Historic and state park, located at the deep gorge of the Iao river, home to
iconic Iao rock needle, high mountain, standing wall cliffs covered with lush
note 1: The mountain above is the rainiest place in Maui, do expect to have
rain showers during your visit. Usually there is less chance of rain at the
morning hours so try to visit here early as you can.
note 2: Parking fee: $5.00/car.
note 3: If you are planning to hike the un-official trail bring walking shoes,
this trail is muddy and flipflops are not recommended.
thoughts: I must admit the visit here was less rewarding than expected. Nice
place to see the steep mountain cliff covered with jungle vegetation. Very
short official trails (there is a “hidden” trail that is officially closed to
the public, see below). Unlike many others I do not see this as a must visit
location. Good place to visit if you want to have an 1 hr visit and you are
As you are
approaching Iao state park there is a Kepaniwai Park on your left. Not a lot
more than picnic area, not sure it’s worth the stop.
park is at the foothill of the Kahalawai mountain, an old extinct volcano that
over the last million years eroded by water to create a deep river valley
surrounded by steep mountain cliffs. The 1200-foot-tall Iao Needle is the
remaining of a mountain ridge stand-alone from the main mountain body.
State Monument also has historical importance as the site of the battle of
Kepaniwai where Hawaiian Kamehameha army defeated the Maui army in 1790 and as
of result unified Hawaiian kingdom was created.
the parking lot there is a short 0.6-mile paved pedestrian path leading to a Iao
Needle viewpoint and the surrounding mountain ridges. After crossing the the bridge,
you can take the rainforest walk near the river below or explore the small
park trails are very short. Not a whole lot to do for most hiker visitors after
you’ve seen the main point of interest.
said, this park does not offer a lot of things to do except the short-paved
trail to the viewpoint and trail near the river below.
is an un-authorize “secret” trail that leads to an open viewpoint at the ridge
above the park. Although this is clearly marked as closed area, many visitors
are hiking this trail …. I must discourage you from attempting this hike.
2.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail with 800f of elevation, plan for
at list two-hour round-trip hike. The trail is probably not maintained by the
park and can be very muddy in some sections (this is the rainiest place in
Maui), other than that most of the trail except the last climb is in a good
trail starts right at the left side of the viewpoint at the end of the stairs,
jump over the guard rail and follow the clear trail.
It is somewhat
challenging trail steeply climbs the narrow ridge finding it way in the dense
jungle vegetation. From the trail viewpoints along your hike you will enjoy the
landscape of the valley below and surrounding mountains above.
end, the trail becomes steeper and muddier where you need to scramble your way
up. We finished our hike before this point and did not reach the end of the
into consideration that in many days, especially in the afternoon, you can have
low clouds and fog covering completely the landscape view, not to mention the
rain they bring with them.
admit that hiking section of this trail was the most fun part of our visit at
Iao park so without the hike this is just a short 30 min visit to the Iao