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The Great Outdoors

Hiking is nothing short of spectacular on the Valley Isle, and you'll probably want to spend some time out of your car and on some of the island's many trails.

They'll take you through amazingly diverse terrain, from the desolate moonscape of Haleakala Crater to the lushest oceanside paradise. There are plenty of short hikes that don't involve camping, but if you really want to get away from it all, you can pitch a tent or rent a cabin in some of the planet's loveliest spots.

A favorite hiking destination is Haleakala, where more than 30 miles of trails lead around and through the crater, and down to the ocean through Kaupo Gap. (Make sure you have a ride arranged there; hitch-hiking opportunities are few and far between.) Upcountry around Kula also has great trails through forests of redwoods, eucalyptus, and other imported and native trees in Polipoli Forest.

Near Hana, the Waianapanapa Trail winds along the coast, following parts of the ancient "King's Highway." Trails lead into lush tropical territory around 'Oheo Gulch with its waterfalls and pools. In West Maui, trails run into 'Iao Valley and also through remote areas. Down south, hike the King's Highway Coastal Trail which begins at La Perouse Bay.

Camping facilities are varied in all these areas, from tent sites with no facilities to cabins equipped with stoves, water, fuel, cots, and toilets. Cabin reservations must be made well in advance, however, though some areas are more in demand than others.

Camping outfitters rent equipment and also provide guided hiking and camping tours. The tours offer a great way to learn more about the natural history and ecology of the island, and an escape from freeze-dried meals. However far you go off the paved roads, you'll find great beauty and inspiring scenery. Take a hike!

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