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Makawao Forest Reserve Hiking

In the past, we've blogged about Makawao Town and all its ranch culture. We've described how it looks like a page out of the old west, since ranching culture has such strong roots in upcountry, dating back to the 1800s. Now Makawao Town is full of delightful shops restaurants, and art galleries. It's a great spot to visit before or after a hiking trip to the Makawao Forest Reserve.

This beautiful place is located on the slopes of Haleakala, above Makawao and Olinda. Here is a map to help you locate the Makawao Forest Reserve. As places to visit on Maui go, this one is off the beaten track. Not many visitors know about it, so if you are looking for a break from the popular tourist attractions, this is a good one.

This reserve is ideal for all levels of hiking experience, from a relaxing walk through the woods, to a challenging terrain with steep areas around the stream beds. Rain is relatively common here, so pay attention to the weather before you make the trip. Because of the rain, it's one of the forests with the most streams, and there is also a reservoir.

Despite the rainy climate, it's not a jungle. Actually, the site was once part of a timber experiment which involved planting various trees from the US mainland, along with several other countries. The whole thing was a test to see which kinds of trees thrived the best in a moist, high-elevation environment, so they could harvest the timber consistently. Fortunately, there are some native species here as well, such as koa and ohia lehua, the latter of which attract Maui's rare endemic honeycreepers with its distinct red blossoms.

If you are interested in botany, this area is not only home to many interesting tree species, but other kinds of plants as well. Click hereto learn more about the kinds of species you might see on your hike. It's a good opportunity for an educational experience for adults and kids, if you're traveling with your family.

Like the jungles of Hana and the majestic Haleakala Crater, the Makawao Forest Reserve is quite a drive from our Kaanapali condos. If you are driving from West Maui accommodations, you're looking at a drive of about an hour and twenty minutes. That being said, it's worth it for those who enjoy hiking and nature. You should stop by in Makawao for breakfast at the Casanova Deli before your hike, and maybe try Polli's Mexican Restaurant afterwards. Their Makawowie nachos are amazing.

We hope your vacation is unforgettable! Thanks for reading this week! Check back every Friday for more Maui vacation ideas. Mahalo!

Photo Credit: Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr