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Hawaii Destinations – Maui’s Iao Valley

Hawaii is well known for many destinations that bring visitors from around the world. Sites like Pearl Harbor, Mt. Kilauea, the Na Pali Coast, and Haleakala are famous for amazing scenery, history, great activities, and are considered a must for any vacation to the islands. The top destinations in Hawaii are musts for any trip, and though these are great places to visit, there are many destinations throughout the islands that make great stops for a vacation.

Many of the most incredible sites are found off of the beaten path and often make for the most memorable part of any vacation. These destinations help to make Hawaii special and the more you become familiar with the islands, the more you will uncover these hidden gems. For instance, Maui’s Iao Valley. A dense rainforest in West Maui, this lush valley is filled with important cultural sites, natural formations, endemic plants, and gardens that make this a popular destination to visit.

The most famous feature of the valley is the Iao Needle, a remnant of rising lava that has become a landmark for the valley. Rising more than 2,000 feet above sea level, and more than 1,200 feet from the valley floor, the needle is the remnants of lava that has become covered with lush vegetation throughout the years. Most visitors take the short trail, weather permitting, to view the Iao Valley Needle and have great views of the surrounding valley.

Helicopter flights through the valley show off the lush rainforest and allow for views of the hidden waterfalls found throughout the valley. Receiving nearly 400 inches of rain per year, the Iao Valley is the second wettest place in Hawaii, and because of the amount of rainfall, natural waterfalls have formed and create a spectacle unlike any other.

In Hawaiian history, the Iao Valley’s use stretches back to the earliest days of the Hawaiian Islands, and was designated as a burial ground for the ali’I (royalty) in the 15th century. The valley was the site of the Battle of Kepaniwai during the unification of the islands, and following the defeat of Maui’s army, the Iao Stream was blocked by dead warriors, running red, and the site of the battle was renamed to depict the events that took place: Kepaniwai – the damning of the waters.

Make the Iao Valley a stop during your trip to Maui. The natural beauty and the history make this an incredible destination in Hawaii and will undoubtedly be one of your favorite places you visit during your visit.

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