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“How Beautiful!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Iao Valley State Monument

Iao Valley State Monument
End of Iao Valley Road, Highway 32, Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793
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Haleakala, Iao Valley and Central Maui Day Tour
Ranked #4 of 17 Attractions in Wailuku
Type: Monuments/ Statues, State Parks, Outdoors
Activities: Picnicking
Attraction details
Los Angeles, California
19 reviews 19 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“How Beautiful!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

If you just stay on a beach, you never see real Hawaii. This setting is gorgeous. The walk is a little strenuous, but I'm an old lady with a bad knee and a bad back, andI did it. The children went swimming in the waterfall...bring a towel.

Visited June 2013
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729 reviews from our community

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Singapore, Singapore
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
450 helpful votes 450 helpful votes
“Not just another garden.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

The Lao Valley is an attraction in Maui that can best be appreciated when you know a little of the historical background. Otherwise this appears to be just like another park. Fortunately, there are information boards that give you a summary of the Valley’s history and the 1,200-foot rock pinnacle, which is 2200 feet above sea level, called the “Lao needle”, also known as the phallic stone of the god of the ocean (Kanaloa.)

In 1790 at the Battle of Kepaniwai, King Kamehameha I clashed with Maui's army in his quest to unite the islands. Even with Lao needle serving as a lookout point, Kamehameha defeated Maui's forces in a ferocious battle that ultimately resulted in the unification of the Hawaiian islands and the formation the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810. The bones of hundreds of warriors are scattered here including those of Hawaiian chefs buried along the walls of the valley.
Claimed as the second wettest place in Hawaii (the wettest, on Kauai, is also claimed, unofficially, the wettest place on earth), the summit of the valley receives an average of over an inch of rain per day. Much of this water flows into the Lao stream.
When you first enter the park, a paved 0.6 mile walk provides access to a footbridge. You could also descend to an exhibition area where the park has modeled what the greater valley (just outside of Lao) once was. They have constructed a hale with thatched roof common for the time, and have many examples of plants that were cultivated there then. Being in a historical area, I was expecting to see indigenous Hawaiian plants, but the plants I saw were mostly introduced into Hawaii by western explorers in 1700s displacing many of the native Polynesian plants.
To reach the Valley take Highway 32 ( Ka’ahumanu Road) four miles west of Wailuku to the end of the Lao Valley Road. On the road through Lao Valley, and before the State Park there is also the Kepaniwai Park Heritage Gardens, commemorating the multicultural history of Maui, with buildings and gardens representing Hawaiian, American missionary, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Korean, and Filipino cultures. The gardens were restored in 1994, and are a nice place to stroll around, take photographs and have a picnic lunch.

The Lao valley is a nice place to have a leisurely walk and the ridge-top look out shelter which has 133 steps to get to, offers an amazing view of the valley and Kahului harbor, if you’re fortunate to have a clear day! The whole attraction can be 'covered' in 10 minutes or even longer, depending on what you wish to do there. Great photographic opportunities, interesting historical background and one of the tourist destinations in Maui.

There are restrooms, clear signage, bins for trash cans, but no drinking water. Not wheel chair friendly.
Opened Daily 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 pm.
Entrance Fee: Parking fee $5.00 per car. Hawaii residents need not pay a fee.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Cruz, California
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
27 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Must see”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

This is a short trip to a beautiful spot with rich history. Nice little paved path to some great lookouts. It is close to town and you can see everything in an hour. $5 parking fee. The group we took thought it was well worth the time. There are a lot of stairs so that might be a problem for some people.

Visited June 2013
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Livermore, Colorado
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2013

This is a must do on Maui. And, it's a State park so all you pay is $5.00 for parking. It is so beautiful and there are great paved walk ways and stairs so it's very easy to enjoy the whole park. It isn't very large but there are a lot of different areas to explore and get away from the main crowd. There's a beautiful stream that runs through and has such a calming effect. A lot of people have late flights out of Maui and this is a great thing to do on that last day when you can't go to the beach because you've already checked out of your lodgings. It's only one town away from the airport and an easy drive over to Kahulua. We spent a few hours there before going to dinner and then to the airport.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Louis, MO
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
“Great stop for families. Close to the airport.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2013

We had a few hours before we needed to be at the airport and decided to see the Iao Needle. We visited late in the afternoon on a Monday.

The parking attendant was very helpful as we paid the $5 per car fee. The parking lot was mostly full and a tour bus had just unloaded. The paved paths were wide enough to accommodate all the people comfortably. The views were spectacular. Definitely also complete the extra loop below to the stream. Very serene.

Our family, which includes a 4 and 5 year-old, loved this brief, easy to get to, easy to walk, breathtaking stop.

Visited June 2013
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