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Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area, Maui

Definitely off the beaten track, Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area is located upland from Kula, the center of Maui's cool and misty Upcountry. The Recreation Area is comprised of ten acres of conifer forest near the Kula Forest Reserve at an elevation of 6,200 and feels more like Northern California than a tropical island.

Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area, accessible by four-wheel drive, provides camping and lodging facilities which lie within the fog belt of the Kua Forest Reserve. Visitors will enjoy mountain hiking with scenic views as well as in season bird and pig hunting. Photographers will want to bring their cameras. The Recreation Area offers access to a number of trails within the reserve, including through a planned conifer forest. Other facilities at the site include picnic tables and restrooms.

The single cabin at Polopoli Spring sleeps ten people. The cabin has a kitchen-living room, a bathroom with a shower and a bedroom. There is a wood stove, gas hot water heater and a gas oven. There is no electricity, so you must bring flashlights, as candles and lanterns are not permitted. You must also bring your own drinking water and bedding. Reservations are required (808) 984-8109.

The camping area accommodates up to 20 people. A camping permit must be obtained through the Maui District of Hawaii State Parks: 54 S. High St. #101, Wailuku, HI 96793. ph: (808) 984-8109. The permit serves as your campsite reservation.

Located on Maui's tallest mountain range, the temperatures at Polipoli Spring can reach below freezing on winter nights and is generally 20 degrees cooler than coastal areas. Layers of clothing, gloves and hats for camping and hiking are a must. The park, which is on the western slopes of Haleakala, is accessed from Waipoli Road via Kekaulike Avenue.

It may be a bit chilly, but the beauty and seclusion of this Best (Hidden) Place are worth a shiver or two.

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