Waianapanapa State Park
Explore One Of Maui’s Most Treasured And Unique Areas
Discover the remote and wild beauty of Waianapanapa State Park, a place that allows you to explore East Maui’s rugged volcanic coastline. There is an incredible variety of activities to enjoy in the park such as camping, and picnicking, along with the opportunity for hiking along an ancient Hawaiian coastal trail. You’ll be enchanted by the seabird colony and the natural stone arch, immersed in the native hala forest, and intrigued by the historical heiau (religious temple), sea stacks, and blow holes. Frolicking in the waves of the small black sand beach is a perfect way to end a journey of discovery in one of Maui’s most treasured regions.
Waianapanapa State Park is located just off the Hana Highway, approximately three miles north of the town of Hana, and 59 miles east of Kahului. Its remote location adds to the allure, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to explore and appreciate the untouched beauty of Hawaii’s natural landscape.
One of the unique draws of Waianapanapa State Park is its stunning black sand beach, Pa’iloa Beach, a rare gem formed from the erosion of volcanic rock. The glistening black sand contrasts starkly with the vibrant green of the surrounding vegetation and the blue of the Pacific Ocean, creating an incredible setting for photos. Nestled within this beach is a sea cave that adds character to the already scenic landscape. Formed by the powerful waves of the ocean, the cave is the subject of many local legends and carries a mysterious air. Walking along the black sand beach, exploring the sea cave, and listening to the rhythmic crash of the ocean waves is a truly immersive experience that allows visitors to connect with the primal forces of nature.
The Piilani Trail is another notable feature of Waianapanapa State Park not to be missed. This ancient Hawaiian footpath takes you on a journey through the rich history and diverse landscapes of the region. As you traverse through lush vegetation, lava fields, and over jagged cliffs, you will be treated to breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean. The trail is steeped in history, once used by the Hawaiians for fishing and foraging, and offers an unparalleled opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the ancients. Keep an eye out for cultural landmarks such as ancient dry-stack walls and house platforms, which provide a glimpse into the life of early Hawaiian settlers. The Piilani Trail is indeed a blend of cultural immersion and natural beauty, making it a must-do adventure for any visitor to Waianapanapa State Park.
Waianapanapa State Park holds a rich tapestry of history dating back centuries. The area was originally settled by Polynesians, who found the volcanic soil to be fertile for growing taro and sweet potato. The name ‘Waianapanapa’ itself means ‘glistening fresh water’ in the Hawaiian language, a reference to the sparkling freshwater pools found in the park, which were an important resource for the early settlers. Interestingly, the park is also home to several archaeological sites including ancient burial grounds, temple ruins, and the famous King’s Trail, offering a fascinating glimpse into a Hawaii of long ago. A visit to Waianapanapa isn’t just a journey across the land, but a journey through time, a chance to step back and experience Hawaii as it was centuries ago.
Many of our Road to Hana tours visit Waianapanapa State Park. Between the natural beauty, scenic views, and cultural significance, it’s not a point of interest we want any of our guests to miss!
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