Helewai Eco Tour

Explore Maui’s Native forest and private conservation lands through the eyes of a local guide and learn
about the thriving native ecosystem and watershed of Puʻu Kukui preserve. 

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Helewai Eco Tour Experience

Explore Maui’s Native forest and private conservation lands through the eyes of a local guide and learn about the thriving native ecosystem and watershed of Puʻu Kukui preserve.

On a two mile hike beneath a canopy of shade along the valley ridgeline, you will set your eyes upon a side of Hawaii you’ve never seen before. Beyond the vivid natural beauty and vistas, you will walk away with knowledge of the island’s sacred connection to water and the importance of nature conservation.

This personalized nature tour is designed for those who want to get a deeper insight into Maui’s native landscapes, local flora and fauna and water conservation efforts.

Much more than an eco tour, join us for a journey into the rich native forests of Hawaii and the ecology of water conservation lands. We are passionate about all things natural and do our best to blow you away with the diversity of the area. Complete your day with a visit to Honolua Bay to marvel at the ocean and enjoy a pineapple refreshment and snack.

“A peaceful, quiet and truly untouched Hawaiian Rainforest and Hawaiian experience.
I highly recommend this eco tour, a must see for all environmentally conscious and curious people.”

“If you’re the type of person who cares about the environment, loves the outdoors, and cares to learn about beautiful Maui and what its land has to offer, then this is the tour for you.”

“What an amazing and stunning learning experience!”

Hele wai means “to flow like water” in the Hawaiian language.

Water is Life

The early Polynesian settlers of the Hawaiian Islands identified water with wealth. Wai is the Hawaiian word for fresh water; waiwai means prosperity. Ola means life; wai ola is the water of life. The Hawaiians believed that all the land and the water belonged to the gods. The highest chief, ali’i nui, acted for the gods and ruled the land. Land use was governed in sections called ahupua’a, which usually extended from the upland summit peaks or ridge crests down to the outer edge of the reef. Within the ahupua’a boundaries, the maka ‘ainanana (commoners) had most of the resources they needed for survival.– fish from streams and reefs, fresh water and land to grow kalo and other crops, and forests for wood and medicinal herbs. The only resource people could not use freely within the ahupua’a was water. The rights to use water were overseen by a chief– the konohiki. When ahupua’a were combined to create a moku (district), the konohiki was responsible to the ali’i ‘ai moku.

The steady flow of streams from the land to the sa is important for freshwater marine organisms. The vital connection between the land and the sea has been disrupted in the last 200 years by a growing human population. The activities of people and feral animals in upland areas have muddied streams, killing some algae and stream life, and smothering reefs with eroded silt and mud. Some water uses, such as growing sugarcane or housing developments, divert a substantial amount of water from streams. The result is reduced streamflow and the loss of native stream life and productive marine fishing grounds. (Source: Wai Ola: The water of Life)

Honolua Ridgeline Hike

Explore, Enjoy and Learn about Maui’s connection with water on a stunning native Hawaiian nature trail.

Join a local guide on a hike through the West Maui Mountains along a private nature preserve, typically unseen by visitors to the island. Sweeping vistas, Hawaiian cultural knowledge and outdoor adventure await. After “talking story” with your guide, you will walk away with the real information about what a healthy watershed is—and what it takes to protect it.
On this 2 mile round trip hike, you will discover the flora and fauna of a breathtaking native Hawaiian rainforest cherished by our island communities for its natural resources and beauty. This unique experience will highlight the sacred connection to water from the top of the mountain peak to the ocean reefs below.

Much more than an eco tour, join us for a journey into the rich native forests of Hawaii and the ecology of water conservation lands. We are passionate about all things natural and do our best to blow you away with the diversity of the area. Complete your day with a visit to Honolua Bay to marvel at the ocean and enjoy a pineapple refreshment and snack.

Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve

Pu’u Kukui is Hawaiian for “Hill of Enlightenment”

At nearly 12, 000 acres, Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve is the largest private nature preserve in the state of Hawai’i, responsible for taking care of the most pristine watershed from mauka to ma kai of Mauna Kahālāwai on Mauiʻs West side. The unique biodiversity of the area is extremely rare and a wonder to see. This area is a vital water source for Mauiʻs community and one of the wettest spots on earth and is home to some of the rarest endangered flora and fauna in the islands. Over 300 native plant species can be found in the preserve; including nine plant species on the US Endangered Species List and Hawai’i’s only mammal species: the ‘Ope’a’pe’a or Hawaiian Hoary Bat and the ‘ilioholoikauaua or Hawaiian Monk Seal, both of which are endangered. The preserve hosts many native species, some in natural habitats as pristine as when the first Polynesians arrived on the islands about 1,500 years ago.

Pu’u Ku Kui serves as the source of both irrigation and potable water for Kapalua Resort, Kapala Farms, Maui Pineapple Co. and West Maui residents from Kapalua to Honokowai. Conservation endeavors include non-native invasive species control, weed control, monitoring, research and most importantly protecting rare species.

Reviews

What People are saying

Highlight of our trip! My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the 3 hours we spent hiking (easy hike) with Kevin in what feels like his personal forest. He knows every aspect of it – its flora and fauna, its geological, agricultural, social and political history – and is a master guide and talented educator. We came away with a greater understanding and appreciation for the delicate balance between the indigenous and the exotic that created (and hopefully will endure in) the beauty of this island. And through this, we came to appreciate the uniqueness of Hawaii and its cultures. Highly recommended!
Incredibly unique experience to hear about and see conservation land on private land! We learned a lot about the history of the authentic/invasive/foreign vegetation and the importance of the watershed conservation in the West Maui Mountains (and Hawaii in general). Really changed the way I think about water runoff and how downstream ecosystems are affected by changes in that run off.

Our guide Kevin was very knowledgeable and passionate about this area having a direct family history connection to it.

Hike is pretty easy. Hiking or running shoes are still a good idea with the few slippery spots if it’s wet which it usually is.

We really enjoyed the tour!

Kevin has more than a deep knowledge of Maui’s history, botany and culture. He is a wonderful story eller and guide…and he’s a really nice guy who has answers to your questions. He speaks to the efforts to restore the native species to this island that can preserve the habitat and the resources on which those who live here depend. An outing you should not miss! P.S. not too rigorous a walk!
We have done guided hikes on Maui before but this one really hit the sweet spot of a gorgeous not-too-taxing hike and great learning about Maui’s flora and history. Kevin has such enthusiasm for Hawaii and nature, and was a fun and educational tour guide.
Before you look at booking the stereotypical luau or snorkeling, book this hike. Not only is the hike super accessible for all level hikers, but you leave with tangible knowledge and a connection to this island even locals can appreciate. This hike is beautiful at every turn and Kevin has a wealth of information that will just blow your mind. More people should know about this place and how hard they work to preserve it. Mahalo Kevin for one of the best experiences I’ve had on the island.
Staying at the Westin Kaanapali Resort. The concierge recommended this hike. We loved it! Kevin is so knowledgeable about plant life on Maui and the importance of a healthy watershed. The views were spectacular, highly recommended!