It was easy to find from Kaanapali, we just took Highway 30 and turned left on Main Street and onto Iao Valley Road. We paid the $5 to park in the lot, though we could see locals parking on the side of the road just outside the lot.
The trail was paved and easy, not one I would consider a workout by any means, and the botanical garden surroundings were calming. We were surrounded by majestic emerald mountains. This part of the island was mostly cloudy and breezy that day; the clouds looked like a mist or fog.
The park’s main landmark was the 1,200-foot Iao Needle, which was a towering plant-covered rock. According to the Maui tourism website, “It was here in 1790 at the Battle of Kepaniwai that King Kamehameha I clashed with Maui’s army in his quest to unite the islands. Even with Iao Needle serving as a lookout point, Kamehameha defeated Maui’s forces in a ferocious battle that ultimately changed the course of Hawaiian history.”
As it began to sprinkle, we could see what appeared to be waterfalls forming in the distance. Whether this is the case or whether we didn’t notice the water until it started to rain, I don’t know, but the view was breathtaking. Every sight was post-card (or Instagram) worthy.
We also spotted helicopters up above, getting an up-close look at the mountains and waterfalls. I hope to be able to get a birds-eye view as well the next time I am on Maui, it might be worth the $159+. (Yes?)