Hoapili Trail South Maui
For a truly adventurous start to the day, grab a headlamp and hiking boots, and drive until you run out of road on the island’s southern coast. The Hoapili Trail is an ancient footpath where lava rocks the color of night hide pockets of soft white sand, and wild goats patrol a shoreline that was formed several centuries ago, the last time Haleakalā erupted and sent molten lava flowing down to the coast.
In addition to likely having the entire trail to yourself, visiting at sunrise gives you an early jump on the hike—which is just what you want, since there isn’t any shade, and the area can be hot at midday.
The trail leads past cultural sites and remnants of ancient fishing villages, and while you can hike here at any time of year, winter provides the best angle for watching the sun rise over the ebony terrain. It’s also the time when the Southern Cross (the constellation known to Hawaiians as Hānaiakamalama) hovers above the southern horizon in the hours just before dawn.
After the morning hike, you can cool off with a dip at Mākena State Park, just a five-minute drive from the trailhead.
DRIVE TIME FROM
West Maui, 1 hour 10 minutes | Wailea, 25 minutes