The popular 2.5 mile Waihe‘e ridge trail that climbs the windward slope of the west Maui mountains will be temporarily reopened tomorrow, Saturday February 11, following completion of a first phase of improvements for increased public safety through surface improvements, drainage upgrades, and vegetative management.
The trail parcel is owned and operated by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW).
Due to recent work on the trail it is extremely muddy and slippery, and will remain that way for an extended period. The use of walking sticks is suggested. Be sure to wear shoes with good grip and that you don’t mind getting muddy.
The trail was closed on January 3 to begin work to address issues with trail stability due to wetness, erosion, and other drainage-related issues. Viewpoints are also in need of enhancements.
Related improvements include storm water mitigation upgrades to the trail, and the construction of two new observation platforms (summit and valley overlook), benches and picnic tables. These additions are intended to enhance the existing trail system experience and bring the trail up to current trail improvement design standards.
Thus far, work on the two platforms is almost completed. Temporary railings have been put in place until back-ordered materials arrive.
A sheet drain through a boggy area has been constructed and the trail tread work has been completed just past the 1 mile marker.
Completion of the platforms and trail tread work will resume on March 20, when the trail will need to be closed again. Several retaining walls will be constructed on the switch backs on the upper sections of the trail. If all materials arrive and the weather cooperates, work should be completed by April 7.
Work was postponed due to poor weather that caused work delays, contractor scheduling conflicts and back ordered materials not reaching Maui on time.
The work is being performed by contractor Trails Unlimited LLC, with some assistance from the Maui DOFAW Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Program staff. Project cost is $27,000.
Managed as part of the state’s Nā Ala Hele Trails and Access Program, Waihe‘e ridge is one of Maui’s most popular hiking trails, providing hikers with panoramic views of East Maui and the Waihe‘e valley. It has been a favorite of the public as well as other community organizations since it was created in the 1960’s by state forestry staff to plant trees.