West Maui Circle

This is a fun day trip.  Lots of hiking, a little tricky driving and breathtaking scenery.  If you decide to circle the entire west side of Maui, it gets a very curvy and narrow toward the end (But, don't let that discourage you!  I found it much improved last year).  The road here hugs the edge of a cliff and it gets down to one lane for small stretches.  So, if you encounter someone coming in the opposite direction, you may find yourself backing up to the nearest turn-out.  If you start this journey heading north from Lahaina, you can avoid that by traveling only on the 2-lane portion to MM14,  turning around and heading back.

I think the best way to go on this is to head up highway 30 towards Lahaina from Ma'alea.  You can save some time by using the Lahaina Bypass (Route 3000) on the way.  Continue on past Kapalua, and make a stop on the cliffside overlooking Honolua Bay (always a pretty sight).  If you've brought your beach or snorkel equipment, you may want to make a stop at the trailhead for Honolua Bay.  Just before MM33, you'll see the purple food stand across the road and the port-a-potties in the parking area.  We usually just continue on, unless we're making this the focus of our trip here.  

 

On your next stop, there are two ways to get to the area you're seeking.    The Nakalele Blowhole is accessible from first, the Acid War Zone Trail or next the Nakalele Blowhole Trailhead.   The first is at MM38, second is a half mile later.  Both have areas to park.  Be warned, it gets very slippery when it rains.  Wear good shoes for hiking, that you don't mind getting wet and dirty.  Also, DO NOT get too close to the blowhole.  Water from the surging sea can shoot 70 feet in the air.  That much force can throw rocks, and creats a vacuum you can get dragged into when the water retreats back into the blowhole.  People have been killed here by doing getting too close.  

 

 

 

This video gives you a

very good idea of what to 

expect on this hike.

However, they are WAY

TOO CLOSE to the blowhole

and the ocean.  One rogue

wave or misstep on the

jagged lava rock could

cost you your life.  

PLEASE exercise caution

and common sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another stop is just beyond MM40, for the Ohai Trail.  There's a nice viewing area only a couple hundred feet from the parking lot.  If you're more adventurous, hike the trail to the right.  When you come to a fork in the trail, stay to the right, and you'll be treated to some nice sights as the trail turns and you head back up the coastline.

 

The route number changes (to 340), and so do the mile markers.  Only 2 miles from the Ohai Trail, you'll now be at MM16.  Just before you get there, you'll see the parking and trailhead for the Olivine Pools.  It's the same type experience as the Nakalele Blowhole, so take the same precautions.  The difference here, are the beautiful pools you can swim in if the conditions aren't too rough in the sea below.  While climbing these lava rock cliffs, always be mindful that lava is very pourous and fragile.  It could break under your feet, sending you for a nasty fall.  Also, if you get too close to the edge, you could be knocked off your feet by a rogue wave.

 

If the ocean is calm (which is rare in this area), these pools can be enjoyed, as in the video above.

 

However, the video on the right shows you what can happen when the sea is rough.  Even if it is calm, rogue waves can happen.  Exercise extreme caution at all times.

At this point, the road turns into a mostly one lane, twisty, turny nightmare for people prone to car sickness.  For them, I would advise going just a little further for a stop at Julia's (I'll explain below) and another mile to the Kaukini Gallery, then turn around and head back the same way.  If you're not frightened by the tricky driving, the fastest way back toward Kahalui is to navigate the 10 miles of cliff hugging road.  

At this point, the road turns into a mostly one lane, twisty, turny nightmare for people prone to car sickness.  For them, I would advise going just a little further for a stop at Julia's (I'll explain below) and another mile to the Kaukini Gallery, then turn around and head back the same way.  If you're not frightened by the tricky driving, the fastest way back toward Kahalui is to navigate the 10 miles of cliff hugging road.  

.

UPDATE: I had previously stated that you should do the entire circle because of the wonderful treat near mile marker 10.  However, Curley's Fruit Stand has now permanently closed.  They had some of the best Banana Bread on the island.  Curley died a few years back, his wife and kids ran it for a while, but have now moved back to Georgia.  Fortunately, there is still Julia's Tree House.  We made the stop there yesterday, and OMG!  It's in Kahakuloa Village.  Make the stop, you will not be disappointed. 

(Read on below)

OK, here is something I rarely do.  I'm going to recommend something I've never actually done.  However, that will most definitely change on our next trip.  Watch this video of the Waihe'e Ridge Trail, and I'm sure you'll agree it looks spectacular.  I'll leave a link to the map HERE, so you know where to find it.  

The turnoff which leads to the trailhead, is located directly across from the Mendes Ranch.

If you decide to go in the opposite direction, starting in Wailuku, you'll get the tricky driving out of the way early (and get your banana bread early) Pro Tip: It doesn't arrive until 9:30-10am, so don't get there too early.  Some days, you can find the same banana bread at a stand at the Olive Pools parking area.  3 years ago, we went the Wailuku way and found it very enjoyable.   This way we were able to do most of the stops for hiking, gawking and rock climbing earlier in the day.  That left a few hours in the afternoon to stop at Maui Tacos (in Napili) and Maui Brewing Co. (in Kahana) for a beer, and  then walk around Lahaina for a bit.

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