Hike through Iao Valley to Kūkaemoku (The Needle)



0.4 miles

Elevation Gain

300 ft

Route Type


Added by Brian Fulda

Iao Valley offers jaw-dropping views of one of Maui's most famous geographical features, Kūkaemoku (The Needle), as well as light hiking. It's also conveniently located a mere 20 minutes from the Kahului Airport.

This is a very simple hike for people of all ages, and a great way to see the beautiful Maui rainforest. It is one of the more popular hikes on the island of Maui due to its short length and high accessibility. Kūkaemoku (known as The Needle), which is the pointy rock formation as shown in the photos, is best observed from this short hike. Start at the parking lot and follow the trail over a few bridges and up the hill for about a quarter mile. Once you're at the top, you will come to a small hut which serves as an observation area to Kūkaemoku. This is the end of the hike. Be aware that it does lightly rain quite often. The bathroom building has been out of service for years, but there are porta-potties at the parking lot.

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Known for

Easy Parking
Family Friendly



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taking a dip in the stream is a must!

gorgeous greenery and a lovely stream-side trail that takes you through the valley. must take a dip in the stream at multiple points where it begins to pool. COME IN THE EARLY MORNING because otherwise parking is a nightmare and the trails get crowded


Granted, it was cloudy when we visited the needle. Nevertheless, there are definitely better things to see and do on Maui. Half an hour is enough time spent here. FYI: $5 entrance fee and the gate closes at 6pm.

Don't Forget the Bug Spray!

Iao Valley is the perfect place to visit if you want beautiful views but don't have enough time to commit to a long hike. Also, if you visit Iao Valley after a strong rainstorm you will be treated to spectacular waterfalls pouring over the valley walls in all directions! Last thing - don't forget to bring bug spray! Not having bug spray cut my time here short.

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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