If you’re searching for a hiking trail in Maui that’s perfect for all ages, try the Waikamoi Ridge Nature Trail is for you. The trail is past mile marker nine on Hana Highway 360. You’ll find a parking area off the road that marks the trailhead. Be sure to read the sign beside the trail. Its Zen-like quote advises all who hike what to expect on the Waikamoi Ridge Nature Trail: “Quiet. Trees at work.”
The out-and-back Waikamoi Ridge Nature Trail is ranked as moderate with 255 feet of elevation. The primary loop trail is .9 miles long and has two lookout locations. There is a trail extension on the loop that leads to a picnic area. If you add this to your trek, your total distance will be 1.5 miles. Depending on your pace and how often you stop to snap pictures, the loop should take approximately thirty minutes. If you add the extension, then plan on hiking for an hour.
Hikers of all ages and abilities should be able to handle the Waikamoi Ridge Nature Trail system. We feel that children five years and up can hike the trail, although younger children may do fine. We’ll leave that decision up to the parents! The path is wide enough to share with other hikers and has some manmade steps here and there. Overall, the gradient is never challenging, and many hikers are adept at wearing athletic shoes as opposed to hiking boots. As is typical of jungle foliage, roots crisscross the path. These won’t hinder your adventure, but they’ll be slippery when wet so watch your step.
Speaking of wet, the eastern side of Maui receives over 300 inches of rain a year. You will want to pick a time when it’s not raining but keep in mind that the trail will always be damp.
As the sign at the trailhead implied, you’ll be hiking in jungle terrain that is full of a variety of flora. You’ll delight seeing sprouting bamboo groves amidst ferns, lichen, some of Maui’s oldest trees, and the beautiful colored heliconia. Mango trees are plentiful and grow side by side with Hawaii’s state tree, the kukui. Hawaiians associate the kukui with peace and protection, so be sure to snap pictures standing beside this tree of hope.
Hiking the Waikamoi Ridge Nature Trail is to be enjoyed, not rushed. The trail way provides a bench so you can relax and listen to the trilling birds. During your hike, you’ll find a few openings in the dense foliage that reveal the Pacific Ocean. We think you’ll agree that the azure waters are more radiant when viewed through lush green vegetation.
At the halfway point of the loop, you’ll find a sign marking the extension trail. It is an out-and-back route that will have you ascending while navigating gnarly roots. The payoff is reaching the small clearing where a covered picnic table awaits. Here, you can enjoy the serenity while snacking on packed foods before taking to the trail once more.
-Although guidebooks and other sources claim that the Waikamoi Ridge Nature Trail doesn’t have waterfalls, we found hiker reviews that begged to differ. Look for the sign that says the trail ends here. Near the sign is an unkempt trail opening. You’ll follow this trail through bamboo groves and fallen trees. At the trail’s end is a steep descent to a water chute. Metal rungs make climbing over easy, and in no time, you’re at the top of the waterfall. The view of the pool below is breathtaking. Footing is slippery, so don’t try crossing the stream.
-Be advised that hikers should use extreme caution. The trail is dangerous and may not be suitable for inexperienced, young, and elderly hikers.