La Perouse Bay, Hawaii

Maui, HI
Length: 4.60 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

[Total: 5    Average: 3.8/5]

ACTIVITIES: Hiking, splashing, snorkeling, paddling

LENGTH OF HIKE: 4.6 miles

OUT AND BACK OR LOOP: Out and back











POTENTIAL CHILD OR BABY HAZARDS: Sunshine, the ocean, tripping hazards

GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Shade for carrier, umbrella, plenty of water, sand toys

La Perouse is hardly a Maui secret, but it does take an adventurous spirit to seek it out and go beyond the first mile of trail. Located at the dead end of a bumpy dirt road past the famous “Big Beach” and through the Ahihi Kinau Reserve, look
for the horse corral and the stone monument to park your car and begin your journey down a trail that goes through lava beds that formed two centuries ago when Haleakala last erupted. This area is called Keone ‘o‘io Bay by the Hawaiians and got the name La Perouse Bay from a French explorer named Captain Jean-François de Galaup in 1786. De Galaup is said to be the first Westerner to land on Maui.

You have two choices in the beginning of this hike. You can take the shoreline trail for a shorter adventure, or follow a slight detour around some ancient Hawaiian ruins. In the first 0.25 mile on the shoreline, keep an eye out for a blowhole that will delight a toddler. Just make sure they keep their distance because the force of water could snatch a little one right off the rocky shoreline. This is also a
great place to stop for sunsets.

The longer version of this trail that ends up at Kanaio Beach is exposed and much of it is made of volcanic rock, so it can be pretty hot. Bring sunscreen, hat, and consider a frame carrier with a sunshade. Also consider doing this hike either early
in the morning or late in the day when it’s cooler. Later in the day, it will also be quite windy as it’s often the case in Maui. If you need to cut the hike short, the first sandy beach is at 0.5 mile into the hike. There you’ll see reef fish and sea turtles frolicking in the water. Come early in the morning, and you will most likely spot dolphins snacking on small schools of fish for breakfast. If you’re able to push on, you’ll come to a shaded grove of ragged trees and the remains of rock walls. Be on  the lookout for packs of wild goats grazing, and you might even spot pygmy deer in the area.

Once you get past the first mile of the trail, expect the crowds to thin out as most tourists will just hike a little ways out and call it a day, turning around to head back for the sandy beaches that are easier to access and cold poolside drinks. (But this is not you. That’s why we are sharing this fun adventure.) Journey on and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views and a relatively empty sandy beach to chill out on, a rarity in this part of Maui.

Visit this trail between November and February and you are sure to see whales spouting off the coastline when you stop and look for them. “My boy loves to climb, so the boulders are everywhere on this hike. These also could make great nursing benches if you needed to stop,” says Hike it Baby Maui ambassador Tommy Barton.

One thing to keep in mind is that lava rock is sharp, so be careful of little walkers stumbling off of the trail or venturing out onto the rocks. Also, lava does have plant life growing on it (that’s why you will see so many goats out there grazing), so while you will see many trails deviating off of the main trail, try to stay on the main one so as not to disrupt any growth that is happening in the lava rocks.

Our family loves this hike because it has everything, including several beaches, forest, shrub land, and lava rock. Taylor, our wild boy, always yells, “Goat go BAAHH BAH BAAAAAHHHH!” when we see the goats running by. The rock scrambling and tide pools are great, and, of course, there are epic vistas of the South Shore.” —TOMMY BARTON

Bring headlamps, and hike this trail at the very end of the day into the night for the  ultimate easy to-get-to total stargazing experience with no crowds. Hopefully, the little one falls asleep in your frame pack from the sound of the waves crashing on the sand, so the parental units get a romantic semi-alone evening in the “wild.”

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Dirt
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Excellent
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights


Trail Contributor

[Total: 5    Average: 3.8/5]

Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.


Trail Map