Things to Do in Upcountry Maui

Take some time to explore Upcountry Maui while staying at Fairmont Kea Lani. Wherever you go, you’ll see imposing Haleakalā punctuating the high-elevation countryside’s green hills, valleys, farms and ranchland. Hike the otherworldly volcano slopes, ride with genuine paniolo (cowboys) and rub elbows with the locals in the towns of Pukalani, Makawao, Kula and Haʻikū.

There’s so much to see and do in Upcountry Maui! We’ve put together this guide to share some of the can’t-miss experiences available to you.

Explore Haleakalā Summit

At 10,023 feet, Haleakalā (“House of the Sun”) volcano houses one of the planet’s largest dormant craters. Hike, bike or horseback-ride the Mars-like red landscape looking out for endangered flora and fauna. Watch the sun paint the crater in a rainbow of shimmering hues on the fabled sunrise tour, well worth the 1:30 am wake-up time (yes, seriously). Daytime and sunset views are awe-inspiring, too. Make reservations online up to 60 days in advance for a sunrise visit.

Meet the Paniolo of Makawao

Hawaiian paniolo (cowboys) have been around since King Kamehameha III imported Californian pros to teach the locals how to work cattle in the 1800s. Get into it in charming Makawao, Maui’s cowpoke central. This former plantation town is also artsy, so make time to peruse the galleries, clothing stores, boutiques and artist studios. Don’t miss the creampuffs — or malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts), sweet bread, and donuts on a stick. The town rodeo is in July.

Smell the Kula Lavender

On a fragrant mountainside overlooking the ocean and mountains, Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm is a sanctuary of serenity. Stroll the 13.5 acres, sniff 25 varieties of the purple bloom, take a 30 to 45-minute walking or cart tour, and enjoy a picnic in the fresh air. And of course, take home some farmstead lotion, soap or shaving gel.

Stroll Makawao Forest

Just outside cowboy town, Makawao Forest Reserve is 2,000 verdant acres of native and imported plants, shrubs, flowers and trees. Hike or cycle through fragrant eucalyptus and pine, past flowering ginger to the sound of tropical bird song, taking in views 2,500 feet below. Cool and lush, the forest boasts some of Hawai‘i’s best mountain biking trails.

Gander at the Botanical Garden

Hundreds of colorful, exotic blooms, plants, shrubs and trees are on display at the bucolic Kula Botanical Garden created by a local landscape architect and still family run. Set high up on the slopes of Haleakalā overlooking the ocean, eight-acre garden is a delight of unusual flora and botanicals, artful rock formations, rushing waterfalls, a koi pond, aviary and covered bridge, plus new additions like the carved ki‘i (sculptures representing gods) exhibit.

Shop Local

Pick up picnic goodies and fresh baked goods at the quaint covered Kula Country Farm. Hawaiians have been farming the fertile volcanic soil here for centuries, primarily staples such as sweet potato and taro. This four-generation 55-acre farm specializes in sweet, juicy strawberries, top-quality produce and, in fall time, hundreds of pumpkins from tiny to huge (don’t miss the autumn corn maze).

Ready to Explore Upcountry Maui?

Our concierge team is ready to help you with information, ideas, insider tips and reservations. Email [email protected] or call us at 1 808 875 4100, ext. 290 for more information.

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