For our last full day in Maui we picked up our friends Rick and Amanda and headed to the West Maui Forest Reserve to climb the Waihe’e Ridge Trail. The hike starts through a lush green wooded area for about ¾ of a mile. Just before the first mile marker we broke through the trees and quickly saw why this trail is known as one of the most scenic treks on the island
Five-thousand-foot mountains and views of the waves of the north shore are visible on the left, with rocky cliffs, blue sky, and ocean water to the right. Makamakaole Falls is sometimes visible just before the first mile marker, falling in two or more tiers and totaling almost 300 feet in height.
From there the trail climbs up into the clouds along steep switchbacks and knife-edge ridges that the view below is hard to distinguish between sea and sky. The 4 mile round-trip journey gains 1,600 feet of elevation along the way, but it was definitely worth every single step.
On the way back we decided to take the infamous highway 304 for a more scenic route. This challenging road which hugs the rugged northern coast is full of hairpin turns, careens over one-lane bridges and teeters beside treacherous cliffs, but the views are unbelievable. We made a quick pit stop at the Olivine Pools. There’s no sign for the pools, just a small patch of dirt where you park, and a thin trail snaking its way through the pastures that comes to an end at a steep bluff of jagged rocks. We descended down to the oceans edge where the waves thunder on volcanic rock and gather in natural tide pools.
Of course we immediately jumped into the pools. Floating on our backs, soaking up the sun, and listening to the sound of the ocean crashing on rocks just a couple of salty feet away. It was a perfect way to end our amazing vacation.
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WARNING: The Olivine Pools can be dangerous, people have died there and many more injured. If you are planning on going please make yourself aware of the hazards and stay alert to tide and weather conditions.
Before attempting Waihe'e Ridge, please visit ALLTRAILS.COM for hike difficulty, gear requirements, and recent trip reports.