Maui’s ‘Iao Valley State Park and ‘Iao Needle — Beautiful Backdrops, Historical Significance, and Guy Fieri (?)


I’m switching gears for a minute and taking a break from my Wisconsin summertime posts to travel back to the lush rain forests of Maui. While I only had the chance to complete one true hike on the island, I did get to explore Hawaii’s unique natural habitat in other ways.

A short drive west of Wailuku is the entrance to an area of Maui rich in natural beauty, ‘Iao Valley State Park. Located in the West Maui Forest Reserve, this area is home to the ‘Iao Needle, an erosional feature that dramatically shoots 1,200 feet from the valley floor.

This area is also rich in island historical significance as ‘Iao Valley is the site of the Battle of Kepaniwai or the Battle of the Clawed Cliffs. Super brief history, in 1790, King Kamehameha invaded Maui during his attempt to bring the Hawaiian Islands under one ruler (himself, of course.) Kamehameha’s army and the Maui army clashed during a three day battle, which was eventually ended by the use of cannons. Despite losing this battle, Maui’s Chief Kahekili II regained control of the island and held it until his death. Kamehameha would not have full control of the island until five years later.

The park today is managed by the State of Hawaii and requires a small, $5 admission fee per car. Check out the park’s current conditions before you go as the area is prone to flash flooding and washouts.

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Campsite Review, Peninsula State Park, Falling Asleep to the Sound of Waves

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A few weeks ago I posted about the hiking at Peninsula State Park in Door County. If you missed it, I encourage you to check it out.

Peninsula State Park Part I and Peninsula State Park Part II

The hiking alone is enough of a reason to visit this park, but if you want to make it more of a trip, or are looking for a more cost effective lodging option in Door County, the park offers plenty of camping opportunities.

Peninsula State Park has an impressive 468 family campsites across five campgrounds and several group camp locations. All of the campgrounds offer showers and flush toilets in addition to the standard vault toilets and drinking water. Continue reading

Peninsula State Park — Part II, Hiking to the Nature Center and Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

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On to part II of the Peninsula State Park adventure.

Last week I posted about a few of the trails at Peninsula State Park in Door County. This post focused on the popular Eagle Trail, which seems to be the attention grabber of the park. Catch up on the post if you missed it.

This post will finish up the hiking by covering the last two trails we hiked. There are 9 miles across 6 different trails at the park we did not hike, mostly out of hunger. Even leaving some miles unexplored, I still think I got an adequate feel for the park’s hiking. The trails we did not hike are near some of the trail we did hike so I assume they are more wooded and flat trails.

The one that did sound unique was the Vita Course Trail. This 1 mile trail has 11 exercise stations along the way. I still can’t decide if that sounds great or terrible. Continue reading