Hiking Tour: Munro Trail
- Start Lana‘i cemetery
- End Manele Rd
- Length 12 miles; five to seven hours
This exhilarating 12-mile adventure through verdant forest can be hiked or mountain biked but not driven. For the best views, and to avoid getting caught at dusk, get an early start. Those hiking should be prepared for steep grades and allow a whole day. Be aware that rains can turn the dirt path into a red swamp. Watch out for sheer drop offs, especially when mist, fog and clouds limit visibility.
To start, head north on Hwy 44 from Lanaʻi City. About a mile past the Lodge at Koele, turn right onto the paved road that ends in half a mile at the island's cemetery. The Munro Trail starts left of the cemetery; passing through eucalyptus groves, it climbs the ridge and the path is studded with ohia lehua, ironwood, eucalyptus and Norfolk Island pine trees. The Norfolks, which draw moisture from the afternoon clouds and fog, were planted in the 1920s as a watershed by naturalist George Munro, after whom the trail is named.
The trail looks down on deep ravines cutting across the east flank of the mountain, and passes Lanaʻihale (3370ft), Lanaʻi's highest point. You'll discover various lookout points along the trail. On a clear day you can see all the inhabited Hawaii islands except for distant Kauaʻi and Niʻihau along the route. Stay on the main trail, which descends 6 miles to the central plateau. Keep the hills to your left and turn right at the big fork in the road. The trail ends back on Manele Rd (Hwy 440) between Lanaʻi City and Manele Bay.
You can combine a Munro Trail hike with the Koloiki Ridge Trail. Be sure to check the latest conditions with locals.
Practical Tip: Carry Water
Outside of Lanaʻi City there is nowhere to buy refreshments. So if you have a day planned of rural adventures to places such as the Keomuku Rd, the Garden of the Gods or even Hulopoʻe Beach, be sure to bring plenty of water and refreshments. This is especially important if you're embarking on hikes such as the Munro Trail.