Lahaina Pali Trail

Lahaina Pali Trail Run Maui Hawaii.

Lahaina Pali Trail

As part of this blog i really want to share with you guys some of the runs that i feel stand out about the rest. Normally most of those will be trail runs I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing first hand. Trail runs like this one i had in Maui Hawaii earlier this year on a family vacation. This one in particular took place on the Lahaina Pali Trail system.

The Lahaina Pali Trail is 5 miles long & climbs from sea level to 1600ft. Going to Maui i didn’t even know about this trail until I saw another local N.Texas runner Jeff Ball ( who just happened to be in Maui at the same time ) Post his Strava segment on this run. One of my goals for running in Hawaii was to run hills & gain some serious elevation. Being stuck in Frisco Texas we seriously lack any proper elevation change and i was going to take full advantage of being in this amazing trail running location.

If you’re heading to the trail from Lahaina the trail head is about a mile BEFORE the tunnel. Its pretty easy to find as its right at the end of the open beach section and just as you start the climb to the pass.

Strava breakdown of Lahaina Pali Trail

strava of Lahaina Pali trail

So as you can see there from that data above my ave pace was only 16:06 & you’re think, oh it must of been a nice leisurely hike right? Nope! This we me running the trail. This is what proper elevation will do to ones ego. I was working really hard trying to get over this mountain as quickly as i could. To put it into perspective I’ve added the two graphs below. The first one to show you my HR zones & the second to show you my pace breakdown.

As you can see from my HR zone analysis I spent the majority of the time in my Tempo Z3 meaning i was working pretty hard.

HR zones strava

HAHA 🙂 Thats to funny because then you look at my pace distribution & I spent all day essentially at my recovery pace at slower than a 9:38 pace 😛 .

This is real elevation & I learned really fast on this trip to throw pace out the window. But wow, it was all worth it. The views & experience in itself was worth every bit of effort i had to leave out there on the trail.

Mt. Haleakala from Lahaina Pali TrailThe trail itself was incredible, challenging, scenic and just plain amazing. As far as going up it was concerned its essentially run on the sections that aren’t to steep and power walk the sections that are. I actually did this trail run twice & the first time was quite wet going up so caution is highly recommended. On top of the rain which falls at times, there is little to no vegetation on this west side slope. Its very rocky which means it can be slippery when wet as well. And if thats not bad enough ( by the way at no point did anything suck 🙂 ) but once you start getting close to the top thats when the wind starts. Apparently there are now 24 Wind Turbines which you don’t realize how big they are till you’re standing right next to them. These turbines serve about 18000 people on the island with power.

This slideshow are pictures taken from my two hikes up the initial slope and getting to the top where the turbines are. Thats a round trip of around 6 miles & would say use caution & perhaps if you’re new to running trails take a buddy with you. The fun however is still to come. Oh & remember to bring food & water. There is none available on this route and there are no restrooms.

Past The Turbines

Once your over the top & past the turbines the mountain is somewhat flat at the top for about half a mile and you can actually run if the wind isn’t to strong. Once you get through this section where there are a few roads which are used by service vehicles for the turbines the terrain changes quite a bit. Down the initial west side slope there was some green but down the east side it honestly looks like Mars. Its dry, windy, steep and as the plaque at the start said, its Zig Zag trail big time.

If you manage to get to the top around sunrise its well worth the early wake up. The sunrise over Haleakala ( house of the sun ) is fantastic & breathtaking. Getting down to the bottom was quite challenging as you can see from the pictures its very rocky and very steep. The fun however for me was at this point I was only half way. It was time to turn around and head back the same way I came. I had spoken to a couple that I passed and they mentioned in the past they’ve dropped a car at this point so that they didn’t have to go all the way back. Thats what i call lazy. 🙂

Rocky pathway at Lahaina Pali TrailThis was such an amazing experience i cant wait to take my girls up there for a run one day. We truly love Hawaii & all it has to offer. Its our favorite place no doubt to go on family vacations.

More to come

I will be posting more trail runs i did while out here on this trip. Makawoa State Forest Preserve / Hahakapoa Recreational area, Mahana ridge trail, Kaanapali coffee plantations & more.

Call for comments :

What did you think of this trail?

Have you run this route?

Whats your favorite trail run?

What gear can you never go running without?

This was certainly one of the highlights for me on this trip & look forward to running it again in the next couple years. I leave you with this view.

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