Important note: Iao Valley State Park will reopen May 1, 2023 after slope stabilization and parking lot improvements. In conjunction with the reopening, a new reservation system will be implemented for out-of-state visitors.
As you are planning your Maui vacation, I recommend that you include a visit to the Iao Needle State Park in Central Maui. The Iao Needle is one of those places in Hawaii that knocked my socks off the first time I saw it. I had never seen anything like this solid green, needle-like mountain shooting straight up to the sky. Over many years, wind and rain have eroded this skinny, attention grabbing mountain that stands some 2,250 feet above sea level one of Maui’s lush green valleys.
Paved park paths lead you to views of the Iao Needle and a pleasant stream. The paths also flow through some gardens featuring fruits, flowers, and vegetables that were important sources in Hawaiian culture and life.
Not only is a visit to the Iao Valley scenic, it’s the site of one of Maui’s most historic battles where King Kamehameha fought against the Maui army in 1790 to conquer and gain control Maui as he sought to unite the Hawaiian Islands under one rule.
The knowledge of the battle adds mystique to visit of Iao Valley. From my experience, when I visit this valley, I sense the significance of the site in what I would describe as a mild eerie feeling. Markers along the paths of this valley share the valley’s history that help you imagine life in the valley at the time around the battle.
Here’s what you need to know when you go:
– Effective May 1, 2023, a reservation is required for out-of-state visitors entering the state park at Iao Valley. (See our article about this new reservation system at Iao Valley.)
– Check the park’s page for updates on fees, park hours, alerts and more.
– Effective April 2021, an entrance fee was implemented to visit Iao Valley. The cost is $5 per person entrance fee. This fee is subject to change. Check the park’s page for any updates.
– Parking cost $10 per car for visitors. (Hawaii residents are exempt from paying.)This fee is subject to change. Check the park’s page for any updates.
– Iao Valley State Park is located in Central Maui near Wailuku. Here’s a link to a Google Map identifying the park. You can use that link to print directions.
– Plan approximately 30 to 45 minutes for your visit.
– As always, make sure you lock your car doors and carry your valuables with you.
– You might want to have mosquito repellant handy incase you need it.
– As the Iao Valley is located on the windward side of Maui, it’s probably best if you can plan your visit for the morning to avoid clouds, but that’s not a guarantee.
– See more photos from our Iao Valley visits.
– If this is your first or second visit to Maui, you may want to review our advice of what other Maui attractions you should see for a Maui vacation.