Maui activities always involve the beach, but don’t forget about adventures inland. Maui hiking trails are an unexpected and fun way to see the rain forest and waterfalls, take a plunge into a pool and cross swinging bridges.
Adventurous Maui ActivitiesIf you’re looking for things to do on Maui, the Waihee Valley Trail, also known as the Swinging Bridges Trail, is a hike with something for everyone. After an initial, gradual 300-ft climb the trail levels out and winds gently through a rain forest, passing by bamboo, banyan trees, ginger and avocado. It follows the Waihe’e River upstream, at times running parallel to hundred year old irrigation canals made by Chinese immigrants. About a mile in, the trail crosses its first swinging bridge. Both bridges are about 12-ft off the ground. One is newer than the other, but both stable and easy to cross, even though the second one had duct-tape across the bolts in places. (Just added to the adventure, I thought!)
The Waihee Valley trail is perfect for a families with young kids and/or grandparents. The two river crossings can be slippery but with good shoes or bare feet and going slow, they are more fun than anything. Depending upon the water level, expect to get your feet wet. Children may need a hand. The trail ends at a man-made waterfall. The damn offers a thrilling jumping off point for the adventurous and the swimming hole is deep and appropriate for most swimmers. All-in-all, it’s an ideal spot to cool off and swim, unpack a picnic lunch, and take pictures of the hundred foot waterfall in the distance, cascading over the canyon wall at the head of the valley.
There is a $6 entrance fee for adults; $3 Kama’aina rate with a Hawaii ID. Ask the employee at the front entrance about the water levels and if there is any danger of flash flooding. The water was considered high the day we hiked, but even then we were able to wade across all of the streams. The trail can be muddy depending upon the rain.
Getting to the Waihee Valley TrailThe Waihee Valley trailhead is a short drive from the town of Wailuku in west Maui. Take Highway 330/Market Street northeast out of Wailuku. Continue on Highway 330 until it becomes Highway 340 at mile marker 2. Turn left onto Waihee Valley Road, just before the mile marker 5. There is a small parking lot on the right, among the houses, just before you reach the end of the pavement. The trail head is at the end of the road.