October 06, 2023
The Kapalua Coastal Trail is covered in Part 1 and can be found here.
Just over 1⁄2 mile away from the Pacific’s shore, Kapalua offers hikes that are more challenging. This network of trails follows the former Village Course golf cart path. Starting at the Kapalua Village Center, you can combine the two main trails, the Cardio Loop, 1.8 mile (2.88 km) of moderate incline, and the Lake Loop, 3.8 miles (6.4 km) of steep inclines that takes you to a duck pond, to 6 different paths weaving through a natural forest that took over the fairways and greens since 2005. On the Lake Loop following the old cart path instead of the unpaved portion of the trail will add .8 mile to your journey. Along with a good workout, the trails offer panoramic views towards Moloka’i and Ho- nolua Bay. Park across the Village Center, which is reserved for the Taverna and Bay Course clients, and enter the trail at the bottom of the Village Center’s parking lot.
There are two main loops: the Cardio Loop, 1.8 miles (2.88 km), and the Lake Loop, either 3.8 miles (6.4 km) or 4.7 miles (7.6 km). Both loops start at the Kapalua Village Center, which hosts Taverna, the Italian-style bistro, and the Bay Course Pro Shop. Park your car in the nearby parking lot and walk toward the end Taverna / Bay Course parking lot. From there a cart path will take you to the Village Hiking Trails.
For both the Cardio Loop and the Lake Loop, go down the cart path by the practice range. At the bottom of the slope take a right, go through the right-hand side tunnel (there are 2 tunnels), and continue under the highway. Upon exiting the tunnel, you can either take a right to go counterclockwise or a left.
If you take a right, always take a left at any of the forks you will encounter. If you take a left and go clockwise, simply keep right at any intersection. Stay on the cart path. You cannot really go wrong as all the paths come back down to the same starting point: the tunnels. With 1.8 miles total, the trail is fairly short. But you still will have a good workout due to the inclination.
There are multiple versions of the lake loop, 3.8 miles, or my favorite, 4.7 miles. The 3.8 miles version has the same start as the Cardio Loop. So, after the right-hand side tunnel take a left. If you take a right, the 1.5 miles 15% downslope, 22% at time, after the lake may be hard on your knees. The trail meets the longer version at the second tunnel’s exit, a few yards away.
For the 4.7-mile version, take the left at the bottom of the slope right after the practice range. Follow the old 18th fairway’s cart path and bear right before the small pond. The trail goes up and it feels like you do a U-turn. As you walk up along what was the 1st fairway of the Village Course, you will see some old office buildings. Bear right at the fork and pass under the highway through the left hand side tunnel. At the end of the tunnel take a left. The 3.8 and 4.7-mile versions merge.
As you continue along the cart path, take a right at the next fork. For the next 1.5 miles, you will walk up a 15% incline path on average that will bring you to an altitude of 747ft. On your left, you may see roofs of luxury homes in the Mahana Estates development, over the gulch.
Stay on your left as various cart paths will pop up on your right. They are actually the cart paths surrounding the old 2nd and 3rd fairways. The incline will be a little steeper, 22%, for 0.1 miles be- fore the “lake”, which is really a ducks’ pond. Dead leaves and other debris make this section quite slippery, so be careful. As you pass the lake, the cart path goes up again for a short period before starting the “steep” descent. Again, be careful as there is usually a lot of debris as well.
The scenery is beautiful with cook pines, guava trees, Brazilian pepper trees, and many other fragrant plants. In summer it will be very dry with yellowing grass. In winter though the plants are vibrant making it feels like jungle style. You will pass by the other side of the pond, which cannot be seen, and arrive at a crossroad, which was the location of the signature fairway of the Village course. Take the left.
The path slopes down to reach 25% inclination for about 1/10 of a mile, so be careful as it can be slippery when wet.
When you arrive at the crossroad, take a left and left again after the ruins, which was the Village Course snack and drink shack. If you decide to go straight instead, you will connect with the Cardio Loop.
Follow the cart path for about 3⁄4 of a mile. You will arrive at a fork road with a dirt path on your left. This trail is part of the official 3.8 miles lake pool and 500 ft later you will reconnect to the cart path.
If you decide to do the 4.7-mile loop, simply follow the cart path and at one point you will arrive by Highway 30 and have an opportunity to exit the loop. In that case, cross the highway and follow Office Road toward the Village Center. Otherwise, follown the dirt trail and you will reconnect to the cart path less than 200 yards later. Keep left.
Pass the gate to connect to Office Road and the Village Center or continue on the cart path to finish the tour. Keep left.
The Lake Loop connects with the Cardio Loop a few yards before the tunnel. At the cross road, take a left.
Go through the tunnel to finish your hike and have a drink at Taverna, or if you feel like it, add another 1.8 miles by walking the Cardio Loop.