Munro Trail is a scenic hiking trail that is accessible near Lanai City, Lanai. Once an old jeep road around the Central Lanai area, this red dirt trail is now off-limits to vehicles for nearly its entire 8.1-mile loop. Of course, there is a reason why those vehicles are disallowed — and that reason is that this is no easy trail.
The Munro Trail Loop is accessible by taking H-440 towards the ocean. You’ll see a simple red-dirt parking lot on your left, but without much fanfare. This is the parking area for the Munro Trail Loop. From here, the trail seems simple enough. You will walk a couple of miles down a long dirt ATV road, surrounded by the tall grasses of the valleys here.
But this first part of the trail is about the only flat terrain you’ll experience. The Munro Trail Loop quickly starts going up and up as it winds over and about the hills and sea cliffs in this area. The total elevation gain for the Munro Trail Loop is a whopping 1,538 feet. That is some serious elevation gain changes across just a couple of miles in that final part of the loop. The most difficult part of the trail happens as you start descending along the right end of the loop.
It is incredibly important for hikers to take special care going down this last mile. This is especially true after heavy rainfall. That’s because what happens here is that rocks get loosened and what is usually a packed red dirt trail becomes slick and muddy. This creates very treacherous conditions and as such, it is not recommended to hike this trail during or shortly after a rainstorm.
But so long as you come prepared and in good condition, the Munro Trail Loop has plenty to offer you. As you head into the uplands, you move from valleys to forested hills. You’ll enjoy walking beneath ironwoods and pines as you make the journey ever up and onto the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This overlook area, Nakalahale Cliff, offers sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean to the east and the tall central hill of Lanai to the north and west. On clear days, you can see clear across to the islands of Maui and Kahoolawe.
-If you are looking to make a more backcountry adventure out of your time in Lanai and don’t care to rent a vehicle, then combining this with camping at Hulopoe Bay is a fantastic vacation idea. You can take the ferry from Maui to the Manele Small Boat Harbor for a small fee. From there, it’s just a five-minute walk to Hulopoe Bay and the Hulopoe Beach Park where you can camp practically on the beach. The entrance of the Munro Trail Loop is then a three-mile hike down the road. This makes for a fun, if challenging, 12-mile hiking trip around some of the most beautiful parts of Lanai.
-Note, Lanai is a very sparsely populated island. There are only a couple of grocery stores and only one on the part of the island we’re talking about. That’s the Manele General Store that’s part of the boat dock. As you’d probably expect, the prices are high and the selection small at this tiny shop. Hours can also be random. So if you are looking to visit the island by ferry and without a vehicle, make sure to bring the essentials before you head to Lanai.
If you don’t like the idea of walking everywhere, you can contact the local Jeep rental outfits in Lanai City. They are exceptionally service-friendly and will have a jeep waiting for you at the ferry docks. There’s also a shuttle that can take you into the center part of Lanai City and back again for a small fee.