5 Hikes for Runners on Maui

 

 

5 Hikes for Runners on Maui

This list is for those out there who come to Maui, not to (only) lounge and relax, but also to experience her beauty to the fullest and to push themselves a little; those who want to breathe a little more fresh air and feel the island a little more. Here are a few recommendations to the more active community out there:

 

Haleakala's Sliding Sands to Switchbacks (Halemauu) Trail

Map
Location

Summit of Haleakala

Duration

~8 hrs; ~13 miles

Difficulty

4/5

Description

Whether or not you want to try to run this hike, this is a good one for people with endurance. Reaching approximately 13 miles long, starting at Haleakala's summit, you'll head down the Sliding Sands Trail, where each step you essentially slide a few feet. Following this trail you down into Haleakala's crater, through it and by some cabins, which have to be reserved ahead of time, and after about 12 to 13 miles of hiking, out another side of the crater to Hosmer's Grove.

After hiking up either the Supply Trail or Halemauu Trail, you'll end up at Hosmer's Grove, a different location from where you started. Many people drive in two groups, initially leaving a car at this location and then continuing to the summit so that there's a car waiting for when the hike is over. However, it's not uncommon to finish the hike and hitch hike back to the summit, where the hike started.

Hiking this trail is just about the only way you'll experience what Haleakala's crater has to offer. There's nothing up here but nature and it's a great hike to get away from just about everything. Not only that, but the air is crisper and fresher up here, but doing a hike at this elevation will definitely test your endurance.

For this hike, you'll want to be prepared with food and water to get you through the day, as there are no places where you can stop to buy food or snacks. Also, you'll want to wear the proper hiking attire, especially shoes, as this is a hike that is infamous for the blisters it leaves on your feet.

Not for the faint of heart or those who come to Maui to relax on the beach, this hike is a great day hike for those who like to move and who like to immerse themselves in Mother Nature's beauty and wonders.

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Xterra Trails in Kapalua

Map
Location

21.002459, -156.653072

Duration

6.2 miles (10 km);  650 ft elevation change

Difficulty

4/5; very hilly terrain

Description

The Xterra Trails are home to the world championship Xterra Race. There are athletes who use this trail as a training ground for the World Championship Ironman on Big Island and it is no walk in the park. The trail for the Xterra Race spans 10 kilometers, which is approximately 6.21 miles of hilly, backroad trails. It's a beautiful area to go through, but it can also be a grueling run.

For more info on the race, check out this page: http://www.xterraplanet.com/worlds/trail-run/

 

Waiakoa Loop Trail

Map
Location

20.71812,-156.30084

Duration

~3.5 miles; ~2 hrs

Difficulty

3.5/5

Description

This trail is a great one for runners. While it is a little out of the way to get to, the Waiakoa Loop Trail is a beautiful trail that allows you to get away from just about anything except for your thoughts. The trail starts at around a 5000 foot elevation, so the air is a little thinner and your run will be a little more strenuous than normal if you're used to being at a lower elevation. That being said, that will allow for a better focus, as well as a sense of accomplishment once you end your run.

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Makawao Forest

Map
Location

20.832024,-156.2754

Duration

~5 miles; ~2 hrs

Difficulty

3.5/5

Description

Another great hiking spot for runners is the Makawao Forest Reserve. This is a great spot for walking, running and hiking. Also, if you're a mountain biker, you'll like this place too.

The Makawao Forest Reserve is a beautiful wooded area in Makawao on Maui's northern coast, which is just far enough away from everything that you'll feel like you have the place to yourself. While there's no ocean view, you'll still experience the beauty of Maui in here, including Maui's Eucalyptus trees and Cook Pines. Sometimes, it gets misty in here too, but that keeps it a great temperature for you to run or move comfortably, without getting too hot.

There are several biking trails which are rated from beginner to advanced. And if you're running, you'll find trails that will give you a good workout, as there's an elevation gain of around 1000 feet.

Also, dogs are allowed.

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Keanae

Map
Location

20.821542, -156.138199

Duration

Up to 12 miles or more

Difficulty

3.5/5

Description

You can make what you want of this hike: it can either be a long, exploration hike or a quicker stroll through some of Maui's rainforest. That being said, this is a hike that will offer an insight into some of Maui's wetter climate as your explore into Maui's rainforest.

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Other Hikes: Honorable Mentions

Poli Poli
Map
Location

20.678544,-156.329694

Difficulty

3.5/5

Description

Poli Poli has a handful of great hiking spots. Poli Poli is on the side of Haleakala and sits at a higher elevation. Since the air is thinner at higher elevations, hiking around here will be a little more of a challenge. Also, you'll encounter steeper inclines and declines, so it will really put your endurance to the test.

That being said, this area is a beautiful area which can sometimes feel mystical. It's not uncommon for clouds to roll by as you're standing there and the air around here is cooler, crisper and cleaner. 

There are a few different trails that you can take advantage of at Poli Poli, some of which will require you to have a four-wheel drive accessible vehicle to get to the trailheads. You can also get to this general area and probably find yourself in a seemingly untouched and beautiful area just by exploring around. Either way, this is a wonderful area to check out and if you have the free time, is somewhere you should check out.

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Pali Trail
Map
Location

20.8041619,-156.5418723

Duration

~5 miles or ~10 miles in and back; ~4hrs

Difficulty

3.5/5

Description

This hike takes you across lower central Maui, spanning from Maalaea to Ukumehame. This hike is also known as the windmill hike, as it takes you near central Maui's wind turbines.

5 Hikes for Runners on Maui
Wind Turbines Along the Pali Hike on the West Maui Mountains

This hike is a great one to do early in the morning or on a full moon, but if you don't plan ahead, you'll be hiking the five mile hike in the full blast of the sun's rays. There's very little shade on this hike, so make sure to bring enough water, as well as a hat and sunglasses

Also, this hike takes you across the Pali (translated to cliff) in central Maui, so if you don't park a car on the other side, you'll either be hitch hiking back to your starting point or hiking back, but that will jump your 5-mile hike into a 10-mile hike. You may want to plan accordingly.

This hike is fitting for runners just because of the distance it spans. You can run this hike if you want, but there is an elevation gain of approximately 1600 feet and you'll be hiking over rocks and loose boulders during parts of this hike, so make sure you've got the proper footwear and always be careful.

Kaanapali Beach Run
Map
Location

Kaanapali; Kaanapali Beach

Duration

5 miles

Difficulty

3/5

Description

While not really a hike, Kaanapali Beach stretches 5 miles long and, for all those runners out there, is a great, not to mention tiring, way to get in a run. Running on sand utilizes different muscles than running on the road and can be considerably more difficult since the sand moves under your feet. Training on sand is a little like training at altitude and every runner can benefit from the extra difficulty that running on the beach can give.

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Other Things to Consider

Be prepared

When going on longer hikes, it's always good to be prepared. Water is a must and a great way to bring water with you is a water reservoir pack like a CamelBak. Many of these packs also have a little room for other things such as keys, wallets and snacks, although usually the storage space is pretty limited to smaller things. Depending on the hike, you may want to bring some other things too and we've put together a list of Things You May Want to Bring on  a Hike, which you can find here:

https://www.letsgotomaui.net/equipment/things-bring-hike/

Be Safe

Always exercise caution and if you're running or hiking by yourself, let someone else know where you'll be.

Make sure to respect the Land

We all have to do our part to preserve Maui's beauty so that others can experience this incredible place in the future. Always carry out any trash you bring in and if you see some trash lying around while you're out and about, pick it up and pack it out.

Make sure you have proper permission when hiking on private property

 

 

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