Some locals living out on the western side of Maui know about the hiking trails that have been cut into the West Maui mountainside on Kapalua Resorts 23,000 acres of land, but most visiting tourists haven’t a clue.
High above Kapalua’s world-renowned Plantation Golf Course is a series or hiking trails and loops that will guide you through some amazingly wild and natural settings. One trail, called the Arboretum Loop, will take you past a large collection of plants, trees, and fruits collected from around the world over 90 years ago by ranch manager that used to own the land. A nearby beach, D.T. Flemings, is named after this influential ranch manager that promoted diversity in flora. Along the Arboretum Loop, you will encounter a large banyan tree (like the one found in downtown Lahaina), which has long spindly vines hanging down from the canopy. I took the pleasure of acting out “Tarzan-esque” fantasies and swung out over a hill (pictured above).
As you begin the hike, you will climb in elevation until you reach a scenic lookout with views of the Pu’u Kukui ridges and valleys (about 45 minutes). The remaining hour and a half of the hike you will enjoy a meandering downhill trek through forests finally arriving back at the Kapalua Resort club house.
Because the trails start high above the Kapalua Resort, inside a private gated community, you must board a resort bus to take you to the trail head. The shuttles (pictured below) are free and depart from the Kapalua club house daily at 8 am, 10 am, and noon. You can even pick up some trail maps and literature at the reservation desk for additional information.
All in all, the hike is a fun adventure for visitors and locals who enjoy the outdoors.
Insider tip: Kapalua is known for its passing rain showers and strong winds, so you may want to pack a light wind breaker or jacket just incase the weather changes.