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Maui Hiking: The Waihee Valley

by Dee Andrews

Maui Hiking | Waihee Valley Trail

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 Activities

Waihe'e Valley Trail

Waihe'e Valley Trail

If 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.

Swinging Bridge

Swinging Bridge

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.
Wet Feet at the River Crossings

Two River Crossings

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.

Jump In

Jump In

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 Trail

Duct Tape?

Duct Tape?

The 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.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Bergren August 18, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Sounds awesome! My kids’ favorite hike this summer in Montana was one where we crossed logs over rivers. If we ever get to Maui we’ll have to try this one!
.-= Lisa Bergren´s last blog ..Jewel Basin Family Hike =-.

Dee September 1, 2010 at 11:59 am

Nothing like the simple things in life to make kids happy! And I rather enjoyed the river crossings too!

Aloha Tony October 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm

It is easy to get distracted by the wonderful beaches, but this is an example of a really fun day trip.

jason September 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Trail closed as of 9/1/11. Political/access issues as well as car break ins ended the fun. Too much liability for too many parties.

Dee Andrews September 19, 2011 at 8:36 am

Disappointed to hear about the trail closing. It was such a fun experience. Try hiking upcountry in Polipoli State Park for an alternative. Very different landscape, definitely unique.

marge September 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!
marge´s last [type] ..learn hypnosis

jeff E March 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Sadly enough, once again as a result of our litigious society, and like many other hikes , a combo of greed, liabiltiy and landownership issues has closed this hike.
What a shame, especially with water now flowing down the stream , i must be even nicer then when I did this hike over 15 years ago.

Dee Andrews March 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm

So sorry to hear this! It’s such a special Maui experience. Thanks for letting us know.

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