Iao Valley

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ʻĪao Valley (English: Iao, Hawaiian: ʻĪ-ao: "cloud supreme", pronounced similar to "EE-ow") is a lush, stream-cut valley in West Maui, Hawaii, located 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) west of Wailuku. Because of its natural beauty and historical significance, it has become a popular tourist location.

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The state park is located on 6.2 acres (2.5 ha) at the end of ʻĪao Valley Road (Highway 32). The ʻĪao Needle (Kūkaemoku) is a famous landmark in the state park, a vegetation-covered lava remnant rising 1,200 feet (370 m) from the valley floor or 2,250 feet (690 m) when measured from sea level. The needle is surrounded by the cliffs of the West Maui Mountains, an extinct volcano. One can take a short trail (ʻĪao Needle Lookout Trail and Ethnobotanical Loop) to a windy overlook. Park hours are from 7 am to 7 pm.[1]

Rainforest

ʻĪao Valley is covered in dense rainforest, most of which consists of introduced vegetation on the valley floor. The Puʻu Kukui summit area at the valley's head receives an average 386 inches (9.8 m) of rainfall per year,[2] making it the state's second wettest location after Mount Waiʻaleʻale.[3] Much of this rainfall ends up flowing into the ʻĪao Stream. Trails in the State Park run alongside ʻĪao Stream and through the forest.

History

The Hawaiian god Kāne is considered to be the procreator and the provider of life. He is associated with wai (fresh water) as well as clouds, rain, streams and springs. Kanaloa, the Hawaiian god of the underworld, is represented by the phallic stone of the ʻĪao Needle.

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