Exploring the Kapalua Coastal Trail in Maui, Hawaii
One of west Maui’s most spectacular hikes is also one of its most accessible. Kapalua Coastal Trail provides an overview of the island’s quintessential scenery: sweeping seascape vistas, serrated lava formations, and picture-perfect tropical beaches.
The length of Kapalua Coastal Trail is 1.74 miles in each direction. Allow 1.5 – 2 hours to complete the round trip at a leisurely pace.
Level of Difficulty
This is an easy trail with little change in elevation and is suitable for runners, families and active seniors. Though relatively flat, the terrain varies from paved walkways to boardwalk paths, dirt trails, and rocky outcroppings.
What You’ll See
- Dramatic coastlines bordered by charcoal cliffs and mighty, pounding waves
- Stacks of sharp, twisted lava crags at Hawea Point and Makaluapuna Point (also known as “Dragon’s Teeth”) that resemble a fantasy landscape from Game of Thrones
- Three crescent beaches that are considered some of Maui’s prettiest: Kapalua, Oneloa, and DT Fleming
- Small dunes anchored by fields of waxy, green naupaka vegetation and Polynesian flora
- Rocky outcroppings set aside as a seabird preserve (no dogs allowed allowed in this part)
- Luxury resort villas and residences that line portions of the path
- During winter months, it is common to spot sea turtles and whales offshore
Getting There + Parking
Kapalua Coastal Trail is a 10-15 minute drive north of Lahaina off of Route 30 (Honoapiilani Highway). It runs between Kapalua Bay and DT Fleming Beach. There are three free public parking lots along the trail:
- next to the Napili Kai Beach resort in Kapalua Bay
- opposite the Ironwood Gates by Oneloa Bay
- at DT Fleming Beach Park
- This hike is not about arriving at the other end, it’s about enjoying the coastal views. Start from the southern trail head at Kapalua Bay. The best scenery can be experienced in the first two thirds of the walk, particularly around the cliffs that surround Oneloa Beach. The portion between Dragon’s Teeth and DT Fleming Beach is paved walkway that mostly cuts across the Ritz Carlton complex and golf course.
- There is very little shade on the trail. The prime times to stroll are in the early morning or about an hour before sunset when the heat is less harsh. It’s an excellent spot to watch the sun retire.
- The trail is mostly flat, but certain portions can be jagged and rocky so wear closed-toe shoes or a sturdy pair of sandals.
- Bring a light sweatshirt or jacket in the morning or late afternoon – the trail tends to be windier than other parts of the island.
- Public restrooms are located by the parking lots at Kapalua Bay and DT Fleming Beach
Which Hawaiian trail do you recommend? Share your recommendations or questions in the reply section below.
Lara was instilled with the travel bug at an early age and has visited over 25 countries. Her mother’s job as a flight attendant enabled a childhood of exploring the world. She recently relocated to Seoul, South Korea, where she hopes to explore some of Asia for the next couple of years. In addition to being the founding editor of En Route Traveler, Lara also works as a freelance Art Director in graphic design. In her spare time, she contributes as a Local Expert to AFAR, enjoys vegetarian cuisine, instructs Zumba, dabbles in photography and, of course, travels as much as possible.