Sunday, October 8, 2017

Puttin' on the Ritz: A surprisingly wild side of Maui

The six small bays on Maui's northwest coastline were in ancient times the domain of Chief Pi'ilani. These days he would hardly recognize the place, since it is cheek-to-jowl with condominiums and mdi-range resorts for several miles—all the way from the north end of Ka'anapali to Kapalua.

Then, when you least expect it, the coast opens up to the most wild and open hikes on this part of the island, walked by few visitors. From popular Kapalua Beach (above), a coastal trail takes you to the Hawea Point Shoreline Conservation Area and then on to rugged Ironwoods beach.

Just north of Ironwoods (a.k.a. Oneloa Bay), is the fabulous Ritz Carlton Hotel, which is set well back from the shoreline out of respect to the Honokahua Burial Site.  Between Honkahua and the ocean is Makaluapuna Point, a place to view shorebirds, whales (during the winter), and waves doing battle with the reef.

The point is known locally as "Dragons Teeth," due to the long row of sharpened tufts of whitish trachyte—big choppers, four-to-six feet high.

From Dragons Teeth, you drop to the sands of D.T. Flemming Beach Park. Though the main beach for the Ritz, this is a locals' hangout, where the body boards are flying on the weekends and huli huli chicken is smokin' on the grills. 

There are quite a few nooks to call your own on this coast. Maui Trailblazer has the details for independent, active travelers.