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Maui Sightseeing Series - Hosmer's Grove

Enjoy a scenic tour up Haleakala's slopes to a fascinating grove of trees and Hawaiian honeycreepers.
December 23, 2016

Maui Sightseeing Series - Hosmer's Grove

Not all days are good for the beach, especially during the winter, when the island tends to get more showers. On those days, you may find that an Upcountry Maui sightseeing trip is more inviting, as long as you wear layers. Hosmer's Grove is one of Haleakala's most interesting sites, located just inside Haleakala National Park. You'll find it perched on the upper slopes of the mountain on the way up to the summit.

Once you arrive, you'll discover a small forest, or grove, as the name implies. A surprising variety of tree species has become established there, as a part of an experiment in forestation back from the days when Hawaii was a territory, not a state. There are several mainland species, mixed in with endemic Hawaiian plant and bird life. The grove features a charming campsite and several hiking trails.

On the trails, you'll find trees planted by Ralph Hosmer, Hawaii's first forester from the territorial days. His goal was to create a timber industry up on the mountain, and he planted spruce, pine, cedar and eucalyptus. Many of his trees are still thriving today, but only 20 out of 86 species managed to survive. The others didn't fare well with the soil composition and the fungi species, with others failing because their shallow roots couldn't withstand some of the storms that brought high winds.

The best way to enjoy the tranquil scenery is to take a 30-minute walk along the half-mile main trail through the park. It's a pretty easy jaunt, as Maui's hiking trails go. While the start of the trail is shrouded in non-native forest, the end brings you to a gorgeous landscape full of Hawaiian shrubland that looks the same as it did in centuries past. You'll also find numbered posts and plaques along the trail, and they can tell you a little bit about the species you're seeing.

Some of the larger native species include the vibrant 'ohia, the majestic koa, and the charming olapa growing in the gulches. If you're lucky, you may even spot some of Maui's native Hawaiian honeycreepers, which can be found nowhere else in the world. Species like the bright red i'iwi are drawn to the similarly red blossoms of the 'ohia to feed on their nectar.

If you'd like to learn more about this remarkable site, you can visit the state website for Hosmer's Grove, which talks about camping. You don't have to spend the night, however. This destination makes for a wonderful day trip, and half the joy is taking in the views on the winding drive up the mountain. You can best appreciate them if you hire our Maui transportation service so you can kick back, relax and take in the sights on the way up and down the mountain. If you do opt to visit Hosmer's Grove, make sure you dress warm, because daytime highs are 50-65°F. During the winter, it gets even cooler. As long as you don't mind the temperatures, the journey is worth it, especially if you enjoy a good forest hike.

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