Hike with the Kipahulu ‘Ohana

East Maui nonprofit offers an authentic Hawaiian experience at “the last Hawaiian place.”

The Maui Weekly
July 12, 2007

The Kipahulu ‘Ohana announces the launch of cultural interpretive hikes in the Kipahulu section of Haleakala National Park.

The hikes offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the Hawaiian people who resided in the Kipahulu area for thousands of years, and to visit a restored taro farm, while in the company of a Native Hawaiian guide.

“For visitors who are seeking authentic Hawaiian experiences that include meeting local people and learning about the culture, this is an activity that is not to be missed” said Scott Crawford, executive director of Kipahulu ‘Ohana.

Guests can choose from a two-hour hike or three-and-a-half-hour hike, beginning at a traditional thatched house near the National Park’s Kipahulu Visitor Center. The routes include stunning vistas of waterfalls and the ocean, and feature a tour of the Kapahu Living Farm, a restored taro farm that can be visited exclusively through the Kipahulu ‘Ohana, along with a sampling of food seen growing at the farm.

“Our guides are from local Hawaiian families who have made East Maui their home for generations,” says Tweetie Lind, co-founder of the Kipahulu ‘Ohana. “This farm is living history; it’s a place where Hawaiian families are farming taro in the same fashion as our ancestors.”

The Kipahulu ‘Ohana is a nonprofit organization, and proceeds from the hike go directly to support cultural and environmental education and restoration projects.

The Kipahulu ‘Ohana was recognized in 2005 by the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s “Keep It Hawai’i” Kahili Awards for “authentic portrayal of the Hawaiian culture.”

“Our cultural interpretive hikes are a way to support the practice of the culture and the traditional management of our ahupua’a [land division] resources by sharing with visitors who are seeking a truly authentic Hawaiian experience,” said Tweetie.

Two hikes are offered daily. A two-hour hike departs at 10 a.m. A three-and-a-half-hour hike departs at 12:30 p.m., which also includes a visit to 400-foot Waimoku Falls. The hikes are an ideal activity for anyone who makes the trip to Hana, for the day or overnight.

Participants must arrange their own transportation to the National Park Service (NPS) Visitor Center in Kipahulu. An entrance fee of $10 per vehicle must also be paid at the NPS parking lot.

The hikes are mild to moderate in physical intensity. Closed toed shoes are recommended. Raingear is also recommended, as showers help to keep the area lush and green.

Reservations are required. For reservations or for more information, go to www.kipahulu.org or call (808) 248-8558.

Copyright © 2007 The Maui Weekly.