If you want to get off the beaten path and explore parts of Maui that many people never see, you may want to consider doing one of the following day hikes. 

The Waihe'e Ridge Trail 

This state hiking trail is found just north of Waihe'e on the east side of West Maui Mountain. The trailhead is accessed off the Kahekili highway, just before mile marker 7 - the turn is basically opposite Mendes Ranch and Trail Rides. There is a Boy Scout Camp plaquard on the left side of the road. The access road is located just south of where the Kahekili highway stops being a true two-lane highway.

The access gate at the bottom is now closed due to security problems at the Boy Scout Camp. Park in the lot before the fence and be ready to walk up the long incline - at least a mile - to the trailhead. (2013) The Na Ala Hele trail system instructions have not been changed to reflect this. 

The Waihe'e Ridge Trail is a moderate hike and has good footing throughout the trail, although at times it can be a little muddy near the top part of the trail because that area gets a little more rain. However, the worst part of the trail is the first few-hundred yards, which are on a paved road that is at a very steep incline. This part of the hike will definitely get your blood pumping!

 Looking in to the West Maui Mountain

As you ascend, enjoy the spectacular views from the trail - inland towards the ridges and waterfalls of the West Maui Mountain, south towards Kahului, and north towards Kahakuloa.  The trail basically ascends along a ridge, so there are views to both sides of the Ridge.


 Wild Orchid on the Waihe'e Ridge Trail


In addition, be on the lookout for wild orchids growing alongside the trail! 

Because the clouds tend to move in later in the morning, it is important to start this hike early in the morning. The access road no longer opens at 7:00 a.m., and you should attempt to be on the trail no later than 8:00 a.m. to ensure that the clouds haven't begun rolling in by the time you reach the end of the trail.

The trail is 2.5 miles each way and you climb roughly 1,500 feet over the course of the hike. The last 0.5 miles is the steepest part of the nonpaved trail, but is not too difficult a climb for most hikers, although a walking stick may be helpful. (Look for walking sticks at the bottom of the trailhead where they may have been left by earlier hikers.) There is a picnic table at the end of the trail, where you can sit down and have a well-earned snack while enjoying the spectacular panaromic views from the Ridge. There are two benches over the course of the trail, which provide great views and a place to stop and catch your breath.