Introducing Wailuku to ʻIao Valley State Park
ʻIao Valley’s unspoiled natural beauty belies its brutal past. Filled as it is today with sightseers and picnickers, it’s hard to imagine this was once the site of Maui’s bloodiest battle. In 1790 Kamehameha the Great invaded Kahului by sea and routed the defending Maui warriors up into precipitous ʻIao Valley. Those unable to escape over the mountains were slaughtered along the stream. The waters of ʻIao Stream were so choked with bodies that the area was called Kepaniwai (Dammed Waters).
Today a steady stream of cars and tour buses marches up ʻIao Valley Rd along the same streamside route to Maui’s most celebrated sight, ʻIao Needle.