Zipline Adventures on Maui

The most beginner-friendly zipline in the central valley is the Maui Zipline (1670 Honoapi‘ilani Hwy., 808/633-2464), within the grounds of the Maui Tropical Plantation. This five-line zipline course is affordable at only $90, and children as young as five years old and as light as 50 pounds can take part in the adventure. As you might expect, a course that caters to such young children won’t have the same element of extremism as some of the other courses, but the fact that the guides also introduce educational elements into the program (such as the weather patterns of the area and lessons on the surrounding plant species) makes this is a great option for families traveling with children. Cable lengths range 300-900 feet, and there are two cables running parallel to each other so you can go at the same time as a friend or loved one.

Maui offers beginner friendly ziplines.
Maui offers beginner friendly ziplines. Photo © Mike Morris, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

For those who want to go big or go home, the eight-line Flyin Hawaiian Zipline (1670 Honoapi‘ilani Hwy., 808/463-4786, $185) covers 2.5 miles of West Maui mountainside and finishes in a different town. Guests meet at the Maui Tropical Plantation for a 4-by-4 ride back into Waikapu Valley where you will suit up for your midair journey across the mountain. Reservations are highly recommended.

In addition to views toward Haleakala, this zipline ecotour incorporates elements of habitat restoration for Hawaii’s native plants and works to remove nonnative species. The company champions sustainable, educational tourism, and the ecological element of the organization isn’t just something done to appear green—it’s the real deal.

The most enticing reason to book this tour is the ultra-long, cheek-clenching, three-screamer zipline that runs for more than 3,600 feet—the longest on the island. The lines aren’t parallel to each other (so you can’t watch your friend’s cheeks flap at 50 mph), and the elevation isn’t as high as the final, fifth line at Pi‘iholo, but you also get a short ATV ride at the end of the tour as they shuttle you from the town of Ma‘alaea back to Waikapu. Expect the tour to take 4-5 hours. Small snacks are included. The age limit is 10 years old and weight limit is 75-250 pounds.

Ha‘iku

Even though most of the adventure sports along Maui’s North Shore take place in the water, North Shore Zipline Company (2065 Kauhikoa Rd., 808/269-0671, closed Sun.) provides a course of seven ziplines that weave their way through the trees of a rural Ha‘iku location that at one time served as an island military base. The course here is family-friendly and caters mainly to first-time zippers. Children as young as five are welcome to participate as long as they’re accompanied by a paying adult. Don’t think that you won’t still get a rush, however, as you can hit speeds of up to 45 mph on the last line of the course, and the viewing platforms provide a unique vantage point for peering out over the rural section of mountainside.

Makawao

The largest zipline on the island with two lines that run parallel to each other is at Pi‘iholo Zipline Tours (799 Pi‘iholo Rd., 808/572-1717 or 800/374-7050, 7am-9pm daily) in the forested uplands above Makawao. There is a 4-line course that is more economical at $140, but if you’re going to spend the money and make the drive up here, you may as well spend the little bit extra to do the 5-line course ($190) where the last two lines offer a different thrill. The second to last line of the 5-line course zips for 1,420 feet to the base of Pi‘iholo Hill, where you are then driven to the top for a 360° view of the surrounding Makawao and Ha‘iku area. As if the view weren’t enough, the final pièce de résistance is a 2,800-foot zip that leaves your feet dangling over 600 feet above the forested ravine below. This is the longest side-by-side zipline in the state and well worth the experience. In order to be eligible to zip you need to be at least eight years old and between 75 and 275 pounds. Closed-toe shoes are required. Bring a jacket for the cool early morning hours. Complimentary coffee is provided at the site, and helmets equipped with GoPro cameras are available for an additional charge.

Makawao is on the windward side of the island and receives considerably more rain than Lahaina and Wailea. Trips continue to run rain or shine (and there are even small waterfalls in the ravine when it rains), so all you can do is cross your fingers and hope for the best. More than just ziplines, Pi‘iholo also offers canopy tours (808/270/8750) where you zip from tree stand to tree stand on either a 3-line ($90), 6-line ($135), or 9-line ($165) course through the treetops. For the ultimate test of strength and agility, combine a 3-line zipline course with a climb up the 42-foot military-style Tango Tower.

Kula

Farther up the mountainside on the road to Haleakala, Skyline Eco-Adventures (12 Kiopa‘a Pl., 808/878-8400, 7am-7pm daily) holds the distinction of not only being the original zipline course on Maui, but also the first one found anywhere in the United States. Here’s the good news when compared to Pi‘holo: At $95 it’s much cheaper. Although there are five lines, they are much tamer than the ones at Pi‘holo, the age limit is 10 years old (as compared to eight at Pi‘holo), you can’t ride side by side, and seeing as it’s located at 4,000 feet, you can’t have been scuba diving the day before. The weight limit for this course is 80-260 pounds. Still, this is a good option if you’re on a budget or it’s your first time ziplining.


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