Discover Maui’s Beauty: Hiking the Mahana Ridge Trail

Mahana Ridge Trail

Embark on a journey of discovery at the Mahana Ridge Trail, a stunning 10 mile out and back route set in captivating West Maui wilderness. Along this heavily trafficked trail, you will be met with lush fruit trees, abundant foliage and mesmerising views of Mokupe‘a and Honokahua Gulches!

If you opt to trek all the way to the Maunalei Arboretum, then be prepared for an extended adventure. The hardy terrain was formerly utilized as pineapple and coffee plantations during Honolua Ranch’s era. Depending on your pace and how far you go, this excursion may take between three and six hours.

Mahana Ridge Trail Map

Mahana Ridge Trail

Difficulty: Hard

Duration: 3-5 Hours

Distance: 10 Miles (Out and Back)

Dogs: Allowed if they are leashed.


Let’s kick things off the right way: let’s get dressed and packed! Luckily, due to Maui’s pleasant environment and lack of predators, you can freely keep your packing list light. To help with this task I have compiled a helpful guide of must-have items for any hike. You can find it at the end of the post.

The initial mile and a half of the Mahana Ridge Trail is not well taken care of, so you must prepare to maneuver through knee-high grasses. To prevent bug bites and wounds, I’d urge wearing long pants—which I neglected to do myself, unfortunately ending up with several cuts on my legs! If you intend on completing this hike during sunrise like we did, remember to bring your swimsuit in the car too; since it’s located right by the beach, making for an extraordinary opportunity after finishing your journey!

While venturing along the Mahana Ridge Trail, we encountered no bugs – but this could change based on the time of day and season. Therefore, be sure to pack some insect repellent and tick spray for your journey!

The view over the ocean

Mahana Ridge Trail Directions

Journey through the Mahana Ridge Trail starts at one of Maui’s most picturesque destinations, DT Flemings Beach. To get there, take Hwy 30 on West Maui and you will find a sign for D.T Fleming Beach Park located just beyond mile marker 31.

When looking towards the ocean with a green schoolhouse to your left, the trailhead is situated at the right corner of the parking lot. There are public restrooms and water sources available so you can begin your hike recharged!

DT Flemings is a picturesque beach located below the Kapalua Resort- Ritz-Carlton. To reach this stunning destination, it’s only a 10 minute drive from Ka’anapali and 20 minutes north of Lahaina.

If you’re looking for alternative parking, the Kapalua Driving Range is your answer! Located right next to one of Kapalua’s top restaurants – Taverna – this lot gives pedestrians access to a beautiful paved path that used to be designated as golf cart-only.

Scenic Views

Hiking The Mahana Ridge Trail On Maui

If you’re prepared for an awe-inspiring journey, just park at D.T Fleming beach and head to the trailhead. You will be welcomed by tall grasses and trees in a rainforest atmosphere that may seem overgrown but don’t let this deter you – after only one mile, the environment alters completely! In my opinion, these lush growths enhanced my experience; it was like taking a step into Jurassic Park itself!

After roughly a half mile of trekking, you’ll come across a road that leads to the golf course. Cross it and continue down the trail. After passing through patches of tall grasses, you will begin your ascent up about 2500 feet in elevation – don’t let this number scare you because the incline is split throughout the hike! As you ascend higher and higher, take time to admire Maui’s distinct ecosystems; with each step comes something different for an all-encompassing experience of nature.

Scenic Views along Mahana Ridge Trail

Under two miles into the hike, you will chance upon a switchback with an amazing vista of the sea and forests beneath. As you progress further along your journey, it is likely that you’ll sense another shift in ambience; both humidity levels and trees become less abundant while tropical flora takes center stage! Keep watch on your left side for a relic – an old tractor encapsulated by roots.

After journeying 4.5 miles, you will come across a gate that leads to the Maunalei Arboretum – be sure to shut it after passing through! Then the final viewpoint is just ahead; although signposts along your path can show you which way, make sure to watch out for any signs on your left-hand side in case they could have been overlooked.

If you seek a single hike that encompasses the absolute best of Maui, your search is over. The Mahana Ridge Trail is simply mesmerizing! This trail offers lush vegetation, steep clay mountains, magnificent ocean views and plentiful jungles – all in one place! Allowing yourself to be immersed within nature’s beauty instead of vacation resort life will truly open up new horizons for your visit here; however don’t forget to pack some snacks so you can make it up the summit and take in that breathtaking view!

The Mahana Ridge Trail

When To Hike The Mahana Ridge Trail

If you find yourself wanting to embark on a trek during the hottest time of day, don’t fret- this trail offers plenty of shade so that you can hike without getting scorched by direct sunlight. However, if your journey begins later in the heat of the afternoon, be mindful as this area is prone to sudden rain showers.

During the winter months, hikers should be prepared for more frequent rainfall in Maui. The further up the ridge line you go after precipitation, the muddier it may get. It’s essential to always check the weather before embarking on a hike – flash floods can happen anywhere and anytime, though they are less common on this particular trail than others around Maui.

After a few days of sunshine, tackling this trail from beginning to end would be your best option for an unforgettable hike.

The Mahana Ridge Trail After Rain

Hiking Essentials

  1. Water: It’s best to be ready for anything and everything on your hike, so make sure you pack more water than estimated. This is always a smart precaution – after all, you never know what surprises await!
  2. A backpack: To avoid backache during longer hikes, make sure to equip yourself with a well-fitting and supportive backpack. For extra points, use it as your carry on for the plane!
  3. Hiking Boots: If you are trekking for more than a few miles or multiple times annually, I urge investing in a reliable pair of boots. This is the only hiking gear that is truly worth your money since it can protect you from falls, back and foot pain, blisters, etc.
  4. First Aid: When traveling, it is essential to pack a small first aid kit with basic items such as band-aids, Benadryl (for allergic reactions due to unfamiliar plants or bugs), disinfectant and a compress wrap. This will be invaluable if an injury occurs!
  5. Snacks: The best hiking snacks are lightweight, compact in size and offer a concentrated amount of energy. My go-to’s usually include nuts for sustaining me throughout the journey along with some fruit to replenish my glycogen stores if we plan on going over 7-8 miles.
  6. Sun Screen: This hike lasted approximately 5 hours, and though it remained mostly shaded, I would emphasize the importance of re-applying sunscreen every couple hours just to be safe!
  7. Maps: Downloading maps ahead of time is a smart move, especially if you’re expecting little-to-no reception on the trail. I personally utilize All Trails for mapping and logging my hikes – it’s simple to use and makes trekking much more effortless!
Mahana Ridge Trail Vegatation

Other Spectacular Hiking Trails On Maui

Waihee Ridge Trail 

The Waihee Ridge Trail

Embark on the Waihee Ridge Trail in Maui and bask in breathtaking views. This moderate hike is worth every drop of sweat, as you will be rewarded with a mesmerizing view from the summit’s lookout point – featuring lush valleys, cascading waterfalls, and distant Hawaiian islands. Prepare yourself for lasting memories that make all the struggle worthwhile!

It’s rarely populated, so you won’t have to share your experience with too many people who are trekking alongside you. But that isn’t even the best part! Once you’ve reached an elevation of sufficient proportion, prepare yourself for some truly stunning vistas; from Kahului Harbour on one side and Molokai Island in all its beauty with the ocean beyond on the other — there is simply nothing like this eye-catching panorama! The scenic beauty of this trail is unparalleled; the views are simply breathtaking. On a hot and sunny day, you can expect muggy weather along your journey, whereas cloudy or rainy days will be full of misty fog that provides an invigorating atmosphere with occasional waterfalls appearing around every corner! Once you have reached the end of your hike, take time to relax at the picnic table where there’s plenty space to enjoy a snack before heading back home.

Pipiwai Trail

Pipiwai Trail

Are you looking for an exciting and moderately strenuous trail? If so, Haleakala National Park in East Maui has a unique option that is perfect for all ages. Located 12 miles past Hana at Kipahulu, this 4 mile roundtrip hike will take you through the stunning Bamboo Forest as well as other extraordinary parts of nature.

The breathtaking beauty of the Pools of Oheo, otherwise known as the Seven Sacred Pools, make it an ideal starting and ending point for this awe-inspiring Maui hike. Traversing through a tropical rainforest that is home to a majestic banyan tree before reaching a mesmerizing bamboo forest will give you chills – so tranquil your gaze may be lost in its dense stalks swaying with each gentle breeze.

Heed this warning: stay off the Pipiwai Trail if a storm is in the forecast! This trail is especially hazardous during rainstorms, as sudden flash floods can swiftly and unexpectedly develop. One minute you could be strolling along serene mountain streams, but then suddenly they might become raging torrents that sweep away anyone who isn’t vigilant enough to spot them coming. As such, plan all Maui hikes with an extra emphasis on weather forecasts so that you don’t risk your safety or put others at risk either!

Twin Falls

Twin Falls

If you’re looking for an invigorating jaunt that won’t require too much effort, this one-mile trek along the renowned Road to Hana on Maui’s north shore is perfect! The only drawback? It can get a bit hectic due to its popularity.

If you’re looking for a quick and beautiful taste of tropical paradise without making the journey to Hana, then this hike is for you! There are two waterfall trails that offer stunning views easily accessible by all. You can even take a swim in the pools created by these waterfalls or walk under them if you dare- many locals have been seen jumping off cliffs into those very same pools! Just keep in mind that after rainstorms, the terrain becomes extremely muddy so be sure to wear shoes instead of slippers (flip flops) as they may only get stuck.

Sliding Sands

Sliding Sands

Are you ready to take your hiking experience up a notch? Climb Mount Haleakala and explore its more than 30 miles of trails! But be warned: the strenuousness of this summit is further amplified by high altitude, unpredictable weather patterns, and chilly temperatures. To ensure an enjoyable journey that’s free from worry and danger, make sure to plan ahead tirelessy or even join a guided tour for optimum safety!

This hike is nothing short of incredible, yet quite demanding. If you are simply looking to take a casual stroll, this may not be the best option for you. The sand inside the volcanic crater adds an arresting touch with its diverse colors and textures; however it can prove tricky due to slippage. When conditions are sunny, both the colors and views from atop exceptional! On a cloudy day, you will almost feel as if you are strolling in the sky at this elevation. When it’s time to return, be prepared for each step up out of the crater since the sliding sands make ascending twice as hard.

Pali Trail

Pali Trail

If you’re looking for an invigorating hike with a rewarding view, this 5-mile (one way) trek in the mountains above Maalaea is certain to satisfy. 

This hike is most enjoyable after a few days of rain, making the entire area lush and green. The two-lane highway connecting West Maui to Central Maui lies beneath you as you climb higher – soon enough, however, the cars’ sounds disappear while your view only expands! For those that visit during whale season (December-March), be prepared for an array of breathtaking sights; whales frolicking in the distance will captivate even the busiest minds. As you traverse the trail, enormous wind turbines suddenly come into view on the mountainside – an astonishing sight to behold. Be advised that it can be exceptionally blustery and abruptly cold in this area, so dress appropriately!