Mahana Ridge Trail

HARD 82 reviews

Mahana Ridge Trail is a 10.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kapalua, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
10.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,591 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

beach

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

over grown

This trail is a moderate 6.4 mile hike. Starting at D.T. Fleming beach, the trail goes along the ridge to the Maunalei Arboretum, where it connects to the Honolua Ridge trail.  Note that the maps say this hike should be 7 miles. For the most part, the trail was easily visible, though it was getting overgrown in a few spots. The hotel provides a free shutlle back to the Kapalua Village Center. However, you must make a reservation at the center to get the shuttle.  The trip down on the shuttle has spectacular views so have your camera ready. More information regarding shuttle service can be found here: https://www.kapaluara.com/docs/ShuttleServiceModifications.pdf

hiking
2 minutes ago

Good exercise trail with some decent elevations. I could do without the road noise but I think this is as good as it gets for a trail of this type on the west side of the island. Bus service no longer available.

1 day ago

Great fitness hike and easy to find trail. Located near DT Fleming beach parking lot. Not a lot of views on the way up. Cool rock steps on trail. Head to beach after hike for refreshing ocean swim and boogie board!

hiking
20 days ago

Great hike and one of my favorites on Maui! You definitely need hiking boots as it gets very muddy. Not extremely difficult from a climbing or elevation standpoint, but the length got to me on my last .25 mile. I made it to the river, but it started pouring rain and thundering. I figured I'd not cross with the risk of getting stranded on the other side. There's many changes of terrain and foliage throughout the hike. My favorite was the whistling pines about halfway up. Definitley a must do hike, but watch for the time. I started at 2:00pm and barely made it out before dark due to the storm and tree cover. Not a trail running trail (too muddy). Enjoy!

hiking
1 month ago

Fun hike with lots to see! We stopped about halfway (about a mile after the reservoir) and still saw pineapples, guava, and passion fruit! Some of the areas higher up were a bit muddy and had a bunch of mosquitoes so bug spray and hiking shoes are recommended.

hiking
1 month ago

Planed on a short hike for an hour or so but ended up completing entire trail. I have determined golf shoes were not the best choice lol!!! Great hike. Took my time. 5.5 hours start to finish. Last mile or two was mud.....not so fun! Will do again with proper shoes.

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

I liked the trail for the diversity it had.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked today with my wife. Our second time in 2 years on this trail. Love it. It was dry today until we got rained on. The rain was inviting as we were sweating from the humidity. Scored on 2 ripe pineapples as we passed through the old pineapple plantation. We will do this one again. Good cardio hike with good views and changing flora

hiking
2 months ago

Started at DT Fleming and we only made it up to reservoir. I agree it was overgrown in parts and pretty challenging but overall a good hike. Lots of different plants to look at and the hike down is easier!!

hiking
2 months ago

Without going into great detail of the sections of the trail it was without doubt a poorly maintained one in spots. The vegetation was overgrown in two spots. The second spot made the trail almost non existent. I thought I was lost. Thank goodness my husband was blazing it ahead of me! The stairlike rocks were challenging, probably the most difficult part of the trail in terms of gaining elevation. The mud was horrendous! I would recommend hiking boots as my sneakers are now ruined. The view at the top was definitely not worth the trip through the mud. The one saving grace is that we found pineapple plants, and some pineapples. Also there was unusual trees and foliage.

2 months ago

We had a great time finding our way to the arboretum, sloshing through the mud and traipsing through overgrown vegetation. It was a lot more fun than it sounds! Based on previous reviews, were prepared for a rough hike. I had full length pants and a full length shirt, and they came in handy. I regretted not also having serious hiking boots. My trail runners were soaked in mud, guava juice, and snail guts by the end of the hike. The full length clothes also helped to protect against the many bugs on the trail. You may consider bringing bug spray.

As has been mentioned, there are a few parts of the trail where it seems like trees and/or overgrown vegetation are blocking the way. For the first obstacle, at the beginning of the hike, we were able to make our way over the fallen trees by staying to the left of the trail and walking over the fallen trees.

The second time, we found overgrown vegetation next to the golf course, immediately after we re-entered the unpaved portion of the trail (the trail passes on the rod for a short portion). So, instead of staying on the trail, we turned back to the paved road and followed it to the right until we got to some building structures on the right side of the road (including restrooms, which are locked, by the way). We got back on the trail right next to the restrooms and followed the trail for a while.

At some point, the trail took us to a beautiful view of the valley and ocean to our left. Then, the trail headed into a dense patch of vegetation on both sides, which is where we reached a third portion of the trail that was overgrown and barely discernible. As we were about to turn around, we noticed that there was a (poorly maintained) ATV road to the right of the trail. It turns out that, once you get to the ATV road, you can follow it to an intersection where, if you hang back left (where the trail is), you can get back to a very beautiful and rewarding portion of the trail. This was my favorite portion. Lush vegetation and a trail that stayed dry even in spite of the rain that was falling around us.

The trail was fully discernible until the arboretum from there on. However, I note that we encountered some extreme mud and prolific spider webs - though we were hiking in the rain so perhaps other hikers would find less mud. And so much fermenting fruit on the ground!

Finally, we reached the arboretum, which we found muddy and poorly maintained. It seems like nature has completely taken over what used to be a well maintained exhibit. There were also many signs and references to a shuttle that was never to come. It felt like we were surrounded by ghosts.

There is at least one port-a-potty at the top, where the shuttles used to be, though we did not try using it.

As has also been said, the incline of the trail does not warrant a “hard” rating. It seems like the difficulty lies in the navigation and mud. I suggest that you download the trail map on All Trails and follow it. It was the saving grace for us whenever we lost our way. And we lost service for most of the hike.

I’m giving it five stars because, for us, the ruggedness and difficulty in navigation was part of the fun.

2 months ago

Follow up for next poster:

We navigated around or through the overgrowth in three locations. We got really lucky and we’re able to find the trail after these points.

1) near the trailhead had to climb over a huge downed tree. It would have been much easier to enter at the paved road crossing just past this point.

2) we also took the cart path to the bathrooms

3) From his description, I think this is where Peter turned back, and we were ready to as well. If this is just past the pine trees, once you hit the overgrowth, there is a parallel 4x4 road to the right of the trail. The road is about 10 ft higher so you need to climb a short hill to get there. Once you get on the 4x4 road, continue parallel to the trail until it forks. At the fork, the trail crosses the road and you are able to re-join the hike. It was clear sailing for us from this point.

hiking
2 months ago

I'm curious to hear more from Chris Olson, poster below me. I read most of the reviews here about the difficulty of tall foliage and inaccessible paths, and can attest to much of it. Lots of potential for this trail but they need to clear the path. There were at least 3 times when I was squatting through the foliage in order to keep eyes on the path. Although I never was, it seems like an easy path to get lost in the overgrowth. I made it past the stepping rocks (to the left of the private property sign), ascended the red clay hill, and hiked through the pine trees. At this point, I had to make judgement calls on whether or not to venture through the overgrowth. There were moments I almost turned around b/c I was unsure where I was going and that's why I ultimately gave up about half way in, according to my AllTrails app. I couldn't see what I was stepping on anymore and there was no clear path ahead. I had been making assumptions based on the overgrowth that I had been stepping on as to whether or not I was heading in the right direction, but I could not do this any longer since I was afraid of falling off 1 side of the ridge. I had to be more cautious than not since I'm unaware of the area. I did achieve some altitude and got scarce beach views, but my views were mostly of the adjacent ridge. I'll upload a few pics that can be used for reference, along with a screenshot of how far I apparently got on the trail. ALSO, the original trail head from Fleming Beach, where entrance is left of the preschool, has a landslide about 300 yrds in, so you need to enter another way. Park at Fleming Beach and ask a lifeguard or the preschool nearby. Both should know. You need to walk past the pre-school. At the end of the Preschool lot is another gravel path past the trees and onto another road. Take a left uphill, and go about 100 ft before turning right back onto the path. You'll see signs and it'll become more obvious at this point. You'll be crossing a couple driveways until you need to make your first right into the trail (overgrowth already obvious) before entering the golf course.. There is a lot of overgrowth at this point. Although the sign advises not to, I'd recommend going onto the golf cart path, take a right, walk down a very steep hill and you'll see a restroom/break station for the golfers at the bottom of the hill. Take a right around that area and you can hop back on the trail. I think is where they originally shuttled you from Kapalua Village, but the shuttle is no longer in service. I've called...

3 months ago

Started at D.T. Fleming park. About 1/4 mile in we came across a wall of vegetation. Stayed left and crossed above the downed tree. From there the trail is reasonably easy to follow, except in a few spots. We snuck off the trail a couple times to avoid serious bushwhacking. About 2/3 of the way up, the trail was very muddy. Overall a good trail, I wouldn’t call it hard, except for some extra mud and trail recognition in a few spots. The trailhead had a sign saying it was 17 miles round trip. I’m not sure I believe that sign, but it felt longer than the 9.9 miles all-trails indicates.

I would call this a moderate hike compared to the 14ers in Colorado. If you are looking for a walk in the woods, this is probably a hard one.

hiking
3 months ago

Unfortunately given the recent storm it is not passable after about a quarter of a mile - but it is very well spoken of, easy to find and seems very do able even in the unpredictable Maui weather

4 months ago

Definitely a hike worth doing if you’re in town. It’s close to civilization, but makes you feel like you’re deep in the jungle! As you keep hiking up you get some pretty nice views of the ocean. Warning, there are some areas of overgrowth (tall foliage) on the trail, which may cause extra fine cuts to arms & legs; I survived. Proper outerwear is recommended, as well as appropriate shoes with good traction -lots of moisture on the ground. We didn’t make it the arboretum because of the confusing signage atop, but will definitely plan to do it again, someday!

hiking
5 months ago

Enjoyed this hike very much. Went up on a day when it was misting or raining for 90% of the hike, but that made it more enjoyable. Trail was a bit hard to follow in a couple of places so keep your eyes on the signs. Was good to have the gps to see when I was off track. Great flora on the way and loved it all.

hiking
6 months ago

The trail is long, but not too strenuous. There are some steep areas but the view at the top is beautiful and so worth it.

6 months ago

We went up 7/9/18. It was partly cloudy with a gentle breeze in the upper section of the trail. I would say it was moderate in difficulty, but it was uphill all the way until we came back of course. Some of the signage for the trail had been blocked by plants so it made it difficult to find the second half of the trail, but we eventually did. If you are wanting many beautiful vistas this is probably not the trail for you. There are some but they are few and far between. If you like walking through a forested area this a great trail. There are many different species of plants and trees to see. You may want to bring some bug spray. There were some biting bugs, but nothing horrible. Overall, I would rate this trail good. It has a wide variety of plants to see that I found interesting to look at. We saw six other hikers on the trail during the 4-5 hours we were there, so it is not a crowded trail.

hiking
6 months ago

Good challenge in 90 degree weather and humidity. Overall nice hike but was expecting a better payoff (views) at the end. The muddy sections sucked, but got a solid workout.

trail running
7 months ago

This trail is not about the beginning or end it’s about everything in between. This is a tremendous hike (run for me) and it seems to have three separate eco systems. The tall grass helps focus and take you away from everyday life Next up is an amazing climb up 182 stone steps and with each step you rise closer to a an awaiting tropical forest. The trail underfoot thus far is dry and stable and well marked. Moving along now you are in lush growth with peek a boo views of a beautiful valley. The plants change from grasses, to pine to bamboo and many other plants. It’s a run where time and distance don’t matter as it’s a journey. Soon the trail turns to a wonderful wet squishy red mud and with each step it’s getting more real. You rise through more deep and dark growth and enter the watershed. From there the mud was above my shoes and the pace slowed but hey it’s fun! I opted to turn right and hit the overlook - wow! I pivoted back and made it out of the each easily 50% faster than going up.

The first day I hiked 3’miles with my teenage daughters and they loved it. It felt like a safari to them and the high grasses became a game.

7 months ago

We didn't do the whole thing because of time. the tall grass was no joke, but wasn't painful or problematic. We parked near the golf course but there were a couple parking lots closer to the trail head that we would have preferred in retrospect (specifically we would have parked close to the beach). The trail was moderate and we were the only ones out there. Would have liked to do the whole thing.

hiking
10 months ago

We did part of this trail, a total of 5.6 miles, in March 2018 using the Kapalua hiking trail system as a start point. We started at the Kapalua parking lot next to the golf course driving range. There’s plenty of parking and the first part descends a hill and you go through either of 2 tunnels that pass under the freeway. You turn left after you exit the tunnels and follow the signs that point to the trail. The trail then follows a road and winds down to a small bridge over a stream. You pass some golf course construction buildings and the winds back up to the Plantation golf course. You cross some roads that are under construction for a new housing development and you come to the edge of the Plantation golf course. The trail generally follows the edge of the Plantation course as you go up the ridge for a half mile or so. The initial portions after crossing the road are heavily overgrown with more than chest high (I’m 5,11”) jungle grass. It feels like you’re in Jurassic Park with the Velociraptors coming for you. As someone else noted there are spider webs you go through so have branch or walking stick ready to sweep them away. After you leave the grassy area, you enter a pine forest and eventually reach a steep stone staircase. In Strava, this portion is timed and called the 182 Stone Steps. A portion of the trail then crosses a steep bare red clay slope with intermittent stepping stones. This portion can be very slippery particularly if it’s wet or raining. I don’t think I would want to cross this in a heavy ran. Parts of the trail from here to the reservoir have very slippery red clay. The trail eventually levels off in a pine forest and you come out into a flat area where there is a large water reservoir and some power lines and a transformer station. At this point we had trouble finding the continuation of the trail and eventually turned around. There are several roads here that we tried but we didn’t spot a trail sign continuing. We had lunch here and turned around partly because heavy showers were forecast. I would probably download the trail map take a gps device next time. Overall a good workout, the foliage limits the ocean views at the level we got to, but some nice views of the valley. We are both fit, do 3-4 half marathons a year and a lot of hiking and trail runnng.

10 months ago

First, if you parked at the park the way to find the trail is to stare at the school and just to the left you will see a small dirt trail and a couple placards. it took a couple attempts to actually find it.

We attempted this trail but gave up about a mile in because we were not adequately prepared for the high grasses (we were wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts).

Lucky for us this trail crosses the village walking paths around an old golf course which we took advantage of.

if you go, prepare for lots of overgrowth.

hiking
10 months ago

We started out early driving from Makena, all day adventure!
The trail is extremely varied from hard dirt to quite muddy, all different zones of plants and trees and quite windy, very nice temperature but be cautious due to falling trees and branches.
Once at the ‘top’ (overlook) there are several options to continue on other trails, which were clearly marked along the way but lacking mile indicators.
We parked at the DT Fleming beach parking lot and thoroughly enjoyed using the restroom and shower to wash our feet and legs at the end of our hike!
Enjoy a forest of all different groves of beautiful cactus, pine trees and all sorts of fauna, including Guava trees and Lilikoi vines.
Take plenty of water and snacks, good shoes or sandals, bandaids for blisters and TP or wipes! I enjoyed phone service the entire hike, just in case.

hiking
11 months ago

Great day hike. Stunning views at the top. Make sure to do the arboretum loop at the top end (there is a posted map with local trails) - it's a short detour with some impressive and unusual species of trees like banyan and NZ kauri. The best part - it was completely desolate. I met a few hikers near the start but after that not a soul for 10 miles or so. It was on a Sunday too and the weather was fair. So, if you need to get away from the touristy areas and be alone in nature this is the trail.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

people over 70, listen up. you need to take hiking sticks! we made it 7.4 miles but each of us fell once. it rains here and the trail is slippery! No ocean views in the 3.7 miles uphill, and no rational person would hike to the Aboretum None of the people half our age made it today!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

low expectations but turned out to be a fun hike. got lost on the way back which was not pleasant. overall enjoyed it.

hiking
Friday, October 06, 2017

Pretty pockets to be sure, but lots of time spent in unattractive stretches including clear-cut sections and golf course maintenance areas. Arboretum was anti-climactic though still interesting. "Hard" rating is accurate for the overall length and heat even though the trail is not steep.

hiking
Monday, October 02, 2017

I started from JT Fleming park. The trail head was fairly obscure and not well marked. If you start here, it is on the same side as the school and just to the east of it and south side of entrance road.
The trail starts uphill, but not super steep. The first mile was not very attractive, and it was very hot and dry, so make sure to take plenty of water. If I were to do it again, I would choose a different starting point, but I didn't know the area, so this was easier.
The trail has a fair amount of elevation gain, but is not too difficult.

Pros: It was close to Napili where I was staying. There is a good variety of scenery...The vegetation changes quite a bit as you progress.

Cons: Not marked well. The trail markers are not too hard to follow, but there are no marked distances to the next spot. So even though GPS is great for total distance and pace, you have no idea just how far it is to the Arboretum that is mentioned. From GPS it looked like I was close to the end of the trail, even though I finally turned around at about 4 miles in and the trail is supposed to be about 10 miles long.
Another con...this isn't really a mountain bike trail. Parts of it could be really nice for mountain biking, but it's mostly more work than it's worth.

I cannot comment about the trail past the four mile mark, but will say just to be prepared with lots of water, snacks and some common sense if you're planning on doing the whole thing.

I did end up jogging most of the way back. I would do this again as a trail run. I think it would be more fun than just hiking. However, I would take a better large volume water pack...my camel back that I normally take mountain biking was not a good fit for trail running, and my small water pack doesn't hold enough to do longer trail runs. Oh yeah, and I'd use bug spray!

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