Home News Travel The Most Popular Maui Attraction Goes Paid For Tourists Only

The Most Popular Maui Attraction Goes Paid For Tourists Only

The Most Popular Maui Attraction Goes Paid For Tourists Only

The Most Popular Maui Attraction Goes Paid For Tourists Only

A true showcase of Maui’s unique natural beauty among the Hawaiian Islands, the second most popular Google-rated Maui site for visitors and residents alike, is about to reopen following nearly a year of repairs. In doing so, it will be the latest Hawaii state park to require advance reservations for non-residents only.

The Iao Valley State Monument is renowned for its scenic beauty. The lush valley is most famous for the ʻIao needle (Kukaemoku), one of the peaks which sit 1,200 feet above the valley floor below.

The site is one of significance to Native Hawaiians and was the place where Maui army warriors battled against the invading King Kamehameha in 1790 at the battle of Kepaniwai.

Today the valley near Wailuku town offers visitors hiking trails, swimming, and the ability to explore the unique Maui rainforest. The park is regularly maintained, including its walkways, picnic areas for picnic lunches, and multiple viewpoints. There is also the Iao Stream, waterfalls, and the ability to hike the iao valley lookout trail to near the needle summit, also known as Kuka`emoku, for spectacular views of the valley below.

Iao Valley State Park is without a doubt one of Maui’s best gems.

ʻIao Valley is a lush valley, cut by a stream in West Maui. It is found about 3 miles west of Wailuku. It became a National Natural Landmark in 1972 and is part of the West Maui Mountains, an extinct volcano.

The valley is covered in rainforest and its summit area receives nearly 400 inches of annual rainfall. It is Hawaii’s second wettest location, following Kauai’s Mt. To install Waialeale.

When the park reopens on May 1, a new reservation system will be implemented that is intended to reduce congestion and diffuse parking and crowding issues.

Four state parks now require visitors to have paid advance reservations.

Diamond Head State Monument, Oahu.

Haena State Park, Kauai.

Waianapanapa State Park, Maui.

Iao Valley State Monument, Maui.

Iao Valley will join the other three locations in requiring advance-paid reservations for visitors. Residents, on the other hand, are able to visit these without a reservation or any fees.

The biggest issue with this system reported by visitors, especially at Haena State Park, is the lack of availability of reservations. They are accepted starting at midnight 30 days in advance, and are usually sold out within minutes.

The $50 Hawaii “green fee” is still in the planning.

The state is still intending to implement a “green fee” which would be based on visiting any of the state’s natural resources, such as these. Therefore, it would appear that these fees may morph over time as that green fee comes to pass and is actually implemented. You’ll recall that some of the proposals suggest a five-year moratorium prior to actually charging the green fees.

It’s worth noting that other state parks will soon be implementing similar systems, such as Makena State Park on South Maui.

The Iao valley access has been restricted or closed entirely over the last few years for repairs necessitated first by intense flash flooding in 2016 that required additional slope stabilization. The work has been an ongoing process since then.

The state is in the process of setting in place systems, vendors, and workers. DLNR said, “The reservation systems in many ways are meant to manage people and enhance the visitor experience, and the ones who benefit the most from them are locals.”

When implemented, two thirds of the parking at Iao Valley will be for visitors and the remaining parking will be for residents who are free to come and go at will. With over 1/2 million annual visitors, the monument has struggled to manage facilities and access.

How much are the current state park fees?

At present the fees are as they have been for the past 13 years, although that is expected to increase significantly. The cost for visitors is $10 per vehicle plus $5 per person. DLNR reports that the money is earmarked “to pay operating costs and to reinvest in the park system.”

Park hours are expected to be as before, which is 7 AM to 6 PM every day. The last vehicle entry is at 4:30 PM.

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