Explore Maui's Iao Valley

If you are staying at one of our beautiful West Maui condos or vacation homes, you've probably noticed that the sunny warmth of the beaches also makes the surrounding climate dry. One of the interesting things about Maui is that it has different kinds of weather systems throughout the diverse landscape of the island. The West Maui Mountains may be dry in the southwestern areas, but they are lush and green in the northeastern areas.

Iao Valley is a little green jewel of a destination that you should certainly visit if you haven't seen it yet, especially if you enjoy sightseeing. The towering valley walls boast little shimmering waterfalls when there's enough rain up on its peaks, and the water collects into a substantial river that flows through the valley. The geological formations here are breathtaking, and the mists that swirl and gather at the mountain's higher reaches lend a soothing elegance to an already breathtaking scenery.

The crowning glory of the valley is Iao Needle, a spike of rock that stands alone at a dizzying 2,250 feet from the valley floor. This cultural treasure was once a natural altar to the gods among the ancient Hawaiian people, and when you see it, you won't be surprised as to why. In 1790, this very valley was the site where Maui's army was defeated by King Kamehameha, the first king to unite the islands under one rule. Now it is one of Maui's state parks.

Conveniently, Iao Valley is only about twenty minutes from Kahului Airport. The trip will be around 45 minutes if you are coming from one of our Kaanapali condo rentals, but that's much easier than the all-day trip that would be necessary in order to explore the jungles of Hana, which lies to the east of Haleakala. While Hana is a fantastic choice for those who want an immersive sightseeing trip through Maui jungles, Iao is much more ideal if you are traveling with young children, or if you yourself prefer something more brief and close to the comforts and conveniences provided by areas that are not remote.

There are a few other things you should know about this spot. There are numerous grills and benches, making it ideal for a barbecue picnic. Mosquitoes do occur here, so you should bring your bug spray. While there are numerous little paved paths that you can walk on, there are more advanced trails also, and you should bring good hiking shoes if you intend to tackle them. There are restrooms, but no water fountains, so bring your drinks with you. Lastly, don't forget your camera, smart phone, or whatever you are using these days to take pictures with, because you'll probably want to take dozens of them.

You can find Iao Valley State Park by taking Highway 32 (Ka'ahumanu Road) West out of Wailuku. Highway 32 becomes Highway 320, which leads directly to the park, at the end of the road. We hope you enjoy your excursion! Mahalo!