Monday, August 15, 2016

Here's a tree-hugger's trail on Maui with a zillion birds and zero tourists

Maui has the fewest open trails among the Hawaiian Islands, so these hikes on the lower slopes of Haleakala are a find. You can choose several options in the Makawao Forest Reserve on the Kahakapao Loop trail, racking up about 6.5 miles and gaining around 500 feet in elevation.

The reserve is located not far down the mountain from the Maui Bird Conservation Cener, and the native-and-planted forests are full of our chirping, feathered friends. 

Much of the forest doesn't scream "Hawaii," but you will find lush exotics growing in the creases of the slopes.

Makawao Forest Reserve, along with Waihou Springs Forest Reserve, which is not far away, serve up generous portions of  commodities that can be lacking on more popular trails: peace and quiet and solitude.

Norfolk Pines were planted by crews of early European sailing vessels, since their straight trunks make for good masts and spars.


After a long rendevous with nature, head to the nearby town of Makawao (rhymes with "oh wow") for a cold beverage, grilled steak, or veggie wrap. The quaint town is well worth a walk-around. Maui's cowboy heritage will be evident among the shops. Maui Trailblazer has directions to all the trailheads as well as a walking tour of the town.