Tropical jungle and gorgeous valley views await along the popular and moderate Waihe'e Ridge Trail following an elevated spine in the West Maui mountains. From the ridge you’ll enjoy 360 degree views of the valley connecting Maui’s two halves, Maui’s riotous northern coast and undulating mountains that look as though someone took a massive green satiny cloth and draped it loosely with wrinkles and folds over tall hills. Waterfalls stream between the crevices and from several vantages the trail overlooks multi-tiered Makmakaole Falls, which rains down into a small basin from some 250 feet above.
The just under five-mile round-trip hike starts north of Kahului and ascends steeply from the 1,000-foot elevation at the trailhead to its zenith at Lanailili at 2,563 feet. The well-maintained path meanders over jutting tree roots and its sides are dotted with guava trees, ohi'a and tall ferns. Keep an eye out for native forest birds like the bright red 'apapane honeycreeper. At the end a picnic table offers respite overlooking a mist-shrouded valley. The return follows the same route.
The Na Ala Hele sign-marked trailhead is 0.9 miles inland up Maluhia Road. Find Maluhia Road near mile marker 6.9 off Kahekili (Highway 340) by the Boy Scouts’ Camp Maluhia north of Waihee town. Follow the signs through a small pasture before passing through a cattle-proof gate and entering the forest. The gate is open at 7am and closes at 7pm.
Start early (before 8am) for clearer valley vistas—as the day wears on, moisture condenses into cool clouds that shield some views. Wet weather and muddy conditions are not uncommon.