December 28, 2023
The Kapalua Coastal and Village trails are covered in Part 1 and Part 2. The Kapalua trail system is vast, and each trail can be combined to adapt your experience to your liking. You can start the Mahana Ridge trail from Fleming Beach or from the Village Center. You can even take the Coastal Trail, which will add 3.5 miles (5.6 km), for a total of 14 miles (22.5 km). This option is my favorite as you will experience both the ocean proximity and the forest with its numerous ecosystems. The forest is recent and grew on what was the pineapple plantation until the early 2000s. You may even see some pineapple still growing here and there. Most of the Mahana Ridge trail is covered by tree canopies, so it may be slippery in places. It is technically not difficult but quite strenuous.
Combined with the Maunalei Arboretum, which will give you a majestic view of the Puu Kukui Watershed Preserve, the Mahana Ridge trail is about 10.5 miles (16.9 km) out and back with an elevation gain of 2,500 ft. It would be a good idea to wear comfortable hiking shoes and to take enough water and snacks as this will be a 4.5 to 5 hours journey. Less, if you are an avid hiker, more if you decide to enjoy a long break at the top or at the end of the Arboretum.
If you decide to start your hike from the Mahana trail entrance, park your car at DT Flemings Beach. Then head back toward the entrance of the parking lot and you will see a small green building, which is the Kapalua Preschool.
Walk by the school and the entrance of the trail will be on your right. I am not sure why, but a map of the Kapalua Coastal Trail marks the entrance. Maybe it is to show you the way back if you did the Coastal Trail first. Mahana Ridge trail is all dirt, so be careful as it will be muddy and very slippery when rainy.
Follow the trail, pass under the highway bridge and you will connect to the Kapalua Plantation Course maintenance road. If you take a right, you will rejoin the Lake Loop 0.5 mile later. Take a left to continue the Mahana Ridge trail and follow the road.
You are now entering the Mahana Estate's 51 lots community, which came on the market in 2018. Cross the Mahana Ridge Street to join the golf course, and right before the cart path, take a right. If you find yourself on the cart path, you went too far. There should be white signs indicating the entrance of the trail.
The trail slopes down, bringing you close to the golf cart path connecting the 5th to the 6th and the bathroom of the Plantation Course. Shortly thereafter, you will encounter a staircase made of irregular stones. At the top of the stairs, follow the trail and take time to enjoy the ocean views.
A few minutes later another surprise awaits you, a beautiful pine forest with thousands of pine needles covering the floor.
Just over 1/3 of a mile further, the trail connects to an access road. Continue straight, pass the reservoir, and a few seconds later you will arrive at a crossroad. Turn slightly left and on your immediate right, you will see a blue marker with a sign for Mahana Ridge that points to the trail.
The scenery changes constantly. During the hike you will encounter remnants of the old pineapple plantation; pieces of black plastic sheets that were used to keep the moisture and suppress weed growth, pineapple plants here and there, and even a tractor which is now part of a banyan tree.
At one point you will arrive at a crossroads with the ruins of a shack and a sign stating that you are on a private property. Just continue straight. The ecosystem along the trail is amazing. You may find some guava and lilikoi, or passion fruit, in season. Most importantly simply enjoy the forest bathing.
Trail Markers will be present from time to time. They are hard to miss.
The Mahana Ridge trail ends at the arboretum gate. Go through it and make sure to close it behind you. The arboretum is surrounded by a fence to prevent animals, like wild pigs, from getting in.
From this point on, the vegetation changes and you will find a lot of fern and amazing banyan trees. Stop at the lookout to admire the watershed.
Take a break and enjoy the views.
Be careful if you decide to continue to the arboretum’s second entrance as the ground is uneven and quite slippery. The banyan tree forest is worth the extra mile.
Take a left.
Once you exit the arboretum, you will arrive on top of Honolua Ridge, a community within the Plantation Estates development home of the Sentry PGA tournament. This is the end of the trail. There is a little setting with table and bench, a good alternative for a break and a snack.
When you are ready, go back to the trail the same way you came from to return to DT Flemings Beach. At the end, you may want to stop by the Burger Shack on Flemings Beach for a well-deserved drink.
Thank you for your time.
MONTAGE KAPALUA BAY ACQUISITION
Tennesee-based Company Acquires A Luxury Maui Resort
Memphis, Tennessee-based KWC Management, the hospitality investment management company of Kemmons Wilson Companies LLC, announced on Wednesday November 15, 2023 that it acquired the Montage Kapalua Bay in Kapalua, Hawaii. To optimize the resort’s assets...