The Iao Valley State Park is located in Central Maui just west of Wailuku. This Historic state park is home to the iconic lao Needle. The lao Valley State Park is a 10-mile long park that consists of 4,000 acres. This Historic landmark is one of the most recognizable landmarks along the 1,200 foot Iao Needle. This attraction is very popular because of the easy hiking, and the ideal sightseeing along the beautiful Iao stream.
The lao Valley State Park is historically significant because of the battles that occurred right here along the Iao Needle. Right here in 1790 at the Battle of Kepaniwai the King Kamehameha I clashed with Maui’s army in his quest to unite the islands. 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. Coming to this sacred Iao Valley allows tourists to learn more about monumental Hawaiian history. Entrance into the Iao Valley state park includes a Parking fee of $5.00 per car, and there is no fee for any Hawaii residents. It’s important to remember that no alcoholic beverages or smoking are allowed within the park. Animals and pets also aren’t allowed on the trail.
The lao Valley State Park also features a long pedestrian path that allows you to view the lao Needle easily. This path is 0.6 miles long with an erosional feature which abruptly rises 1200 feet from the valley floor. Along this path, you can see beautiful overlooking views of the valley. You can walk along a rainforest walk which features many exotic plants. It’s best to arrive early to see the view before it is concealed by the clouds. When you first enter the park, you can choose to cross a footbridge or descend to an exhibition area. On the road through ‘lao Valley, and before the State Park there is also the Kepaniwai Park Heritage Gardens, which memorialize the multicultural history of Maui. In addition, you have access to restrooms, and you should remember to bring water, so you have something to drink while walking along the path. Tourists can learn about the plants produced by the Hawaiians who settled in the Iao Valley by taking a short walk through a botanical garden. Families can also stop by and visit the interactive exhibits at the Hawaii Nature Center, which also can be towards the beginning of the Iao Valley.