For those looking to experience a different side of Maui, this hike is for you. If you’re pressed for time or want to hike and bike upcountry on the same day, this trail is just right!
Waihou Spring Trail is just up the road from Makawao in the Waihou Spring Forest Reserve. It is an intermediate level trail that also works as an easy forest stroll if you skip the last part which is a short but steep hike down into a ravine with some interesting caves. Getting back out can be a challenge if you’re out of shape.
The trail is about a mile or so round trip and takes about 1 – 2 hours if you’re not in a hurry. This is a short hike compared to some of the others, yet it will give your body a workout and fill your senses with the sights and sounds of the Waihou Spring Forest. The reserve is bordered by the state-run tree experimentation project, which is nearly 100-years old. This secluded hike features a variety of non-native species of trees such as Eucalyptus and Monterey cypress. Additionally, hikers can listen to native island birds such as bright red honeycreepers singing their song. Even axis deer may be seen occasionally.
Along the trail, an overlook provides some views between branches of the beautiful trees down the slope of Haleakalā towards the valley. A narrow, steep, and rocky trail leads down into Kailua Gulch. This canyon is scattered with boulders and is home to several caves which are actually old water diversion tunnels can also be seen cut into the face of the cliffs that surround you. Waihou Spring can be seen from here also surrounded by large fern and moss-covered stones. The spring even offers a bit of a cool breeze. The spring may be dry depending on the weather. This area of the Kailua Gulch is great for adventure exploring. Heavy canopied forests and open forests are also included along this hiking trail.
Directions to Trailhead: From downtown Paia, hwy 36, turn onto Baldwin Avenue and follow through the town of Makawao. Baldwin Ave. turns into Olinda Road. Stay on this road and follow it for almost five winding miles. Go up the winding road and it will bring you to the trail head of Waihou Spring Forest Reserve. You will also see a sign for the Tree Growth Research Area entrance.
Tip: Bring plenty of drinking water, snacks, camera, comfortable hiking boots or walking shoes, and mosquito repellent.