Go Guide: Exploring the Adventurous Side(s) of Maui
With Newport sandals on her feet, adventure photographer and longtime KEEN friend Krystle Wright and her crew escaped winter to explore the beaches, waterfalls, whale-filled waters, and jungles of Maui.
"I love winter," she says, "but after a while, the body craves some warmth and a quick trip to Hawaii was incredibly accessible and easy! We heard the island had a diverse landscape and it lived up to its name! From luscious pools tucked away in tranquil rainforests, to jagged lava rock pools by the ocean and then walking through a desert moon-like landscape through the crater."
Krystle returned with a memory card full of images and many warm memories with her friends. Here are some of our faves, plus some KEEN tips for replicating the fun she had.
If You Go: 5 Tips for Finding Adventure in Maui
1. HALEAKALA CRATER VIEWS
One of the magical things about Hawaii is that you can explore so many climates and terrain on a small island. On Maui, Haleakala National Park offers an otherworldly landscape. With a summit of 10,023 feet, it can even snow there. One of our favorite experiences is catching the sunrise from the top. This is easiest to do on your first morning, when you are jet-lagged and find yourself up at 5 a.m. anyway! Just be sure to pack some warm layers for this Hawaiian adventure (and remember that KEEN socks make great mittens!).
2. JUNGLE HIKES
The road to Hana is an adventure into the rainforest of Maui. And, yes, the drive is part of the adventure! We like to take stops and head into the jungle for short hikes, especially if some of our passengers are starting to feel queasy on this incredibly windy road. Once you make it to Hana, Pipiwai Trail is a fave. It cuts through a bamboo forest to two waterfalls, Makahiku Falls and Waimoku Falls.
Pro Tip: Stuff an inflatable in your backpack in case you find a swimming hole.
3. WHALE WATCHING
Just as we humans flock to Maui as a sunny sanctuary, so do Humpback Whales. Every year, thousands of them migrate here in November/December to mate and give birth in the warm, shallow waters. Peak season is mid-January to March, and there are many whale-watching tours. You can often see whales right from the shoreline (bring binoculars!). Our favorite cruise operator is the Pacific Whale Foundation, a non-profit that offers responsible eco-tours.
One of the most surreal moments was sailing out on the ocean and jumping into the water to hear the Humpback Whales sing and talk to each other.
4. PACK A PICNIC
There's plenty of boogie boarding and surfing in Maui. There's also great boogie boarder/surfer watching! When you need some downtime, grab pizza or takeout from a restaurant in Pa'ia and head to the north shore for dinner with a view. If waves are breaking at "Jaws," a spot known for big wave surfing in the winter, go there! Or just find a seat on a Banyan tree.
5. FINDING LAVA ROCK POOLS
The northwest corner of Maui is known for its rocky cliffs, and you can find amazing tide pools and blowholes here. Ohai Trail and Acid War Zone Trail are two great hikes for taking in the landscape.
It's those special moments that remind you to be present and forget any distractions that would typically enter our lives each day.
Planning to head to the other islands of Hawaii? Check out our tips: