Where to recenter yourself when you’re on Maui

Mention Maui to most people and the first thing that comes to mind is a gorgeous beach with golden sand and azure blue water.

Nothing wrong with that! — but what if you want something a little less crowded, a little cooler — a place to connect with nature and rejuvenate your spirit?

Welcome to Poli Poli Spring State Recreation Area

Poli Poli Spring in upcountry Maui is located directly above Wailea as the crow flies at the 5,000–6,000 foot elevation mark.

This 10-acre sanctuary is part of the much bigger Kula Forest Reserve, and it’s an ideal spot to claim as your sacred space while you’re on Maui.

The climate here is cool and wet, and often foggy. You can enjoy the company of a peaceful forest with gorgeous towering trees — including eucalyptus, cypress, pines, tropical ash, fir, and huge coastal redwoods.

Poli Poli is a hiker’s paradise

Several trails in the park form a loop through the forest. The result is 13 different hikes, with a little something for everyone.

For example, if you explore the Skyline Rd. from Polipoli Park, you can enjoy views of the Big Island.

The Redwood Trail takes you through stunning misty landscapes that look like coastal California. The lookouts, notably “Bowman’s Overlook,” offers panoramic views of Maui’s central valley and the ocean in the distance.

Also visible from the trails are dramatic views of West Maui, Kaho’olawe, Moloka’i and Lana’i (in clear weather).

Another nice part about being up here is the silence, which helps to clear out the noise and chatter both inside and out.

Spending the night upcountry

Loop trail in Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area

If you’re feeling really outdoorsy and want to escape “normal” life for an extended time, try camping at Polipoli. You can camp in a tent, or reserve the 1 cabin available.

Whatever you decide, you’ll need 4-wheel drive to access the campsite area. Also, you’ll need to bring your own drinking water. Plus, there are no showers or electricity.

And be sure to prepare for the cold weather. Temperatures are known to drop below freezing in the winter months, but hey — at least you know you can end up on a sunny tropical beach all in the same day!

Plan your visit

As you plan your escape to upcountry Maui, be sure to check the local weather conditions and park advisories before heading out.

Bring waterproof boots, a raincoat, and lots of water (remember: you’ll need to drink twice as much water at higher altitudes). Note that hunters also frequent the area, so you may want to consider wearing brightly-colored clothing.


Image credits: Lyle Wilkinson 

Need a hand with your next Maui vacation? Please contact the Sunny Maui Vacations team at info@sunnymauivacations.com or call 808-240-1311, ext. 21. We’ll find you the best vacation rental condo or rental home in South Maui and help you with any and all recommendations and activities across Maui.