The 10 acre Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Monument Park is home to two rare monuments of pre-contact Hawaii. But tucked away in central Wailuku, the parj can be easily missed by visitors.
Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau Monument State Park is a quiet place. Lacking the facilities and trails of some of Maui’s other state parks, it doesn’t attract the crowds.
However, the state park offers a rare chance to explore pre-contact Hawaii and enjoy an afternoon stroll in a serene atmosphere.
Take a look at this guide to discover what you will find at the Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau Monument State Park and whether it’s worth a visit for you.
Where Is The Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Monument Park?
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The Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Monument Park can be found in Wailuku, at the mouth of the ‘Iao Stream. Wailuku is in Central Maui, not far from Kahului town and Kahului airport.
The park is 10 acres and is most notable for containing two heiau religious temples, a rare glimpse at life in pre-contact Hawaii.
What Are The Heiau’s At The Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Monument Park?
The state park is home to two heiau—ancient Hawaiian religious sites. Heiau were constructed for a variety of reasons, from treating the sick to human sacrifice.
Often associated with Hawaiian royalty, the use of the heiau has been adapted throughout the centuries.
Due to their association with the Hawaiian religion, many heiau were destroyed in the early 1800s. Which is why it’s so exciting that this state park is home to two!
Although the heiau may have once been grand structures, there’s little now left behind.
The Heiau’s Of The Haleki’i-Pihana State Park
One of the big draws of the Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Monument Park is the chance to discover two remnants of ancient Hawaiian civilization and religion. The two heiau are known as Haleki’i and Pihana.
Pihana, which roughly translates to “gathering,” is thought to have first been constructed around 1260, before being expanded from 1410 onwards.
It once served as a sacrificial temple, or a luakini. Haleki’i, the “image house” or “Tiki house”, would have been built at the same time.
Over the centuries, both heiau would have been expanded, rebuilt, and had their use changed and adapted to the needs of the Maui people. During periods of interisland warfare, the heiau were even moved to face the islands they were battling against.
Nowadays, there is little left of the heiau. Visitors can see the rocky base of the heiau structure, and small remnants of the walls and floor.
It might not be much, but it does provide visitors with an opportunity to understand the size and importance of the once great temples.
Signs at the park teach visitors about the previous use of the heiau and how the religious sites were adapted over the years.
What Is There To Do At Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Park?
Most visitors to Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Park come to soak up the scenery and serenity. The park offers views of Central Maui and across to the ocean in one direction, and panoramas of the West Maui Mountains in the other.
The scenery is epic, and the well-paved trails of the park make it a good place for a casual stroll. There isn’t much hiking in the area, but the laid-back atmosphere makes it a welcome place to stretch your legs.
The state park is also a good place for a picnic away from the crowds. Tucked away in Wailuku, and without the waterfalls and tricky trails of Maui’s other state parks, Haleki’i-Pihana can be a little overlooked.
So, if you’re looking for an atmospheric spot to tuck into your lunch, consider heading to the Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Park.
While you’re there, make sure to check out the heiau. The state park includes information boards providing a brief history of the heiau, underlining their importance to the Hawaiians.
What Facilities Are At Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Park?
Visiting families should be aware that Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Park doesn’t have any facilities. However, it isn’t far away from Wailuku.
Wailuku might not be a major tourist destination, but it is becoming the place for hip visitors looking to get away from the flashy resorts.
If you’re interested in visiting the heiau, consider stopping by Wailuku and seeing what it has to offer. Or grabbing a bite to eat and using the restroom before driving back to your accommodation.
Can I Drive To Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Park?
Sort of. You can drive toward Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Park. Head down Highway 340, Waiehu Beach Road, from Wailuku, until you cross a bridge taking you over the ‘Iao Stream.
Turn the first left onto Kuhio Place, and then left again to the end of Hea Place.
However, the entrance gate to the park is normally locked, so you can’t drive into the park. You must park on the road and walk in.
The park itself is pedestrian access only. As a relatively flat park, most walkers should be able to leave the car and proceed on foot.
Is There An Entrance Fee At Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Park?
There is no entrance fee to visit Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Park, making it a great place for a chilled out afternoon stroll.
With the panoramic views and lack of crowds, Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Park is good for visitors who want a break from crowded beaches and difficult hikes.
And you get the opportunity to discover a slice of old Hawaii in its original setting (and without a museum entrance fee).
Should You Visit The Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Park?
Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Park is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in learning about pre-contact Hawaii. Heiau are rare on Maui, and this is a unique opportunity to see two in one go.
The structures might not be what they once were, but in the serene environment of this often overlooked state park, you can get a sense of the importance they held.
With no entrance fee and some exceptional scenery both makai (toward the sea), and mauka (toward the land), it’s definitely worth making a trip to Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Park.