In April/May 2020 we are required to keep a distance from people outside of our own household to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and to allow our health and other services to take care of those who need help. Sierra Club has therefor canceled all organized outings until further notice. But we are still allowed to venture out on our own or with members of our own household for exercise such as walking, running, hiking, swimming and surfing. No need to stay cooped up at home all day. Just keep at least six feet between yourself and anyone you meet. This is the fourth of several posts on good places to go hiking/walking without a guide.
The Makawao Forest Reserve hosts one of the more popular trails on Maui. It is easy to get to Upcountry, and a very pleasant destination for those seeking refuge from sun and heat near the coast because it is all shady. The Makawao Forest Reserve is an example of successful reforestation using non-native trees – mostly tropical ash, eucalyptus and cook pine. In today’s world the choice might have been native Hawaiian trees, but many of the benefits of reforestation have been accomplished. You will see indigenous ti plants and you may see indigenous maile and halapepe on your hike.
The Kahakapao Loop is just under five miles round-trip. It is well-marked and easy to follow as you can see in the pictures, with a gentle elevation gain of 1,165 feet. If the parking is full (at the end of Kahakapao Road), there is another parking lot accessible from the first parking lot, with a sign for horse trailers. The trail is shared with bike riders heading up-hill (they have dedicated trails for going down-hill). Here is a map:
Unfortunately there are many invasive plant species in the forest, including banana poka, strawberry guava and himalayan ginger. While they may be pretty to look at, they choke out native plants.