Saturday, March 28, 2015

Maui: Iao Valley State Park and Iao Needle

The Road to Hana is probably the best known part of Maui for being lush and green. However, Iao Valley State Park is very lush and green and is more easily accessible than the Road to Hana. Iao Valley State Park and its most recognized feature, the Iao Needle, can be seen in a matter of minutes, but offers additional interesting scenery that can warrant a little longer stay.

Iao Valley State Park features the Iao Needle, Iao stream, multiple and relatively easy small hiking trails, and lots and lots of green. The potential setting of mist and clouds in the vicinity add to the visually stunning scenery and make for many photographic opportunities.

As of this writing, Iao Valley is the #4 attraction on Maui according to TripAdvisor.

The parking lot is decently sized, but not enormous. Fortunately, the park can be covered in as little as half of an hour and, for most people, probably in not more than a couple hours, so parking spots should open up frequently as needed.

The next image shows the parking lot (and restrooms) from one of the short trails.

The short trail to the Iao Needle gets most of the attention, but there is another short trail that breaks off this trail and rejoins it later that has quite different sights to see. The next series of images show looking over the mini valley that break-off trail goes into and some of the vegetation and scenery down in that area.

The Iao Valley is lush and green because there's water everywhere. The air is humid and there are numerous streams and mini-waterfalls.

Iao Valley State Park offers the Iao Needle and numerous other visual delights. The whole thing can be seen briefly in less than an hour and more comprehensively within two hours. It's easily accessible from Kahului Airport (OGG) and some of the more popular lodging areas in Maui (5 miles/15 minute drive from Kahului and 15 miles/25 minute drive from Kihei). We enjoyed Snow Ice at Snow Factory in Wailuku after seeing Iao Valley and the Iao Needle.

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