Maui Vacation Network
Maui Iao Valley
Entering Iao (ee-ow) Valley, is nothing less than mystical. The lush green covered peaks often surrounded by clouds and mist offer a surreal backdrop to the giant leaves of the tropical flora. One would almost expect a brontosaurus to meander onto the scene, grazing on the ferns and wild guavas. Of course in geological time, this area is but a baby.
Nevertheless, for it's relatively short existence, Iao has experienced a dramatic history. Beginning as a violent eruption of molten rock and burning gasses spewing from the Pacific Ocean to sculpt a mountain where none had been. Only to have the quick cooling layers eroded back to the sea, leaving behind the dikes we now see cloaked in vegetation. More violence reached the valley eons later in the late 1700's when a Hawaiian battle for the island of Maui left so many bodies it was said to have dammed the river.
Walking through Iao valley today one would never suspect such brutality could have ever existed here. The visitor is more likely to have visions of Eden.
A short distance from the visitor parking, you can see the rivers that keep the Valley Isle in water. A view of the prominent is nearly always present.
Following the steps down, you can walk among vegetation that is either indigenous or was brought by the first peoples to the island.
For the more adventurous, there are trails beyond the paved tourist areas. You must get a permit to hike these but they are well worth the effort if you would like to see more of Maui than the average visitor. There is a trail that follows the Iao river (Iao River Trail) and a trail that climbs the ridge between two rivers (Tableland Trail). Both are interesting but if rain is threatening, avoid the river. It can rise extremely fast and is very dangerous.
The River trail is the easiest and coolest of the two but expect to get wet as you must cross a few times. Be aware that the rocks are extremely slippery and walking out with a twisted ankle will spoil your vacation.
The Tableland Trail is steep and, at times, muddy . The journey consists of one spectacular view after another and the 360 degree view from the end of the trail is the most spectacular of all.
For permit info call: Wailuku Agribusiness 244-9570