After a wonderful morning at the Maui Ocean Center, we stopped by Iao Valley on the way back to our hotel.
Iao Valley is a state park with a short hiking trail that leads to a lookout with gorgeous views of the Iao Needle and the valley below.
While originally used as sacred burial grounds, in 1790 the Battle of Kepaniwai took place here when Kamehameha the Great defeated the Maui army while he was unifying the Hawaiian islands.
When we arrived, we started on the Iao Needle Lookout Trail and made it to the top in about 20ish minutes. There were a few places with stairs, but mostly it was an easy walk up.
The area all around us was beautiful and the views were amazing! Since it’s a rainforest, everything was very lush and green. While it didn’t rain on us at all, it’s the second wettest place in the state. Even coming from Washington, it was still very impressive.
We spent a good 15-20 minutes at the lookout. It was rather windy, but there was a nice covered seating area where we enjoyed a little snack. Our girls are getting older now, but we still kept a close eye on them as they could have easily slipped through the railings.
On our way back down, we stopped down the Ethnobotanical Loop which took us into a botanical garden where we saw taro and other Hawaiian plants growing. The girls loved running around here and it also gave us pretty views of the Iao Needle above and behind us.
Iao Valley is only $5 per car (free for Hawaiian residents) and is well worth stopping for a visit. While we didn’t use them, there are restrooms on site and everything seemed very well-maintained. We really enjoyed that it was a quick, easy walk and a great way to learn more about the local history.