Location: Haleakala National Park
Length, One-Way: 8.4 miles
Trail Type: Out and Back
Minimum Elevation: 0 feet
Maximum Elevation: 6380 feet
Elevation Change: 6960 feet
Best Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Difficulty: Most Difficult
The Kaupo Trail is an extremely challenging hike that leads southward from Paliku Campground to the small town of Kaupo on the Maui coast. From the top of Kaupo Gap, at Paliku cabin and campsite, the trail descends 6,100 feet in 8.4 miles. The hike begins at the top of Kaupo Gap near Paliku campsite (el. 6,380 feet). Steep switchbacks descend for 3.7 miles through native shrubland and mesic koa forest to the park boundary. The trail crosses onto private land at 3,880 feet. The trail turns into a jeep road and drops steeply for two miles. This stretch of the trail can be hot and treacherous. At about mile six, the trail turns left off of the jeep road and meanders steeply down through thickets of alien guava and christmas berry before reaching Kaupo Ranch (at mile 7.2 around 1,040 feet). The trail ends here. A jeep road continues 1.5 miles to the village of Kaupo. Kaupo Store is about eight miles away from the Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park and about 16.3 miles from Hana.
The trail can be extremely hot and there is very little shade or shelter. There is no water along this trail. Plan this trip carefully, logistics are difficult because at the end of the hike you will be at least a two-hour drive from where you started; no public transportation is available. For more information on planning this hike please speak with park staff.
Caution: For the unprepared hiker, Kaupo Trail can be an experience in misery: blistered feet, tortured knees, intense sun or torrential rain and no available drinking water. The steep, rocky terrain in Kaupo Gap makes it essential that you be in good physical condition. Weak knees, bad backs and new boots are not compatible with this trail. You should bring a first aid kit that includes moleskin for treating potential blisters. Plan on carrying at least 1.5 quarts of water per person. Allowing extra time to rest and take in the scenery will make this a more enjoyable trip.
The Kaupo Trail begins at the Paliku Campground.
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