The Olivine Pools, located on the north shore of Maui, is a hidden gem that offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the jagged lava rock formations dotting the coastline. Visitors can swim and relax in the tidal pools, which are naturally heated by the nearby volcanic activity. The area usually isn’t packed with visitors, so this might be a good getaway from the crowds of the more popular spots around the island of Maui.
The Olivine Pools is a great addition to any vacation that stops at Haleakala National Park. The Olivine Pools are about 45 miles west of the park’s main visitor center.
Getting to the Olivine Pools in Maui
The address of the Olivine Pools trailhead is Kahekii Highway, Wailuku, HI 96793. It is unmarked.
The GPS coordinates to the trailhead is 21.007461, -156.557477
The Olvine Pools are located in the West Maui Natural Area Reserve area of the Maui island of Hawaii.
To get to the Olivine Pools, you need to take the scenic and narrow (at places) Kahekii Highway (HI-340) to the vicinity of Honokohau, which is located between the towns of Kaanapali and Kapalua. This winding and scenic drive offers panoramic views of the West Maui Mountains and Pacific Ocean.
Parking is available at the trailhead, which is located near highway mile marker #14. There is room for maybe two dozen vehicles along both sides of the road. The dirt lot is quite small, so get there early if you want to score a great spot right at the trailhead.
The trailhead and parking lot has no restrooms, picnic tables, shelters, or anything like that. It is mostly just an unmarked stop along the highway.
ALERT: Check the Tide Table First!
You must check the local tide table before heading to the Olivine Pools. You should only visit the pools during low tide. Also be aware of when the next high tide is set to arrive so that you don’t get stuck in a dangerous situation unexpectedly. Rogue waves occur here occasionally as well, so always be cautious when visiting.
The Olivine Pools & Trailhead
The Olivine Pools Trailhead is located immediately from the small parking area. You’ll see abig yellow sign that reads:
Don’t Go Beyond This Point!
The ocean is hazardous under any conditions and may cause injury or death. The following hazardous conditions may exist: Slippery Rocks, High Surf, Crashing Wave Area, Large Waves on Ledge, Strong Current.
So anyway… proceed at your own risk. The trail is not paved. Right after you begin on the trail, you’ll see a fork in the path. I suggest going right on it – it seems to be the more stable of the two directions.
The trail to the pools is a moderate difficulty hike, with about a half mile trek each direction. The trail winds through lush vegetation and rocky formations, and offers views of the ocean from above as you descend to sea level. The trail is steep and rocky, and can be slippery after rain or the morning dew, so please wear proper footwear (ie. not flip flops) on your way down to the ocean’s edge. There are no sandy beaches here.
While it is steep, if the weather is nice, and you have the right type of footwear, most people should be able to make the trip down to the natural tide pools.
|Hiking Distance||1 mile (1.6 km)|
|Hiking Duration||0.5-1 hour|
|Route Type||Out and Back|
|Total Elevation Climb||141 feet (43 m)|
At the end of the Olivine Pools trail, visitors will reach several saltwater tide pools surrounded by dark lava rock. The pools are filled with crystal-clear blue-green water that is naturally heated by the nearby volcanic activity, making them the perfect place to take a swim when the tide is out. Do not attempt to swim during high tide, and always pay attention to what the ocean is doing. People have been swept out to sea by a rogue wave before, so please pay attention when on the rocks.
There will probably be fish and other marine wildlife in the pools too. These tide pools fill up during high tide, and as the tide recedes, wildlife can get trapped until the next high tide event.
How’s the Weather in Maui?
When it comes to weather patterns in the area, Maui has a tropical climate, with warm temperatures and abundant rainfall. During the summer months, temperatures typically range from the mid-70s to the low 80s, while during the winter months, temperatures can drop into the 60s. Rain is common throughout the year, so visitors should bring appropriate clothing and gear, especially if they plan to hike. Rain will make the trail down to the pools quite treacherous.
Other Nearby Attractions
In addition to the Maui Olivine Pools, there are several other trails and points of interest nearby. One popular trail is the Honokohau Falls Trail, which is a 2.5-mile hike that leads to a waterfall. Another popular one is the Kapalua Coastal Trail, which offers scenic views of the coast and is a great place for bird watching. Visitors can also head north on HI-340 to see the Nakalele Blowhole, which is a spot where the powerful ocean blows water sky-high like a whale’s blowhole.