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Waihee Ridge Trail

361 Reviews

Waihee Ridge Trail

361 Reviews
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YvieLeavie wrote a review Oct 2020
4 contributions1 helpful vote
This is a trail full of surprises. No, it isn’t a trail for slippahs (flip flops), but plenty of shoe-averse residents do hike it barefoot. As with most steep hikes, be aware that coming down might be harder than going up, and that the red clay trail surface can get slippery. I’ve hiked it in river sandals but they need tread- bare feet are better than smooth-tread shoes for the descent. Unlike hikes in upcountry’s crisp pine- and lavender-scented air, the bottom half of the hike can smell like a compost heap on a hot day, due to rotting guava, and the clouds/rain can roll in quickly. Just be like the island and adapt if you need to- the first viewpoint is a fine place to turn around. The grove after the stairs is a nice goal, and going the last 20-30 minutes from there all the way to the top does afford a view of other directions but arguably none so beautiful as the view back over town. I think of the hike as three sections- the bottom to the viewing platform beneath the single tall pine, the platform to the flat trail through the grove after the second climb, and the top third. I’ve never been desperate enough to park in the bottom lot and hike up to the trailhead if the top lot is full. My personal strategy is to dress and hike light, because between the rain and sweat, it’s a soggy experience and being soggy while wearing a backpack is the worst. I trail run it, so a hiking pole is an inconvenience for me, but one (or two) could save a ligament if you are iffy about your knees, hips, or ankles. I’ve heard people say this seems a dangerous hike for kids, but honestly my kids (4-7) do fine- yes, there are sheer drop offs but there is so much foliage they aren’t tempted to go near the edges (definitely stay out of the foliage though.)
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Date of experience: October 2020
1 Helpful vote
Piero C wrote a review Sep 2020
Kekaha, Hawaii284 contributions45 helpful votes
The first time I came here, in August, the clouds rolled in and obscured the views by 11:00. This time I got an Uber to the trailhead and got started at 7:45, which, to be frank, was almost too late. You should make a point of getting here at seven, when the trail opens and it will still be a little cool when you start, particularly up the brutally steep concrete ramp that starts you off. From there, it’s two miles of steady uphill, with rewarding views beginning about a mile up. The pleasant shade ends there, and the last mile offers little shade in spite of all the waterlogged greenery surrounding you. This is a beautiful area, and a rare chance to see the interior of West Maui, but the view at the very top is not much different from the view 1.5 miles up, so don’t be afraid of missing out if you get hot or tired. Turn yourself around and head down: this is supposed to be fun.
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Date of experience: September 2020
1 Helpful vote
MauiWorldTravelers wrote a review Aug 2020
Kahului, Hawaii1,899 contributions404 helpful votes
I’ve always had a fascination with the beauty and life of Maui’s West Maui Mountain range. Back in the day before the Internet was a necessity, I read of utopian sights people experienced here. Enter the digital age and I found myself obsessed with a particular feature found here, Eke Crater. Its flat, bog-capped top, mystery and inaccessibility makes my brain smoke with wonder. I’ve seen its imposing, unique profile from the ocean near Kahana, Maui, but thought I could get a closer view by going on this hike. Unfortunately, you have to go up on a rare, cloudless day, and this day wasn’t one of them. PARKING: What you’re looking for is the Mendes Ranch gate along the oceanside of Kahekili Highway. Right across from that is the driveway to Camp Maluhia and the Waihee Ridge Trail. You first come upon an overflow parking lot. If cars are parked here, the trail is probably crowded. But most of all, you really don’t want to park here because it’s close to a mile from the start of the hike and regular parking area. The regular parking area can fit between 35-40 cars and sports two port-a-potties. THE TRAIL: It’s a little over 2 miles each way. We ascended in under an hour with rests and photo ops. We were back down in just under 3 hours, again with rests and more photo ops. EXPERIENCE: The most grueling part of the hike is at the very start. A short but steep concrete driveway gets those glutes burning! The rest of the way is of course all uphill, a mix of packed dirt and gravel. As others have stated, it can get very, very muddy but this was summertime so it was dry. The trail is wide and safe, but don’t go venturing off because you will probably fall hundreds of feet to the valley below then get eaten by wild pigs before perishing. We even heard one squealing off in the distance which was chilling yet exciting. Tree shade is at a minimum for the most part but the clouds kept us cool, even enveloping us when we crested the top. You won’t see a ton of flora but mostly trees and plants. The views are killer though as you’re high up on a ridge. In one photo you can capture Haleakala, the north shore coastline and the Waihee Valley and River. Look the other way and you can see Kahakuloa Head, the lush valleys below and endless Pacific. Near the midway point was a single bench which was occupied both times we passed, sporting a view of the valley below. At the end of the trail is a wooden viewing platform and a picnic table which was occupied by an entire cluster. I was bummed as clouds blocked the entire 365-degree view here and my chance at seeing Eke Crater. Heading back down was going okay but near the ¾ point, both of my knees, particularly the sides of the caps were in so much pain, it felt like they were about to split apart! I ended up walking the rest of the way backwards in order to ease my suffering. I’m in pretty good shape but I guess I’m not used to the downhill grade and pressure on my knees. Note to self: Take rest breaks on the way down next time! We went on a Friday morning in August 2020 with the 14-day quarantine in effect for travelers so crowds were thin. I’d guesstimate there were no more than 50 people hiking at the time. A few people had dogs with them and failed to pick up their excrement. So rude. TIPS: Pack light. One bottle of water and a small towel to wipe away sweat. Insect repellent wasn’t needed. Cell reception was surprisingly good the whole way (I have Spectrum Mobile). Not recommended for anyone with knee issues. OVERALL: On a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being most difficult, I’d rate this trail a 6 due to the constant incline. Your only choice for seeing deep into the West Maui Mountains on foot unless you work for the Mauna Kahalawai Watershed Partnership.
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Date of experience: August 2020
4 Helpful votes
Tara R wrote a review Mar 2020
Minneapolis, Minnesota25 contributions2 helpful votes
This hike is a must-do! After walking for roughly one mile, the trail canopy begins to open and you experience a view that has a little bit of everything. The hike can become a bit challenging, especially if it is raining, after about 1.5 miles, but even going partway up the trail is worth-while experience. Pro-tips: Go early (!!) and bring a friend to hold the portapotty door open should you dare to use it (the only unpleasant thing about this hike).
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Date of experience: February 2020
gljohnson2 wrote a review Mar 2020
Minneapolis, Minnesota23 contributions19 helpful votes
My wife and I hiked the Waihee Ridge Trail as part of a weeklong visit to Maui. We are both glad we chose to spend some time getting to and hiking the trail. Getting to the trail is an up and down and winding process, much like a lot of the rest of your Maui driving experience when you’re not in an incorporated area. If you’re going from Kahului, it’s a bit like the first part of the road to Hana. If you can get to the trail parking lot early enough to score a spot in the main parking area, that’s certainly better than the overflow lot which is about three-quarters of a mile’s worth of a windy road down from the main lot. We arrived on site about 9 am and there was plenty of space available to park. By the time we left shortly before 12 noon, the lot was packed. The hike starts with a 150-foot climb up a paved path right off the bat. It’s a good introduction to the next two miles, although the initial grade is probably steeper than most of the rest of the walk. While hiking the trail (you won’t need to use your hands at all) you’ll experience several different types of terrain and ecological settings, ranging from evergreens and forest to lush greenery to red clay and rock. The views going up the trail are almost better than what you see at the top, although the 200-degree sights at the summit are breathtaking too. You’ll see a waterfall in the distance in your first 20 minutes. I loved the overlook into the valley that was frequently available to the left as you ascended up the trail. From the outhouse at at the parking lot, it took us 70 minutes to reach the picnic table at the top and we are not extravagant climbers, but we are in good physical shape. It then took 50-60 minutes to return down the trail. My hips and knees told me I exercised some new muscles the next day. As far as shoes go, I wouldn’t suggest open-toed sandals. Don’t wear your nicest tennis shoes either as they are bound to get dirty from the clay and puddly spots along the trail. If you have them, climbing boots will help, but aren’t worth packing if you’re flying with just a carry-on or trying to conserve space in a suitcase. However, do pack a full bottle of water per person (at a minimum). From a climbing perspective, this trail reminded me of the easier route up Camelback in Phoenix prior to the final 1/3 up the rock face. Not too difficult, but certainly more difficult if you can’t walk long distances or handle less than flat or unstable surfaces. It was about 2.25 miles up (meaning 4.5 miles round trip) and a total of 1,500 feet in terms of elevation gained.
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Date of experience: March 2020
3 Helpful votes