Hoapili Trail Guide: How to Hike Maui’s Lava Field With Wild Goats

Hoapili Trail

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! 

Maui Travel Inspiration

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! 

Maui Lava Fields

How to Get 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 Location 

Drive to Hoapili Trail Maui

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.

Hoapili Trail Parking

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!

Goats on Maui

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.

More Maui Hikes: Don’t miss these 11 amazing hikes & walks on Maui such as the extreme Waihee Ridge Trail, & Pipiwai Trail, or easy Kapalua Coastal Trail & Wailea Beach Walk!

Maui Lava Fields Hike

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.

Hanamanioa Point Lighthouse

Have any questions on Hoapili Trail Maui or want to share your own Maui lava fields experience? Let us know in the comments below! 

Safe Travels, 
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 LuxuryFour Seasons Resort MauiWailea – 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 VacationAndaz Maui at Wailea ResortWailea – This modern, upscale hotel is packed with swimming pools and ocean views. 

Bed & BreakfastMaui What a Wonderful World Bed & BreakfastWailea – 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. 

Remote ResortHana Maui Resort A Destination by HyattHana – 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!


Maui Lava Hike

Hawaii Travel Planning 

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

 Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner. That’s how we got our flight from San Diego to Maui for under $100 USD on Hawaiian Airlines!

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 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! 

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find hundreds of Maui activities. You can book a sunset sail from Lahaina, Road to Hana full day tour, or go wild and take a rainforest helicopter tour

 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.

Maui Hawaii

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  1. Mike
    September 23, 2021 / 11:24 pm

    I did this a few days ago. Went from La Perouse Bay to Kanaio Beach and back. It was about 4.5 miles. Make no mistake that it is NOT all smooth paths along the water. I ran/scrambled the route early in the morning (sunrise) and it took about an hour.

    The more I think about it, I think the article really gives people a non-realistic idea of this hike that could be dangerous. Cell service is spotty at best and at most, it will be only you (and maybe a fisherman) out there. As for the goats, yeah, I saw them. But it isn’t like they just stand there while you pass by. They immediately bolt and run when you get close. For anyone thinking of doing this trail, go to google maps satellite view and look at the terrain before deciding to take the hike. That said, I am glad I did it and Kanaio Beach was fantastic.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      September 24, 2021 / 1:48 pm

      Hey Mike! Are you sure we’re talking about the same trail? This article is just to the lighthouse and back along the coast. You might of done the longer inland trail called Kings Highway? Also weird we passed probably 30 goats and they barely even glanced at us. We didn’t try to get too close to them though and I wouldn’t recommend that with any wild animal!

      The terrain itself is very rocky on the path we did but there were barely any inclines. Just need a sturdy pair of shoes… Saw people doing it in flip-flops which is definitely a bad idea. There are signs about the cell service when you head in but that’s a good point that people should know! Thanks for reading.

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