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Kaupo Trail [CLOSED] is a 12 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Kula, Maui, Hawaii that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 12.0 miles Elevation Gain: 5,482 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

views

wildlife

rocky

scramble

closed

no dogs

It has been reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information.

hiking
5 months ago

The concept of this trail is excellent - hiking to the ocean! However the lower 5 miles is a combo of paved and horrible rocky dirt road. We did the hike down from Paliku cabin. Enjoyed the first 5 miles, the second 5 miles was pure torture. Due to repetitive concussive motion I could literally feel by big toenails lifting up as I hiked. They were swollen, bruised with blisters under the nails making me unable to wear shoes for over a week. And I am and avid trail runner and recently ran a marathon on the Pacific Crest Trail. I would not recommend hiking this trail going down unless you have recent experience hiking down over 5,000 feet at a time and are confident in your shoe choice. After reading other reviews I had gone with hiking boots, but now wish I had stuck with my running shoes. I am currently losing my two big toenails. The trail is also difficult to navigate in places. If you are going down you have to pass through two unmarked gates on private property around mile 5. Around mile 7.5 there is fence you must hop in the sawgrass - this is marked with footholds though. Do not climb any other unmarked fences or you may get mauled by Great Pyrenees dogs guarding sheep - this almost happened to someone in our group. To get from the dirt road to the paved road around mile 8.5 you must hop one final fence. I will post pics to try to help. There is also an extremely overgrown half mile of sawgrass where you could get lost for a very long time. The trail signs are barely visible. I recommend focusing on your feet and following where the ground is packed down, “swimming” with your arms to part the. sawgrass. All in all this trail was a once in a lifetime adventure. I would never do it again.

hiking
over grown
private property
6 months ago

My knees and ankles are dead. Don’t do this trail. Trust me. I said, trust me. Also, read Hayley’s review below. It’s spot on.

off trail
over grown
private property
rocky
scramble
Mon May 27 2019

Of all the trails on Haleakala, I would NOT recommend this one. The views are not worth the ankle-busting "trail". There are much nicer views on much nicer routes. We hiked the Kaupo Gap from Paliku (descending) and it was an unexpected adventure. The section of the trail maintained by the park service is great, but things get tricky shortly after entering the private land area. The trail is not well marked at this point and you have to exit a completely unmarked gate to continue on the trail. The remaining 3ish miles of trail are mostly loose rock ATV trail at a sharp decline. This terrain is extremely difficult to navigate and is worse without poles. The signs said it should have been 5.5-6 miles from Paliku, but it took us 8 miles, plus 2 additional miles walking on a private road to get to the main road. If you don't take my advice and do this trail anyway, take shoes with ankle support, hiking poles, and check your GPS very often in the lower half.

hiking
Tue Nov 13 2018

Be extremely careful if you decide to do this hike. The park service no longer maintains the trail for the first 7 miles. We went with 7 people and lost the trail in the middle for 6 hours. If you lose the trail for any amount of time, we would recommend back tracking right away. The hike to the crater is the shorter distance and after getting lost, it was sunset when we reached the crater. At that point, we had 10 miles to go. We didn’t make it out of the crater until almost midnight and we were lucky things didn’t go even worse. Please be very careful and if at all possible bring someone who has done this hike before. Pack for all possibilities. It gets very cold after dark and rains a lot. Call the ranger service for up to date information about the trails maintenance before deciding to do this hike.

hiking
Wed Mar 21 2018

The first mile or so is extremely overgrown; however, it’s not that hard to follow the “trail.” See pictures I am posting for examples of how overgrown it is. After the first few miles the trail becomes a lot easier to follow. Wear good shoes with ankle support. Trekking poles are helpful for both going up and coming down. Microspikes are not necessary. Bring plenty of water (I drank 3L going up and refilled at Paliku). You will need to treat or filter the water. The weather can change quickly (and you are ascending nearly 6k feet) so be prepared for everything from a hot exposed climb to rainy cold weather. There is nothing really dangerous about the hike in terms of steep drop offs, etc. there are maybe only 2 or 3 places that are even remotely large drop offs but the trail is quite wide there.

Sun Mar 26 2017

This is quite the adventure. The trail is not very obvious you must be observant of flags along branches. Had so much fun finding clues and tracking through varied wildlife!

hiking
Fri Mar 02 2012

Best way is to climb up. Very tough on the knees and feet if descending. Steepest at bottom. After initial ascent through Kaupo Ranch land, trail enters Nat'l Park and travels through some of the last native, virgin forest. Giant Koa and Ohia trees, endangered bird species. Bring plenty of water, none available on trail until the top.

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
Thu May 09 2019

recorded Kaupo Gap

hiking
Sat Sep 08 2018

Thu Mar 23 2017