Waihee Ridge Trail – Maui’s most underrated hike
There are a lot of great Maui hikes. While visiting you can explore rainforests, discover waterfalls, and even see the power of the ocean on display in various blowholes. Even amongst stiff competition, The Waihee Ridge Trail Maui offers is my absolute favorite.
This hike takes you across the ridgeline at the top of a mountain where you have gorgeous views down to the ocean on either side. Even though the entire hike is 4.4 miles out and back, you don’t have to go that far to get an incredible experience.
Even if you only want to go 1 mile out and back you will still get to experience some of the breathtaking ridgeline views!
- Waihee Ridge Trail – Maui's most underrated hike
- Waihe’e Ridge Trail Details
- Planning for the Waihe’e Ridge Trail
- The Payoff
- What to Pack for Maui
- Planning a trip to Maui? Here are our best MAUI BLOG POSTS:
Waihe’e Ridge Trail Details
- Distance – 4 miles out and back
- Duration – 2.5 hours average to complete
- Difficulty – Moderate (Basically all uphill)
- Elevation gain – 1,610 ft
- Open from – 7am to 7pm
- Bathrooms – Porta potty in the parking lot
Planning for the Waihe’e Ridge Trail
I truly don’t understand why this hike isn’t more popular. The experience of traversing the top of a mountain with awesome views down to the Pacific Ocean on either side really was powerful.
The Waihe’e Ridge Trail Length
If you go all the way up and back the trail is 4.4 miles. I’ve seen it listed as 5 miles total, but while measuring on my watch I almost exactly 4.4 miles.
The entire hike often gets rated as moderately difficult, but once again you don’t have to do the entire thing to get an amazing payoff. There is a pretty intense elevation gain going all the way up though. You will ascend approximately 2,000 feet.
Waihee Trailhead Location
I think the location of this trail is a huge contributor to it not being more popular. It is located northwest of the airport on the Kahekili Highway, which sometimes gets called the “other Hana Highway.” Note – this highway leads the exact opposite direction of Hana.
If you leave the airport and head northwest you will get to the trailhead in about 30 minutes. The problem is that the trailhead isn’t very close to many of the resort areas.
Even though it may seem like a simple drive around the top of the island to get to the most popular resort areas like Kaanapali, it isn’t quite that simple. The road that way has many switchbacks along a mountain cliff. The drive is gorgeous, but it will take about an hour and a half. The fastest way to get to the Kaanapali resort area is to go back towards the airport and then across the middle of the island.
Waihe’e Ridge Trail Weather
The Waihee Trail is on the “windward” side of the island. This means that it is the side of the island that generally gets much more of a breeze than the other side, which ultimately makes it even more lush and green.
The negative associated with the Waihee Ridge Trail weather is that the wind can also blow in clouds more often, which can create some dense fog along the way.
If you run into fog about a mile up you could lose the exquisite views. I would still find the trail fun and challenging, but I understand that it wouldn’t quite be the same without.
Beware of Mud
Like many of the trails in Hawaii If it has recently rained a lot the trail will become quite muddy (don’t wear your new Yeezys). This can make things especially difficult because there is such an intense elevation gain required (about 2,000 feet).
With tons of rain the mud steps along the way could get quite difficult to navigate.
Parking – Don’t Jump Into The First Lot
When you turn off of the main Kahekili highway you will see a sign that says “Waihee Ridge Trail” and a parking lot. Don’t park here! It’s not that this is a bad parking lot, it’s just not actually located at the trailhead.
Drive beyond the first lot and up the road .9 miles. You will see another parking lot and the actual trailhead. While this trail isn’t as popular as a number of others, it still can get pretty popular and the lot may fill up.
Note – I was there on Friday at 12:30 pm and I didn’t have any trouble finding parking.
Even with the risks associated with a foggy day, muddy trail, and limited parking I still think this hike is worth it. I couldn’t help but stop and take pictures every two minutes.
It was a great workout, but not too difficult. Even if you do get tired there are benches situated at various lookout points along the way.
The Waihee Ridge Trail is a perfect combination of exquisite views and a challenging but not insane workout!
What to Pack for Maui
- Quick Dry Travel Towel – This quick dry towel is amazing to travel with. It really will come in handy when you need extra room in your suitcase.
- Snorkeling gear – for obvious reasons.
- Hiking boots – I have two pairs of hiking boots that I love. My Columbia waterproof boots and my Salomon hiking boots. Highly recommend checking them both out!
- Sandals – LOVE these Teva’s! They are my new go to travel sandal. Shop my favorite Teva’s here. They are great to wear in the water snorkeling and also amazing for hiking in Hawaii.
- Dresses for Hawaii – Packing a few good dresses is essential for Hawaii. Dresses have become my go to on trips to help quickly put an outfit together. Revolve is one of my go to shops for beach dresses. ASOS also has great summer dresses.
- Shorts – Anyone who is traveling to Hawaii needs a good pair of shorts. Khakis are great for guys. For women, cute athletic shorts or denim shorts are perfect for a breezy summertime look. These Levi denim shorts are my current favorites! These high waisted athletic shorts have gone viral on instagram and for good reason, they are AMAZING.
- Sports bra – This SKIMS bra is the most comfortable sports bra you will ever wear! Trust me. I travel with 5 of them. Also, highly recommend checking out the SKIMS fits everybody bra is to die for as well.
- Agolde 90’s jeans – I actually can’t remember the last trip I have been on where I haven’t brought these Agolde jeans. I have them in multiple colors and sizes. Check out my full review here.
- Tank tops – Free people is my go to place to buy cute and affordable tank tops. I have this tighten up tank in almost every color.
- Hat – essential. Shop the newest hats at Nordstrom.
- Beach cover-up – Having at least one good cover-up is essential on any beach trip. I recommend ASOS, Nordstrom and Revolve as well.
- Tennis Shoes – I guess you could wear sandals hiking the trails in Maui but I would recommend tennis shoes or hiking boots. It can get narrow and slippery in parts. These New Balance shoes are amazing. Only problem is they sell out so fast! Blah. They look so cute with shorts too!
- Packing cubes – I always go to Urban Outfitters for my packing cubes. They have the cutest ones!
Planning a trip to Maui? Here are our best MAUI BLOG POSTS:
My husband and I have been to Maui a couple times and have written up more blog posts to help you plan your trip. These are my most popular blog posts and Hawaii travel guides to help you plan your trip. I hope it helps!
Maui general trip planning
- Guide to Visiting the Red Sand Beach– One of the best beaches in Maui!
- Hookipa Beach – (Best beach to see turtles in Maui)
- Makena Beach/Big Beach (One of my favorite beaches in Maui)
- Little Beach (also known as Oneloa Beach) – WARNING – nude beach.
- Oneuli Beach – Black sand beach
- Maluaka Beach – all around great beach
- Slaughterhouse Beach – (AKA Mokuleia Bay)
- La Perouse Beach (Bay) – great snorkeling tours here. Best if reached by boat.
Maui Hikes & Lookouts
- Sliding Sands Trail – (also known as Keonehe’ehe’e Trail) is one of the most unique hikes on Earth!
- Waihee Ridge Trail – Most Underrated Maui Hike
- Hoapili Trail – (Hike through lava fields in Maui)
- Dragon’s Teeth Hike
- Ohai Trail Loop – (Easy but Awesome)
- Leleiwi Overlook in Haleakala National Park – (Maui must see!)
- 6 Easily Accessible Maui Waterfalls – The Best and Most Easily Accessible Maui Waterfalls
- 7 Waterfalls in Maui That You Can Swim In – Must see!
- 13 WATERFALLS IN MAUI YOU CAN’T MISS