As you drive out of Wailuku, ʻIao Valley’s emerald lushness envelops you, concluding with an explosion of riparian and mountain greenery at ʻIao Valley State Monument, deep inside the bosom of the West Maui Mountains. The scenery is dramatic, with sheer peaks soaring in all directions, most notably ʻIao Needle. Rising above the lush rainforest, and caressed by passing mist, this rock pinnacle stands as a monument to your journey, while marking the entrance to the mysterious, uninhabited valley beyond. Most will never go beyond the viewpoint, but the park extends clear up to Puʻu Kukui (5788ft), Maui’s highest and wettest place.
Unfortunately, in late 2016 the area suffered severe flood damage. At the time of writing it was closed for repairs, and trails through the park were also closed. However, park officials expect it to reopen imminently. Check the Department of Land & Natural Resources (http://dlnr.hawaii.gov) website before your visit.