On the King’s Trail (VIDEOS)

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If You Go

KEONE‘Ō‘IO

Distance: 5 miles round trip | Duration: 2–3 hours.

Finding the Trailhead: Follow Mākena Road south from Wailea until it dead-ends in a parking lot at Keone‘ō‘io (La Pérouse Bay). Trailhead begins at the parking lot.

Tips: The trail is strenuous, and the sun can be relentless. Start early in the day, and bring sunscreen, hiking boots, and lots of water. The public section of the trail finishes at Kanaio Beach.

NU‘U

Distance: 1 mile round trip | Duration: 30 minutes to 1 hour

Finding the Trailhead: The trailhead is located on Pi‘ilani Highway between ‘Ulupalakua and Kaupō. From central or south Maui, the journey begins Upcountry: Take Haleakalā Highway (Route 37) through Kula, Kēōkea and ‘Ulupalakua, where it becomes Pi‘ilani Highway (Route 31). At mile marker 31; look for the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust sign and metal gate on the makai (ocean side) of the road. Park on the side of the road and walk around the gate.

Tips: Bring food, water, and at least half a tank of gas.

Kings Highway - Daniel Sullivan Photography
A cave at Wai‘ānapanapa’s Pailoa Bay opens onto this view of the ocean, like a portal to another world.

WAI‘ĀNAPANAPA STATE PARK

Distance: 1.4 miles round trip from park to Hāna Airport; 6 miles round trip from park to Waikoloa. | Duration: 1–3 hours

Finding the Trailhead: Trail begins at the parking lot at Wai‘ānapanapa State Park. A sign by the stairs leading down to the beach offers hiking distances and directions.


Inspired by Eddie Pu, A park ranger and native Hawaiian who circled Maui on foot each year for nearly thirty years, Daniel Sullivan decided to seek out the trail — which he feared, with Pu’s death in 2012, was one step closer to becoming forgotten.

Sullivan calls the trail “a living link to the ancient Hawaiian culture,” but as modern roads, developments, and time erode its original path, “it’s slipping away . . . the story is fragmented.” He hopes his book is “a call to action to fight for its preservation.”

“What amazes me,” says Sullivan, “is that it isn’t more protected. It should be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s an ancient culture contained within the landscape, and the book is an effort to capture the King’s Highway before it vanishes completely.”

Sullivan’s book is available at his gallery, Indigo Pā‘ia, and online at DanielSullivanPhotography.com.


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