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Īao Valley offers a unique and beautifully serene experience to all who visit

Five miles west of central Wailuku, Maui, surrounded by a soft mist between the lush, green slopes of the West Maui Mountains, sits ʻĪao Valley. Naturally formed by the Kepaniwai Stream, it was designated as a national landmark in 1972. Visitors are able to learn more about plants indigneous to Hawaiʻi by taking a short stroll through the botanical gardens, which will also lead to the river bank for a quick swim to cool off if needed. Near the gardens, t he 0.6 mile ʻĪao Needle Lookout Trail takes you on a scenic Maui hike overlooking the famous rock structure adorned in tropical foliage, which in Hawaiian is called Kūkaʻemoku.

ʻĪao Valley is the subject of many mele (songs) and ʻoli (chants), being of historical, spiritual and cultural significance for the native Hawaiian people. In 1790, King Kamehameha I, along with his army, defeated Mauiʻs tribal army in this valley, thus gaining control of the island, which continued his conquest to unite the Hawaiian Islands. After the battle, left over bodies were said to have blocked the natural flow of the stream, and hence it was named Kepaniwai, or “the damming of the waters.” This valley is also a burial site for many of ancient Hawaiʻi’s aliʻi, or chiefs and chiefesses, adding to its sacredness.

Truly, ʻĪao Valley offers a unique and beautifully serene experience to all who visit.

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