Iao Needle

Explore the West Maui Mountains


In the late 16th century, Iao valley was the sight of a vicious battle in King Kamehameha’s conquest of the island chain. So many Maui warriors fell to the king’s newly acquired western cannon, the battle became known as Kapaniwai (the damming of the water) for the scores of dead that plugged the stream.

In stark contrast to that violent past, Maui's Iao Valley is now a quiet, lush valley with easy access and several nice nature trails. The focal point of the valley if the Kukaemoku or Iao needle. Reaching 2,250 feet above the valley floor, the Iaoneedle is a remnant from past volcanic eruptions that’s been carved by years of erosion. As rainwater from Puu Kukui, one of the planet’s wettest spots, flowed through the valley softer lava rock was washed away while the harder deposits remained to form the green spire.

There are facilities, parking and several visual exhibits to help you identify indigenous plants and learn the history of this sacred valley. There are also several moderate-to-easy nature trails to explore and some offer excellent views of the needle and down through the valley to Central Maui.

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