History, Culture & the Outdoors

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Iao Valley State Monument
This is the Needle cliff formation, which is the main attraction at the park. 4.50 Hawaii ratingStar
Iao Valley State Monument guyonthego

This small park is a few acres in size and is located on the western side of Maui. The primary attraction is a distinctive eroded rock formation called the Iao Needle, which is pictured at right.

In addition to the Iao Needle, the park includes a garden area that features plants introduced by the Polynesian settlers. There also is a short trail that leads to a river, also pictured at right.

In 1790, a major battle was fought here between Kamehameha the Great from the island of Hawaii and Maui forces. While Kamehameha ultimately prevailed in his drive to unify the Hawaiian islands, the fighting here was so bitter that the bodies of fallen soldiers are said to have dammed the river. The park has a sign that commemorates and briefly explains the battle.

Iao Valley park has very limited offerings. Even if you are in the area, your time likely will be better spent visiting other sites. The view of the Needle is impressive on a clear day, but that can be seen in a photograph. If you still want to check out the park, it can be seen in about 20-30 minutes via a short walk. The trail to the Iao Needle viewpoint is about half a mile and includes a number of steps, so if your mobility is limited, it probably won’t be a good choice.
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February 2018
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