Pilale Bay – Maui

The eastern (windward) coastline of Maui is considerably different from the west-facing coast of the island. This is fairly typical of the major islands that make up Hawaii. East-facing shores are buffeted most of the year by the trade winds, which bombard the landscape with moisture and their plunge into the Pacific Ocean is more abrupt than in the west.
The part of Maui I’m speaking of is the well-known route of Hana Highway, a circuitous ribbon of asphalt that leads from Kahului to Hana. After crossing under the final approach path to the international airport, the pavement turns east. The last town of significance is Paia, a small hamlet with eateries and surf shops. Beyond this point the landscape has few indications of habitation, but there are many who live along this route.
My curiosity of what lies between the highway and the shore along this track came when flew in a single engine plane, at low altitude, along the coast. I was astounded at how many obscure roads branched off the highway, dead-ending at a remote bluff or point that overlooks a desolate bay. Peahi, the surf spot better known as “Jaws” is in the general area of my first adventure down an inconspicuous (paved) road.
After doing my research on Google maps I followed Hana highway to Haumana road and turned toward the water. Branching to the right, Kulike road leads you to an overlook at Pilale Bay. Although, there is a short walk through an almost overgrown path to the point. The trees and shrubs give way to vertical cliffs, and the view of the secluded bay is astounding.
The path to the valley floor is surprisingly an easy walk down and a little more strenuous coming back up. When you reach Kapalaalaea stream the trail becomes more difficult, overgrown and blocked by large rocks. I had to wade through part of the way, but once I got around the rocks I was back on solid ground.
The beach isn’t sunbathing friendly. Most of the waterfront is made up of large boulders. There are some signs of habitation at some time, but nothing looked to recent.
If you are looking for an isolated beach which isn’t great for sunbathing, Pilale Bay provides all the tropical wilderness and solitude you could ask for. The path from the end of the road is easily negotiated, no snakes or big spiders and not a soul to be seen.

Watch the video to get a sense of this incredible place.


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