Maui Wedding Planning Trip: The Magic of Iao Valley

I'm so excited to finally get to share our visit to Iao Valley with all of you. This place is truly magical. You must go there when visiting Maui. Once we had made our way out of the airport and we were on the hunt for Geste Shrimp Truck (another must when you are on the island), I noticed these beautiful mountains and commented on how much I liked the looks of them. I even took the picture below of them. Little did I know that they were part of Iao Valley and we would be there in just a couple days.

The drive up to Iao Valley is very pretty. Also known as the Valley of Supreme Light, I could see why. There is so much to see. Really, make sure you check this place out on your next trip to Maui. I've even been thinking about going back there on our next trip. 

When you get to the end of the road there is a parking lot that you pay to park in. Or you can park along the street for free. We just paid. It was only $5 and we didn't have to deal with other parking. It was also really close to the entrance. Every once in a blue moon, I like to go the easy route. Yeah, those who know me know that's not very often! :) 

You will see the Needle as soon you get up there. Well, unless it's cloudy. Clouds like to settle in around the Needle. To help prevent that, go up early in the day. There are also a lot less people there early in the day which makes for a more pleasurable experience. 

Iao Needle as you first come into the parking lot. 

Iao Valley

Do take the walk up to the look-out point to the Needle. It's not very far up. No, really. I think it took us about 10 minutes. It's quick and easy. Plus, the view at the top is amazing. As you can see from the picture below, it gets you much closer to the Needle. 

On our way back, we went down a staircase that took us in a different direction. We ended up down by a creek that there was a path off the paved path near by. We decided to do a little investigating and ventured off on the unpaved path. Little did we know that you aren't really suppose to go off the unpaved paths. It wasn't like there was a posted sign or anything like that...

We walked along the creek and then up on into the forested area. Once in there I came across a petroglyph  that I pointed out to Drew. There were "offerings" of lava rock wrapped in ti leaves left under the petroglyph. Does anyone know anything about this petroglyph? Are the offerings left by locals or tourists who think they are participating in some local custom when there really isn't one? Was it started by hippies? Hey, I can say that. I lived on Maui with my hippie mom and she so would have so done something like that.  

I tried to find information on-line about the offerings and didn't come up with anything. We did not leave an offering. I didn't know what it was for and really don't think you should participate in something that you have no idea about. After all, Iao Valley has one of the bloodiest histories in the Hawaiian Islands and there have been all kinds of ghost sightings in the area. I am so not about to mess with that! 

Drew and the Rainbow Warrior petroglyph. 

That I did find when researching this petroglyph is that it is a rainbow man or warrior. It is interpreted to be the Keeper of the Aina or of the land and its people. This petroglyph can also be found in the Big Island's lava fields. There is an arch or rainbow that begins and rests on the man's shoulders. This suggests that he is responsible for the earth as a rainbow warrior and reveres ancient wisdom of the world's cultures and practices in them actively in peace, harmony and enlightenment for all of the community.

The rainbow in Hawaii is often linked to transformation and peace. Hawaiian legend predicts that the return of rainbow warriors to earth will bring big change to the world as we know it. It is believed that babies born with rainbows over their homes and are accompanied by rainbows throughout their lives are destined to become great chieftains. 

Interestingly enough, while I noticed the rainbow warrior right away, others walked right past it. Never even knowing it was there.  Does that say something? I don't know. But Drew says I am always seeing things that everyone else misses. Either way, I'm happy I saw this along our way. 

Remember how I said that there weren't any signs posted that told us to not go off the paved paths? Well, we were wrong. There was. We just couldn't see it from the way that we came on the path. Maybe we weren't meant to see it because we were meant to venture off and find the rainbow warrior. I like to think things happen for a reason. 

At the end of the path were some very nice gardens. There were plants with the biggest leaves we'd ever seen. We also saw a gecko on a banana flower. This was actually the only gecko we saw while on Maui. Sure we saw lots of other lizards, but not geckos. I thought they were suppose to be over Hawaii! 

Most of the time that we were there the sun was hidden behind the clouds. At least they weren't blocking the Needle. Just before we were leaving the sun graced us and came out from behind the clouds. Doesn't it look amazing? I can see now whey they call this the Valley of Supreme Light. 

Also as we were starting to leave, we started hearing a cock crowing. As we got closer to the car, he got louder. I kept an eye out for him hoping to see where he was. Just as we got to the car, I saw him up in a tree! Gotta love the cocks and hens freely roaming on the islands They were the whole reason we decided to have a Conk n Hen party, but more on that later!


Stayed tuned for the exciting conclusion of our Wedding Planning Trip! Where will our morning take us after our visit to Iao Valley? Maybe to another side of the island.... Tune in tomorrow for another exciting conclusion!

Have you ever been to Iao Valley? If you haven't you certainly should!

All photos are personal photos.

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