Iao Valley reopened on August 5th following an almost year long closure resulting from the devastating floods that occurred in September 2016. At that time, the heavy rains and flash flooding caused substantive damage to the park, washing away trails, eroding roads and even changing the course of the Iao Stream. The almost $2million repair project remains ongoing but additional permit approval is required. While the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) awaits the permits it has reopened the park. It appears likely that the park may close again in the fall or at a minimum be back under construction.
Now is a great time to visit – or revisit – this gorgeous area!
The Iao valley was sacred to the Hawaiians and was forbidden to all but Hawaiian royalty; indeed Hawaiian chiefs were buried in this valley. In 1790 King Kamehameha I, fighting to unite the Hawaiian islands, defeated the Maui army here at the Battle of Kepaniwai.
This valley is the second wettest place in Hawai’i – the summit receives an average of over an inch of rain a day. The Iao needle is a 1200 foot high peak that is viewable from the easy to reach observation deck. There is an abundance of tropical flora to be seen and an exhibition area designed to show what the valley was like before contact with westerners. There are small pools and the stream that many like to wade or swim in. For those more adventurous there are other trails that lead further in and up the valley.
As with hiking in any natural area, be sure to review the weather forecast before you go – flash floods are a hazard here – and bring adequate water and sunscreen with you. Enjoy!
As a part-time resident and long time visitor to Maui, if there’s one piece of advice I’d offer to someone packing for a vacation to Maui it would be to pack lightly. One of the most wonderful things about Maui is how laid back it is. One can go into virtually any restaurant and store dressed very casually. Indeed, throwing a cover up on over your swim suit makes you virtually dressed up! The weather is also on the whole very consistent meaning that a couple tshirts, shorts, swimsuits and perhaps a sweatshirt and/or sweatpants if you tend to get chilly is about all you need. Staying in a condo like ours that has a washer and dryer eliminates the need to drag along excess clothes.
Should you want to dress up for a nice dinner, guys can get away with a hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts while a woman would be considered dressed up in a nice sundress. 99% of the time here I wear flip flops, saving athletic shoes for situations like hiking, running or going to the gym. A lightweight rain jacket is handy for the occasional showers you may encounter.
Be sure to bring your sunglasses and a hat; sunscreen is an essential item but can easily be purchased here. I’d also suggest bringing a bag to use as a beach bag – definitely going to be carrying sunscreen and water with you to the beach.
Save yourself the checked baggage fees – or if you must bring a big bag, keep it mostly empty and load up on the souvenirs!
For many people, Maui is the ultimate trip to paradise. Readers of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine have voted Maui as the Best Island in the World for 20 years. In Hawaiian, Maui no ka ‘oi means “Maui is the best” and, once you visit, we think you will agree. From the pristine, white beaches to the towering peak of Haleakala, the scenery is unparalleled.
So, when to visit? Many visitors are traveling with children and thus working around school vacation schedules. This often seemed to our family to translate to traveling with everyone else and paying the highest prices! Luckily, in Maui, some of the “low” season prices occur during school vacation schedules. While there are variations in what time periods comprise both “high” and “low” seasons, generally “high” season runs from mid December to the end of April with peak rates around the holidays.
Another factor to consider is the weather, but the year-round temperature doesn’t vary much. The average daytime high in summer is 85F while in winter the average daytime high is 78F. Nighttime temperatures are generally 10 degrees cooler. Of course, where you are on the island matters – the “dry” side or the “wet” side. The western side of Maui is the leeward side; with the protection from the wind, this side of the island is generally hot and dry. The eastern, or windward, side of Maui receives the full force of the wind and is usually cool and moist – if not rainy. The wonderful thing about Maui is that these areas are not far apart – generally folks stay on the western side where the world-famous beaches and resort areas are and travel to the east side to experience the lush rainforest, including the infamous Road to Hana and the bamboo forest.
Another huge consideration of when to visit is the opportunity to view humpback whales. These amazing creatures migrate from the Alaskan waters each winter to mate and give birth in the warm Hawaiian waters, with the waters off Maui’s western side being the best location in all of Hawaii to view these whales. During the winter, these whales may be seen from shore with the best shore views being from the southern and western sections of Maui, including the towns of Makena, Wailea, Kihei, Ma’alaea, Lahaina and Ka’anapali. Additionally, whale watch tour opportunities abound with many tours leaving out of Ma’alaea and Lahaina. The humpbacks begin arriving in late September or October and are generally gone by the end of May with the peak season being February and March.
Whenever you choose to visit, we know you will have an amazing experience and generate memories to last a lifetime.