Best Runs on Maui
#1 Makawao Forest
Makawao forest is a beautiful trail that will make you think you have been
transported to the Pacific Northwest or New England.
It consists of a leaf and pine needle covered dirt path through
thick forest, which provides shade throughout the run. From the
parking lot, pass through the yellow fence/gate and follow the short
entry trail for 4/10ths of a mile. I recommend heading left to
follow the West Loop as the switchbacks on this side make for
better climbing and the East Loop makes for a faster descent.
Follow the main trail till you get to the highest point where
you will again see “West Loop” and “East Loop” signs.
Continue down on the East loop. Do not go off on smaller
singletracks or on the Fong Trail (unless you want to
explore and add on). The main trail will be obvious,
chances of getting lost are slim.
Length: 4.7 mile loop with a .5 entry section.
One loop = 5.7 miles
Two loops = 10.4 miles
Three loops = 15.1 miles
Elevation: Parking lot is at approx 3000ft, highest point of trail is 3700 feet
Difficulty: Moderate Winding uphills, nothing too steep .
Drive to the center of Makawao, the intersection of Makawao and Baldwin Ave.
Reset your trip odometer here.
Head north towards Haiku.
At 0.3 turn right on Piiholo Rd
At 1.8 turn left onto a road marked with a sign for “Piiholo Ranch”
At 2.3 turn right on Kahakapao Rd
At 3.7 you’ll see a parking lot on your left. Park here.
(note: sometimes the gate is closed on the road to the parking lot.
You can still run here, you’ll just have to add on a few tenths to run to get to the parking lot
and a very steep hill )
Coffee and breakfast at Casanova’s in Makawao, or drive on down to
the many restaurants in Paia.
Description: Polipoli offers a mixture of high elevation vegetation that may remind you
of Colorado, as well as some ocean views and even sight of the Big Island of Hawaii on a clear day.
The surface is a mix of of dirt road and singletrack trail.
Length: 4.7 mile loop with a 2.3 mile entry section.
One loop = 9.3 miles
Two loops = 14.0 miles
Elevation: Parking area is at approx 6400ft, highest point of trail is 7200 feet
Difficulty: Hard. One really tough uphill section. High elevation = lower oxygen.
Drive to Rice Park in Kula (intersection of Kula Highway and Kekaulike Highway)
Exiting the parking lot of Rice Park, turn left, and take an almost immediate right
on Waipoli Road. Drive up this steep uphill road for about 20min until you cannot
drive any further without a 4WD. Park here.
Coffee and breakfast at Casanova’s in Makawao, or drive on down to the many restaurants in Paia.
Description: leaf and pine needle covered dirt path through thick forest.
Length: 0.6 mile loop with 1.1 mile entry section
One loop = 2.8
Two loops = 3.4
Three loops = 4.0
Elevation: approx 3800ft
Difficulty: Easy. No major hills. Tree roots might trip you.
Drive to the center of Makawao, the intersection of Makawao and Baldwin/Olinda Ave.
Reset your trip odometer here.
Head East towards Olinda/Haleakala on Olinda Road
At 12.4miles pull over and park at the trailhead sign
Apres Run: Coffee and breakfast at Casanova’s in Makawao, or drive on down
to the many restaurants in Paia.
Description: This run is all on paved roads, though you can choose to run
on grass next to the road for portions. It will take you through the
manicured golf courses of Wailea, some stunning oceanfront scenery in
Makena, and a moonscape-like lava field from an eruption in the 18th
century. The further south you go, the less vehicle traffic you’ll see.
Length: Out and back, as long as you want it to be
Elevation: Sea Level to 200 feet.
Difficulty: Easy. Rolling hills, but nothing too big.
Run in the early AM, It will be very hot here by midday.
Directions: From Kihei, drive south on South Kihei Rd.
Park at the Shops at Wailea (intersection of Wailea Alanui and
Piilani Highway). Run south.
Apres Run: Coffee at the Honolulu Coffee Company at the
Shops at Wailea or drive on to Kihei and get breakfast at the Kihei Cafe.
Got a favorite trail run you think we should add?
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