Hidden Gems of Maui

Updated on:
December 12, 2017

10/19/2021: If a few of these pages look a little wonky, I'm sorry!  I've just rebuilt the site and have over 300 pages left to go through for final fixes.

What are the hidden gems of Maui, the sights that most tourists never find?

Between the beaches and resorts, Hawaii is the ultimate relaxation vacation. Maui, like the rest of Hawaii is home to the clearest of blue oceans, white sand beaches, and an impressive list of wildlife to be found.

Nicknamed the Valley Isle, Maui is nestled between two mountains — the West Maui Mountains in the west, and the Haleakala Mountain in the east. The space in between is filled with things to see and do. Looking for something a little more off-the-beaten track? Take a look at these hidden gems of Maui.

Bamboo Forest

Hidden Gems of Maui bamboo forestWhile you likely won’t find any giant pandas here (sorry), Maui’s Bamboo Forest is a definite must-see adventure. Jump into the thick groupings of tall bamboo stalks for a hike through the Pipiwai Trail, on the ‘mountain side’ of the island.

Amongst the lush bamboo, you’ll find a 200 foot waterfall, Makahiku Falls, complete with a little swimming hole at the top. The whole journey  takes only about an hour and a half through the bamboo rainforest. Look up to see these hollow shoots shooting up toward the blue skies of Hawaii, but make sure to look around the ground too for the insects and animals you are sure to find.

At the end of the trek, another waterfall, the 400-foot Waimoku Falls, awaits you. You can go on the hike by yourself, but there are also guided tour options if you’d rather go in a group. The hike is perfect for anybody – from non-hikers to expert mountain men, to everyone in between.

Garden of Eden

Hidden Gems of Maui gardenIn the town Haiku sits the Garden of Eden, right off the main road. This small paradise is filled with lush green plants and bright and colorful flora and fauna, all overlooking the blue sea in the distance. The park was even used to film part of the first Jurassic Park movie and is actually an arboretum and is home to over 500 plants.

Sit back for a relaxing day of gorgeous views, learn about plant species and plant life, check out the art gallery, or get some snacks at the arboretum cafe. The garden is also the home to Puohokamoa Falls.

This waterfall has restricted access, but through a guided tour, you can get up close and personal with the rushing waters. Rappel Maui is one tour group that even takes you rappelling down the falls, giving you the adventure of a lifetime.

Makawao Forest Reserve

Hidden Gems of Maui forestGet lost in the trails of the Makawao Forest Reserve. The Kahakapao Loop Trail takes you about five and a half miles into the Eucalyptus-covered forest of Maui.  The treetop canopy gives the path a cool shade while walking — a nice break from the normal Hawaiian sun and heat.

The forest is also home to mountain biking paths, complete with ramps to jump from and everything. The trails range in difficulty, giving everybody from beginners to experts the chance to test out their mountain biking skills in this shaded wonderland.

The View from Leleiwi Lookout Point

Hidden Gems of Maui Haleakala lookoutLooking for one of the best views in Maui? Look no further than Leleiwi Lookout Point. Located in the Haleakala National Park, this overlook is often overlooked. As you head through the park, stop at mile 17.5 on Hwy 378.  There you will find a path leading away from the main road and toward the stunning vista.

The Leleiwi Lookout Point gives you a 360-view of the otherworldly crater and park. The crater is about seven and a half miles long, two and a half miles wide, 3,000 feet deep, and is full of red sand and hills.

If you go on a cloudy day, you’ll get a different view. When the clouds appear over the crater, stare directly away from the sun to catch a glimpse of your shadow outlined by the colors of the rainbow.

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Paako Cove

Hidden Gems of Maui cove and beachOften called the “secret beach” of Maui, this ocean spot is a true hidden gem of the island. Hiding behind a wall of rocks lies the Paako Cove, decorated by the black rocks made from lava, and the vibrant greens of the trees and plants surrounding the sand.

While the beach isn’t the best for swimming or surfing, due to the lava rocks covering pieces of the ocean floor, this secluded paradise is perfect for a picnic in the sand, a relaxing day by the water, or of course, the classic Hawaii beach pictures – without the unwanted appearance of fellow visitors. This spot has even become a go-to destination for Maui weddings.

Mahana Ridge Trail

Hidden Gems of Maui hikingYes, another hiking trail, but this one is reserved for the most adventurous spirit. On the western shore of the island, this trail winds its way through what was once the coffee and pineapple cultivating land of Maui.

The trailhead begins behind the parking lot of D.T. Fleming Beach Park and carries you six miles up to the Maunalei Arboretum. You can expect to find stunning views of the island all around you as you climb the trail. The plant life is also quite incredible, as are the ocean views. The trail is best suited for fit, experienced hikers.

How many of these hidden gems of Maui can you find on your vacation?

Hidden Gems of Maui Infographic

Thinking of planning a trip to Maui?

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