adventure in itself. It’s one of the world’s most dangerous road, with a 20 mile stretch of one-way road of falling rocks, blind turns and sheer cliff drop-offs. The road borders the West Maui Natural Area Reserve and snakes along steep cliffs and comes to several narrow areas where only one car can pass through, where you might even find yourself reversing! The road was paved in 1990, so the conditions have since improved, however don’t attempt to drive this road at night. During the day the views are spectacular and there are several stops and vantage points to take advantage of. Overall, very scenic and worth doing for the thrill and views.
Nakalele Blow Hole
At Nakalele Point you’ll find a blowhole. To get down to the blowhole, you’ll need to hike about 0.5 miles down rocky, uneven, wet and fairly steep ground. The blowhole is a hole in the ground that jets out water shooting periodically into the air. This blowhole is large and some jets can approach 50+ feet and if you’re close enough you can feel the ground shake beneath you. Some people think it’s a good idea to get really close to the blowhole, but don’t underestimate its power, you can easily get hurt or worse.
The “Acid War Zone” is the name for an area between the light beacon and the Nakalele Blowhole. The barren landscape has dramatically eroded boulders from years of salt water spray.
This tiny isolated village is home to about only 100 people, small homes and a pretty church. It’s a pretty spot, especially from the lookout above the village where you’ll also find several fruit stands.
At the village you can spot the Kahakuloa Head – a huge 636 foot cliff jetting out of the water that is known for King Kahekili’s Leap. Legend says that King Kahelkili would climb the hill and jump into the ocean from the 200 foot height.
Located west of Wailuku, the Iao Valley State Park is a 10 mile long park that is that is home to one of Maui’s most recognizable landmarks, the 1,200 foot Iao Needle that rises out of the jungle. The rock is covered in lush green vegetation and with it’s surroundings resembles something out of a scene of “Jurrasic Park”. In other words, it’s break-taking and surreal. This park is quite easy to hike, with concrete pedestrian paths and steps leading to lookouts as well as restrooms and parking. It’s a great option for families.
For more Maui sites, visit http://www.prideofmaui.com/blog/activities/top-10-maui-attractions.html