Friday, March 8, 2013

The magic of Iao Valley

The Needle from the ridge top lookout
If you ever find yourself in Maui, then you have to visit Iao Valley. My first time visiting this place was in August 2012 and I can't wait to go back. There is something magical about this place. You feel a sense of calmness and peacefulness when you walk through here, even thought it is the sight of one of Hawaii's deadliest battle.
The Iao Stream. Locals often swim here
Iao Valley is rich in history. In 1790 it was at the Battle of Kepaniwai that King Kamenhameha I clashed with Maui's army in his attempt to unify the islands. Kamenhameha ultimately defeated Maui's army in bloody battle and thus changing the course of Hawaiian history. 
Paved pathway through the valley. 
Iao Valley State Park is an excellent CHEAP way to explore the island. Parking is only $5 and once you park you are free to walk around at your own pace. Paved pathways take you along streams, through botanical gardens and at times it seems like it is taking you through a lost world. At any minute I was expecting a T-Rex to jump out from the trees.
Took an unpaved path to get a closer look at the stream

I noticed that there are also unpaved trails that require more of a strenuous hike. I ventured down an unpaved trail to get closer to the stream, but because I was by myself I didn't go to far. The unpaved trails go through thick rainforest jungle and one can easily loose there way here, so be careful.
The Needle at Iao Valley
The Needle is the main attraction here. There is a path with many stairs to take you to a lookout right next to the Needle. If you are up for climbing up several stairs then this lookout is definitely worth the trip. Since you are in the mountains it does get a little chilly up there. I would bring a sweatshirt or a rain jacket because you never know when it might rain. I went in the afternoon and a large cloud hung over head the whole time. After returning home from the trip I was told by a local that the morning is the best time to visit the park because of less cloud coverage.
View from The Needle lookout
Click here for more info about Iao Valley State Park