Distance: 8 km (5 miles)
Elevation Gain: 476 m (1,560 ft)
Time: 3-3.5 Hours (roundtrip)
Before I left for Maui, I spent a lot of time figuring out which day hike I wanted to do. What’s great about Maui is that the list is endless. Whether you decide to explore the east coast (Hana) or the West; you’re going to be situated in superb beauty.
I chose the Waihe’e Ridge because it was one of the shortest drives from our home. From Wailea, it took about 40 minutes to reach the trail head. It was also a hike I would be able to do with my parents (aka, nothing too “Charlotte ridiculous”). We started the hike at 6:30am and completed it at 9:27am. It was nice workout that didn’t leave you feeling completely dead.
I’m beginning to love hiking in different places around the world. I think it’s discovering the unknown that’s got me hooked. Hiking through different groves of trees, and surrounded by different sounds and smells truly makes me happy. I got my first taste of hiking abroad when I was in Italy back in 2014. Next, it was in the Mojave desert, and then Yosemite. Now, I’ve been fortunately situated in this tropical jungle paradise.
When you reach the parking lot, you’re going to start off walking up this extremely graded concrete road for about 200ft. It’s going to shitty, but keep in mind, this is probably the most challenging part of the hike believe it or not. Once you reach the top of the road, the trail now begins to start looking like you’re in the hawaiian wilderness.
It’s such an incredible hike. I loved every minute of it. Each turn you take opens your eyes to more spectacular views. I’ve been saying this a lot (probably because I was obsessed with it), but it felt like I was on the set of “Lost.” Jack is that you?!
The first look out will hopefully be clear enough for you to see two waterfall in the distance and snap a photo. Continue on from here…it only gets better.
Just around the corner from there about another 1/4 kilometer, you’ll come to another gorgeous look-out. This view is typically clouded over – this is the reason you have to start extra early! When we arrived to this point, the whole valley was clouded over – I couldn’t believe it. I swore we started the hike early enough for it to be clear. We could have sucked it up and continued the hike, but I had a feeling deep down that the wind would blow the clouds away for a short while so I could get a picture. Magically, it happened! In 2 minutes to be exact.
If you’ve been to Hawaii before, you then know how quickly the weather can change – especially when you’re in the clouds. With this, you have to ensure you’re prepared for any condition. Thank goodness the temperatures don’t get below freezing here during the day, but it does like to rain – a lot sometimes. I personally didn’t pack a shell to wear because I checked the weather forecast prior; but it wouldn’t hurt.
The rain can make the trail pretty dangerous at times. There are points on the trail where you’re walking along this 2 foot wide path. Beside you are incredibly steep drop offs. You’re literally positioned on a ridge! As exhilarating as this sounds, the clay path has a tendency to get super slippery. Just be aware of your footing, and you should be fine. Hiking poles/stick can help in these situations.
When we reached the summit, this was when the rain began to drizzle. I thought to myself “we better get a move on.” I wolfed down the mango I brought and we began our descent. There were a couple of times where I slipped, but no falls (thank god)…my dad got that one!
No snakes…that I knew of…and a few cool spiders hanging in their webs, but that was about it. Oh! The birds! How could I forget. No need to tune into your headphones, let the dozens of tropical birds serenade you.
Other than snorkeling around Molokini, hiking the Waihe’e Ridge topped my charts on things to do in Maui. If you’re not too keen on driving the road to Hana, but still want to hike; why not check out the west part of the island?
Aloha nui loa,