The Waihee Ridge Trail is known as one of the best hikes on Maui! We discovered this epic hike when we were searching for something that would take us up into Maui’s beautiful mountains. From how to get the prized parking spot to what to pack and tips for the trail, we’ve got all you need to know. So if you’re looking for an epic hike in paradise then join us on the Maui Ridge Trail!
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Waihee Ridge Trail Maui Guide
Location: Kahekili Hwy, Wailuku, HI, 96793
Park Hours: Gates Open 7am-7pm Daily
Distance: 4.5 Miles Round Trip (From Upper Parking Lot)
Time Needed: 3 Hours with Rests and Photo Stops
Difficulty: Advanced – Steep with Slippery Trails After Rain
Waihee Ridge Trail Parking
There is one very important thing to know before starting the Maui Ridge Trail hike! The parking here can be a little tricky.
There are two lots available, but it depends on what time you get there that determines your spot. The best place to park is the main upper lot at the start of the trail. There is also a lower lot about one mile down the winding road from the trailhead.
Upper and Lower Lots
We arrived when the gates opened at 7:00am and there was ALREADY a line of 10+ cars waiting to get in. By the time we parked our car and started the hike the parking lot was almost full. To avoid any parking issues we strongly urge you to get there right when the gates open at 7am!
If you arrive at Maihee Ridge Trail in Maui and there are no spots in the upper parking lot be ready for a steep climb uphill. The hike is one mile up the paved road and adds quite a bit of time to your day.
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Starting the Waihee Ridge Trail
Okay, you’ve made it to the start! The Maui Waihee Ridge Trail begins with a steep climb which will be a preview of the elevation you’re about to conquer.
While the entire hike isn’t very long, it is steep. So a good degree of fitness is needed! You’ll hike through a beautiful forest that leads out onto the ridge of the Maui mountain.
In addition to getting a parking spot, you should plan to start the trail as early as possible to avoid the heat of the afternoon. Also, the weather in the mountains can be so unpredictable and clouds will roll in and out. Don’t give up if you don’t have a clear view right away!
Looking for more hikes on the island? Check out these 11 Best Hikes and Walking Trails on Maui! Including our favorite the Pipiwai Trail, and easy Hoapili Trail, Wailea Beach Walk, & Kapalua Coastal Trail.
Hiking the Maui Waihee Ridge Trail
Even with the incredible summit and beginning, the middle section of the trail was hands down our favorite. The views are amazing as you see the ocean and deep valleys from both sides of the Waihee Ridge Trail.
Take your time with the climb and get all the photos you can! This is not a hike to wait for “the way back down” to enjoy the view. The weather can change so fast that it may be completely clear on top, yet covered in clouds on the return.
We may have not had a sunny and clear Maui day ourselves. Yet, watching the clouds change as we hiked the Waihee Ridge Trail was spectacular and made our whole experience so unique.
Final Climb into the Clouds
By the time you get towards the peak, you’ll already be feeling the burn! As we mentioned, the trail is steep and quite challenging. It’s a mixture of dirt paths and man-made wooden stairs that flow steadily up the ridge. After the 2.5+ mile incline, you will surely have earned a break.
When we reached the top of the trail the clouds had almost completely covered the view. Also, the trail was quite muddy and slippery at the peak so watch your step! We grabbed a seat and ate a snack as the view transformed before us, and the ocean slowly peaked out.
Hike Back Down the Waihee Ridge Trail
Waihee Ridge Trail Maui is an in-and-out hike meaning that you will be returning the same way you came. About halfway down we noticed a huge increase in people heading up the trail. It’s easy to see why the hike is so popular, and yet just another reason to start early.
We completed the hike in about 2.5 hours but saw people doing it much faster. We definitely took our time and made lots of photo stops on the Maui Ridge Trail. This hike is so gorgeous and it isn’t one you want to rush. Plan for at least three hours on the trail when starting from the upper lot!
Have any questions about the Maui Waihee Ridge Trail or want to share your own favorite hike in Hawaii? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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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
Best Of Maui: 20 Fun Facts – Best Beaches – 25 Things to Do – Farmers Markets – Road to Hana Stops
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.
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!
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Not avid hikers, my wife and I are (at 65 and 74, respectively) avid walkers: we frequently walk 2-4 miles in residential areas. So, several questions: we don’t own backpacks-where in Kihei area would you recommend we purchase some and what exactly; what gear, food and water would you take in the backpacks; should we wear our normal jogging shoes or hiking shoes; is there a charge at the parking areas for the trails?
Hi Fred and Jan,
Thanks for reaching out. To start out, we should probably say the trail is very steep. There are plenty of other amazing hikes and coastal paths that might be more enjoyable for you. If you plan to do the Waihee Ridge Trail definitely wear hiking shoes, bring plenty of snacks and water, and prepare for a steep climb!
We brought 2 big water bottles, a bunch of fruit from the farm stands, and sandwiches which we ate at the top with a view. There is no charge to park but as the article says, if you’re not at the top lot when it opens at 7am you’ll to park at the bottom and hike an extra hour each way.
Sorry but we’re not sure where to buy a backpack. However, in the main town of Kahului, there’s a Target and Walmart which should have anything you need. Hope this helps! Here are a few more trails to check out while you’re on Maui: