One of Hawaii's Most Visited Monuments Is Reopening

Right in time for summer, the ʻĪao Valley State Monument will open its doors next month.

If you're planning a trip to Hawaii soon, we have good news—Maui's ʻĪao Valley State Monument will reopen on May 1. The site has been closed since August 1, 2022 for a slope stabilization project after heavy rains in September 2016 damaged the parking lot and walkways, as well as nearby homes.

Located in Central Maui, ʻĪao Valley State Monument is home to one of the island's most iconic landmarks, the 1,200-foot Kuka‘emoku (also called the ʻIao Needle). The lush, green outcropping can be seen by taking the Iao Needle Lookout Trail, a short 0.6-mile loop trail that leads to a viewpoint. Also a historically significant site, ʻĪao Valley is where the battle of Kepaniwai took place in 1790, when King Kamehameha I defeated the Maui army. The battle helped changed the course of Hawaiian history, with the islands uniting under one kingdom in 1810 after years of conflict.

The park, which includes hiking trails, swimming, and picnic areas, is one of the most visited attractions in Maui, and it has also been named by this publication as one of the nation's must-visit state parks. However, out-of-state visitors will now be required to book a reservation in advance, which also includes a $5 entry fee and a $10 parking fee. Children under three and Hawaii residents with a valid driver's license or state ID can enter for free.

The new paid reservation requirement also includes three other parks in Hawaii: Diamond Head State Monument in Oahu, Hā'ena State Park in Kauai, and Waiʻānapanapa State Park in Maui. You can book reservations here.

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Michelle Harris is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Over the years her writing has also appeared in Atlas ObscuraMental Floss, and Audubon Magazine. When she's not busy typing, she enjoys hiking, road trips, and cooking vegan food.