Description - Maui is comprised of 122 square miles of land that began with two volcanic
mountains. The island can be separated into eastern and western regions.
The eastern side of Maui encompasses the younger and loftier range of
mountains on the island. This range includes Mt. Hanakauhi, 8,907 feet, Puu
Ulaula, 10,023 feet and Mt. Kanahau, 8,653 feet. These volcanic peaks lie
dormant, but not yet extinct, as the latest eruption in this range occurred in
Copyright: Marshall Hall-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Windsurfing Kahei Bay
The eastern portion of the island is the least populated and
contains five state forest reserves and one national park. The southern shore
of eastern Maui can be accessed by the Piilani Highway, a rough road that
may be closed due to heavy rainfall. Gas and services are not available along
the Piilani Highway. Hana lies at the northeastern end of the road and Keokea
lies at the southwestern end of the road.
Upcountry Maui lies north
of Keokea. Within this region lies the agricultural lands of the island. This
highland area contains the entrance to the western portion of Haleakala
National Park and Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area. The Kula and
Haleakala Highways provide access to the Upcountry.
shore of east Maui is formed by a rugged and scenic shoreline. Many beaches
and parks line the shore and provide access to year-round water sports. The
Hana Highway provides a long scenic drive through the small communities
that line the windward coast of the island. Historic sites, hiking trails and
wayside lookouts line the Hana Highway and provide recreation opportunities
along the route.
Moving westward along the Hana Highway visitors
will reach the isthmus that connects east and west Maui. The northern shore
of this land strip supports the largest communities on the island: Kahului
and Wailuku. Between the two is Kahului Harbor, which is the main economic
port of the island. The southern portion of the isthmus harbors Maalaea,
where the winds are constant throughout the year and provide excellent
The western Maui shoreline is heavily
populated and highly developed, with the northern shore as the exception.
The Honoapiilani Highway leads along the coast of western Maui from Kahului
south to Kapalua. The beaches and waters from Maalaea west to Lahaina
provide excellent opportunities for whale watching during the winter months.
The largest community in this region is Lahaina, which was the capital of the
islands until 1845. The community was also a whaling port during the mid
nineteenth century. Historical sites and museums abound through out this
The northwestern shore of the island is mostly rural with
several beach parks. Fleming Beach Park north of Kapalua provides excellent
year-round swimming and snorkeling with public facilities. Famous
Slaughterhouse Beach lies within this region and provides a long beach and
two bays for swimming, body surfing and snorkeling. The interior of western
Maui is public land protected as the West Maui Forest Reserve.
- Haleakala National Park has two sections. The summit area is a barren
moonscape reached by switchbacking up the northwestern flank of the
volcano on Highway 378. The unique silverswords are found here and trails
drop down onto the floor of the crater. The Kipahulu area is a lush tropical
paradise on the eastern flank of the volcano at sea level and features fresh
water pools and a spectacular waterfall.
The road to Hana is a major driving attraction on the windward shore of
the island. Allow plenthy of time as this windy road goes through spectacular
Iao State Park features a volcanic needle that rises 1200 feet above the
valley floor. It is also the site where Kamehameha I's forces conquered Maui's
army in an effort to unite the islands in 1790.
Maui's renown beaches allow one to escape the pressure of life in the
21st century. For the more actively inclined, Maui offers world class wind
surfing, kite boarding, surfing and scuba diving.
Recreation - Maui is known for it's excellent windsurfing conditions throughout the year
with instruction and equipment rentals for all abilties available on the
northern coast. The western beaches usually experience
calm waters for swimming, sea kayaking and general water play. Outfitters
provide transportation for diving and snorkeling to Molokini, a
submerged volcanic crater, and Lanai, a small island surrounded by coral
reef. Whale watching excursions leave ports in west Maui during the
height of the migration between January and March. Surfing
conditions are best between November and March. Lessons and good waves
are available throughout the year.
Hiking and backpacking opportunities abound in
Haleakala National Park, Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area and other parks
within east Maui. Many ranchers in East Maui outfit horseback riding
excursions. Reservations are recommended for these outings, which can last
for a few hours or several days.
Climate - The climate is pleasantly mild on Maui throughout the year. Temperatures vary annually between 60 and 90 degrees F. Summer temperatures range from 68 to 82 degrees F with the water usually near 80 degrees. Winter temperatures vary from 61 to 80 degrees F with the water temperature close to 77 degrees. More rainfall occurs during the winter than other seasons of the year and most of it falls on the northeastern or windward portion of the island. Temperatures on this island vary more with elevation than seasons. Expect temperatures to drop four degrees F for every 1,000 feet gained in elevation.
Maui is the second largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago and lies
northwest of the Big Island and southeast of Molokai. The protected island of
Kaho‘olawe and the submerged crater of Molokini lie to the south of Maui.
The island of Lanai lies to the east.