Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
90.00 ft (27.43 m)
Trail type
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The hike to Ili'ili'opae Heiau traces the lowest section of the Wailau Trail up a road and into a thick Java plum forest before a final climb to the historical heiau.

At 22 feet in height, having used over 90 million stones in its construction, and dating from around 1300 AD, Ili'ili'opae Heiau is the largest and oldest heiau on the island of Moloka'i.

The walk begins from the highway. There are no marked parking areas at the unmarked gated road beside Mapelehu Stream, so it's up to the visitor to park their car out of the way. The hike follows the dirt road for the first section, which is both a driveway to homes up the road as well as the first portion of the Wailau Trail that climbs high into the island's peaks.

Opposite the driveway to the first house is a sign pointing out that the trail enters the stream and passes into the forest here. The path soon comes to the ominous wall towering from the jungle.

Follow the path to the top, and the scale of Ili'ili'opae is impressive. It's said that the heiau altar was dedicated to Lono, the Hawaiian god of fertility, and that priests would oversee the ritual sacrifice of men on this altar.

From here, retrace your route back to the road entrance.

There are no amenities of any kind along this hike. You will likely get a bit muddy, and be extremely cautious about approaching the stream crossing if during or just after a rainy period.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Uniquely historic. One of the island's easier hiking routes.


Trail can be hard to follow.

Trailhead Elevation

40.00 ft (12.19 m)

Highest point

150.00 ft (45.72 m)


Historically significant
Native artifacts

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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