Hiking Difficulty: Moderate
GPS: Hoapili Trail, Le Perouse, Makena, HI 96790
The “King’s Trail” (or also commonly known as “King’s Highway” or Hoapili Trail) was a footpath built in pre-contact Hawai’i for the Ali’i (royalty) and Royal Messengers – primarily so that the king could survey his lands. King’s Trail traverses the last lava flow on Maui, in 1790, and rewards its hikers with ancient cultural sites and beautiful natural pools. The trail features great views of Mt. Haleakala and of the neighboring Kahoolawe island. Much of the original trail has disappeared over the hundreds of years, but some fragments remain and have been restored.
Some historians believe the King’s Trail circumscribed the entire island of Maui, while others say it may have covered half that coastal distance. Believed to have been begun by King Kahekili, it was completed around 1550 by King Pi’ilani.
Today a section of this highway can be hiked at Le Perouse Bay in South Maui. The hike is easy to access with a sturdy car and makes for a great early morning hike before the heat of the day begins; as even in winter months this area gets incredibly hot and dehydration and sunstroke are real dangers. Hiking boots and/or sneakers are a must on this rough terrain where loose lava can make the walk challenging. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks.
Ps. Please be aware there is limited toilet facilities (a portable at the entrance of Le Perouse) and no services for food or drink nearby. So come prepared and as always please kokua and make sure to not leave any trash behind. Mahalo!
Driving Directions: The Hoapili Trail is located near La Perouse Bay in South Maui. To get here, you'll need to take Makena Road all the way until it ends at La Perouse Bay and park there. The actual trail head starts at the far south end of the bay so you'll have to follow the coastline south