Eyeing the Needle by Mrs. Eternal Traveler

Note from Me:  I loved this trip. Mom and Dad finally brought be on a trip, AND I got to spend time with my friends Mr. and Mrs. ET, and my really good friend, Justin Beaver. I’m posting this because I couldn’t have done a better job of describing this wonderful location myself.

My friend Justin Beaver and I lounging on the patio.
My friend Justin Beaver and I lounging on the patio.


Holiday in Hawaii #7

The rugged West Maui Mountains form a dramatic backdrop to the never-ending beaches and tropical gardens of Maui.


To get a closer view of the grandeur of the mountains, we venture inland to ʻIao Valley State Park, where ʻIao Stream has carved a deep valley between the densely forested slopes.

Most people come to the park to see Kuka‘emoku, a volcanic ridge which ends in a sharp bluff rising 370 metres from the valley floor. Also known as ʻIao Needle, this volcanic formation, sacred to Hawaiians, is best viewed from a lookout at the end of a 300 metre walking track.

We begin our ascent to the lookout up a staircase cut into the mountainside before crossing ʻIao Stream. Icy water tumbles down the steep slope over large volcanic boulders and, although there are signs warning of the dangers of flash floods, daring swimmers try their luck.




We continue upwards, stopping along the way to read about the historic Battle of Kepaniwai, which took place here in 1790 when the invading forces of King Kamehameha I defeated the army of Maui.

ʻIao Needle and the surrounding mountain peaks are often enveloped by cloud; ʻIao means “cloud supreme” in Hawaiian. Today is no exception; when we reach the lookout the needle is clear while the mountains are obscured. But as we admire the scenery the cloud lifts, and we have a perfect view of the needle and the mountains set against the deepening blue of the afternoon sky.



On our return journey, a detour off the main path leads us on a circuit into the rainforest, along the bank of ʻIao stream and up the side of the mountain again. Looking down we spot the bright orange flowers of African Tulip Trees high in the canopy.



Another detour takes us further down the valley to the Ethnobotanical Garden, featuring plants brought by the native Hawaiians when they first settled these islands. Just as they would have been 1700 years ago, banana trees and taro plants are watered by ʻIao Stream.


It’s the heart of the valley, giving life and creating the spectacular scenery we’ve enjoyed on our walk today.


ʻIao Valley State Park is open daily. Entry costs $1 for walk-ins and $5 per car. There is no fee for Hawaiian residents.

20 thoughts on “Eyeing the Needle by Mrs. Eternal Traveler

      1. Send my love the Fanny and the China cat. How come you never write about Fanny and Stanley – MY friends??? That seems a little unfair that the cats are all you care about these days! I bet they teased you about your pink dress, too. Just cubbing you, Uncle Ralph. 🙂 I don’t care if you want to wear a pink dress. It’s cool with me. Just don’t come near me with a grass skirt.

      2. Fanny & Stanley are sitting on a shelf to the side of me. They don’t do a lot except stare at me Manny. No grass skirts for me …. well, not planned any way 😀

      3. I hibernate, Uncle Ralph. Just try to wake me. You have cats walking all over you all night, and coo coo clocks chirping their way into your dreams. You can’t possibly sleep 24/7.

  1. Manny so lovely to hear about your holiday, Danny would have loved it too. A beautiful Island with beautiufl teddies….. well I was missing. Hugs from Danny! We got it cold here, I do need my fur!

    1. California has been a bit rainy this winter, but not nearly as much as we need. I just let it roll off my back. right now the weather is sunny and in the mid to upper 70s F. Lots of hugs to you, Danny, and all my buddies at Ute’s house.

    1. I’m so excited for you! Let me know when you get back how you liked it. I’m also selling donation tickets to win a free trip for two to Maui in Feb. tickets are $10 donation. Trip includes airfare and car rental and ocean view suite,

You'll never bark up the wrong tree if you leave a message for me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s