'Iao Valley

Today we took the kids to the 'Iao Valley. The 'Iao Valley is located in the West Maui Mountains. You drive through Wailuku (the county capital), past city hall, up the hill and eventually end up in a lush rain forest, inside the remnants of an extinct volcano.

'Iao Needle
The 'Iao Needle is a 1200 ft high (2250 ft from sea level) natural rock pinnacle in the valley (at the end of the road) which was once used as an altar. It is surrounded by the cliffs of the West Maui Mountains (the extinct volcano making up the western half of Maui). There are a series of short paths that you can walk along and enjoy the lush vegetation of the valley. In the 15th century the valley was designated an ali'i burial ground. It was also the site of a major battle in the 1700s.

Lush vegetation in the State Park
The valley is a designated State Park. There is a $5 fee to park in the State Park by the needle - parking is limited, you may have to circle a few times. The park is open between 7am and 7pm. There is also a Nature Center and Kepaniwai Park's Heritage Gardens for you to enjoy.

Taro planting in the park - a traditional Polynesian food
On our way home we drove by a recently harvested sugar cane field. Sugar cane is the major crop on Maui. You will drive by the Sugar Cane Factory on your way from the airport to Kihei. There are two methods of harvesting the cane - they either burn the field (and then harvest the charred stalk) or chop the whole plant (similarly to chopping feed corn).

this sugar cane field is being harvested by chopping the entire plant

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