Ready to explore some epic island nature and a unique part of Hawaiian history? The Hoapili Trail in Maui will take you through the vast lava fields underneath the Red Hill Haleakala Mountain peak. This special rocky pathway goes along the stunning Maui coastline and all the way to the Hanamanioa Point Lighthouse. And the best part? There are dozens of wild goats roaming around the Maui trail!
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How the Maui Lava Fields Came to Be
The Maui Lava fields are one of the most unique and best things to experience on the island. They were created by the last known eruption on Maui which is thought to have occurred from the Haleakalā volcano sometime in the 17th century.
Our first thought was were we on Mars or Hawaii still?! Walking through the rocky black Maui lava fields that surround La Perouse Bay truly feels like you’re on another planet!
Getting to the Maui Lava Fields and Hoapili Trail
To get to here you’ll have to rent a car to get around Maui! The Hoapolo trail is about a 30-minute drive from the popular town of Kihei. Along the route, you’ll pass some of Maui’s most luxurious hotels! From there, it will take you on a beautiful winding road along the coast which leads to the parking lot.
Really the only reason to venture to this part of the island is to see the Maui lava fields and walk the Hoapili Trail. However, on the way back to Kihei is the perfect opportunity to stop at Mākena State Park and the white sand beach. Across from the entrance you can even try some of the delicious local food on Maui and grab fish tacos at Jazzy’s food truck!
Hoapili Trail Maui Tips
Parking: Parking is conveniently located at the start of the Hoapili Trail in Maui. Even so, there is not much available so arrive early and be careful driving on the rocky surface.
Wear Shoes: We can not overstate this enough! Wear shoes or hiking boots for the Maui lava fields. You don’t want to do this one in flip-flops.
Essentials: When packing for any day hike bring plenty of water, sunscreen, a bathing suit, and even a snorkel if you’re planning to take a dip! It’s important to note there is also no cell phone service on the trail.
Maui Wildlife: In addition to the wild goats on Maui, keep an out for dolphins and sea turtles along your walk.
Trail Care: Stay on the path for the entirety of the hike to not alter important archeological sites. Also, remember to take any trash with you when you leave.
Seeing the Wild Goats on Maui
We had heard we might meet some furry friends on the Hoapili Trail, but we could have never expected this many wild goats on Maui! Feral goats were first introduced on the Hawaiian islands with the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1778.
Since then they’ve grown in population and used as livestock, and for hunting and farming purposes. The goats you’ll see on the Hoapili Trail roam freely. The goats seemed pretty friendly to us. However, still keep a safe distance and respect them in their natural environment.
We started the trail around 8:30 am and noticed dozens of wild goats in the starting section of the hike (before the Maui lava fields). On the way back around 10 am there were noticeably fewer goats as the trail got more crowded. So if you want to see the most goats try to plan your Maui itinerary to be on the path early!
Walking the Hoapili Trail
The trail is completely flat and more of a walk than a hike. After passing through the trees (where the goats hide from the hot sun) you’ll be walking directly on the Maui lava Fields!
This is where you can see the mountain in the background, and more of the gorgeous coastline. In its entirety, Hoapili Trail Maui took us about 2 hours to complete roundtrip. Still, you could easily spend all afternoon on the part of the island.
Hanamanioa Point Lighthouse
Once you reach the Hanamanioa Point Lighthouse you’re at the end of the Hoapili Trail on Maui! This small light fixture marks one of the most Southern points on the island. As you circle back to the parking lot, take your time going through the forest and beaches. Even think about stopping for a picnic if you have time.
Looking for a longer and more challenging hike? Check out the King’s Highway which starts from the same location as the Hoapili Trail. It’s a 5.5-mile round trip hike that will take you to the remote Kanaio Beach.
Have any questions on Hoapili Trail Maui or want to share your own Maui lava fields experience? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where to Stay in Maui Hawaii
For a complete look at the island check out Where to Stay in Maui: 4 Top Areas With Hotel Picks
Ultra Luxury – Four Seasons Resort Maui – Wailea – Known as one of the most elite hotels on Maui, the Four Seasons has three swimming pools, 5-star service, and is just steps from the beach.
Fun Vacation – Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort – Wailea – This modern, upscale hotel is packed with swimming pools and ocean views.
Bed & Breakfast –Maui What a Wonderful World Bed & Breakfast – Wailea – Get all the local charm you can handle at this unique bed and breakfast. Awesome location that will provide a homey welcome to the island.
Aparthotel – Napili Sunset Beach Front Resort – Lahaina – Great for travelers looking to have a little more space and a kitchen.
Hostel Life – Hakuna Matata Maui Hostel – Lahaina – Walking distance to the town center, this hostel is set in a beautiful garden. Hakuna Matata also offers free bikes and is close to the beach.
Remote Resort – Hana Maui Resort A Destination by Hyatt – Hana – Located in the far remote part of the island along the road to Hana. Amazing resort by Hyatt offering seclusion and luxury.
For more places to stay in Maui you can explore the latest prices here!
Hawaii Travel Planning
Rental Car: Hands down the best way to explore Maui Hawaii is with a rental car! We used Discover Cars to explore the island. Just make sure to book in advance because there are limited cars on the island in the high season!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad (if you’re traveling to Hawaii from outside the USA) without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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