Waiʻānapanapa State Park & the Piʻilani Trail

mauihanabeachestrailsSeries: Maui 2021

One of the Black Sand Beaches within the Park Boundaries
One of the Black Sand Beaches within the Park Boundaries

Waiʻānapanapa attracts tourists for two main reasons: its black sand beach and beautiful coastline.

There are other black sand beaches nearby that are free to visit. These other beaches do not require that visitors purchase timed tickets in advance and show ID at the door. (Note, these are COVID-era restrictions, subject to change.)

But, they do not have such beautiful cliffs, such awe-inspiring vistas.

This post contains a large number of images.

And, you will soon see why.


What you get for the cost of admission is access to some beautiful, beautiful coastline with some very pleasant hiking opportunities. A trail runs from the Northwest to the Southeast, effectively giving you two choices of direction.

The hike to the Northwest is more popular, and terminates at the Hana Airport. The hike to the Southeast continues indefinitely, giving you the choice of where to turn around.

I visited the park on two separate mornings (it was very easy to get a ticket for 7AM access -- before the tourists staying outside of Hana could make it.) One day was sunnier, the other much hazier.

Volcanic rock is sharp. Fortunately, this area is pretty well worn and it's easy to stick to the less sharp areas.

Trail Information
Name Ke Ala Loa O Maui / Pi'ilani Trail
Type dual point-to-point
Location Waiʻānapanapa State Park
State HI
Country USA
Miles 4
Check out the trails index for information on more trails!
Day1
A stone arch!
A stone arch!
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I believe the smooth river stones here show that this trail section was once part of the Alaloa Kihapiilani, or the King's Highway, an ancient walking route stretching along Maui's coast.
I believe the smooth river stones here show that this trail section was once part of the Alaloa Kihapiilani, or the King's Highway, an ancient walking route stretching along Maui's coast.
Day2
There are a few cemeteries within the park's area. Those near the Visitor's Center are generally surrounded by fences and signs requesting tourists to keep out and show respect. This is a tombstone from a smaller cemetary off of the southeast trail section, which has a really beautiful tombstone.
There are a few cemeteries within the park's area. Those near the Visitor's Center are generally surrounded by fences and signs requesting tourists to keep out and show respect. This is a tombstone from a smaller cemetary off of the southeast trail section, which has a really beautiful tombstone.
A cheeky cardinal, near the park's picnic areas.
A cheeky cardinal, near the park's picnic areas.
The main birds I enjoyed observing were the Noio, or Hawaiian Black Noddy.
The main birds I enjoyed observing were the Noio, or Hawaiian Black Noddy.
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Hikers returning from the more popular Northwest hike, shot from the other side of the cliff.
Hikers returning from the more popular Northwest hike, shot from the other side of the cliff.
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