Hiking Poli Poli

November 28, 2018

Many visitors ask us about where to go hiking on Maui. The most common suggestions are Twin Falls, Haleakala Crater, or Iao Valley but, not many folks hear about the great hiking trails in Poli Poli Spring State Recreation Area.

This state park, located upcountry above Ali’i Kula Lavender farm, has rough, unpaved roads. Given the road conditions, you need a four wheel drive vehicle to go there. Kihei Rent A Car is here to help! 

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You can rent a two or four door Jeep Wrangler for as many days as you deem fit. We are here to provide you with a safe and fun vehicle and we’ll go the extra mile to do so (pun intended) . You can also rent a comfy, easy to drive sedan from Kihei Rent A Car and “upgrade” to a Jeep on the day you want to explore Poli Poli’s rough roads. 

This uncrowded state park is an out-of-the-way, forested spot with some of the island’s best hiking trails. It can be chilly at 6,200 feet elevation so dress in layers and bring snacks, lunch and plenty of water. The expansive views are stunning so of course a camera is a must!

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After ascending the switchback road that continues up from the lavender farm, the first hike is the Waiakoa Loop Trail, which begins by the hunters check-in station. The trailhead technically doesn’t begin for 0.75 mile down the hunting access road. From the beginning of the trail you will hike a three mile loop with a moderate elevation change while passing through lowland brush and pines.

Farther up the road, just past the cattle guard where the road turns to dirt, you’ll find the trailhead for the Boundary Trail, a 4.4-mile one-way trail that descends to the lower fence line. This trail offers outstanding views of South Maui.

The shortest loop is up the Lower Waiohuli Trail, which intersects the Boundary Trail at the 2.6-mile mark. Turning left on the Lower Waiohuli Trail, it’s 1.4 miles back uphill to the main road, then a 2.5-mile trek back along the dirt road to your car.

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If seven miles is too far, most of the shorter hikes in Polipoli begin and end at the campground. While some are only a mile long, the best hike in the park for first-time visitors is the 5.3-mile loop trail formed by connecting the Haleakala Ridge Trail, Polipoli Trail, Redwood Trail, and Plum Trail.

It’s possible to hike all the way from Polipoli to the summit of Haleakala. To do this, you will hike up the 6.8-mile dirt road, known as Skyline Drive. Skyline is a strenuous hike providing panoramic views down the mountain’s southwest rift zone. Remember to be aware of the challenges of hiking at altitude.

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Poli Poli Spring State Recreation Area offers hiking trails for all levels of hikers. Kihei Rent a Car offers great prices on their 4WD Jeep Wranglers. Put the two together and you have a fantastic upcountry Maui adventure!

 

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