Makawao, Maui – Cowboy Livin’ In Upcountry Maui
Located on the slopes of Haleakala up from Maui’s North shore, Makawao is a small town rich in culture and history. With a population of close to 8,000 people, Makawao is one of the smaller towns on Maui. However, don’t let its size fool you; Makawao has a lot to offer visitors and locals alike.
Here’s everything you need to know about this charming Maui town.
Makawao, meaning “edge or beginning of the forest,” is found in the lush Upcountry area of Maui. Situated in the ahupuaʻa, or ancient Hawaiian district, of the same name, Makawao is historically known for its valuable resources like hardwood and rich soil. During the 1850s, agriculture and farming started to become commercialized leading to an influx of ranchers and horses. Makawao quickly became known for its paniolo (cowboy) culture, and by the early 1900s, it was home to more than 60 ranches.
Today, Makawao is still home to a number of ranches and farms, as well as a number of art galleries, shops, and restaurants. It has also become a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to Haleakala National Park and Upcountry Maui’s many attractions. Every year, Makawao hosts a number of events including the famous Makawao Rodeo.
What to Do in Makawao
There is no shortage of things to do in Makawao. Visitors can enjoy arts and crafts at one of the town’s many galleries (check out Viewpoints Gallery and watch glass blowing at Hot Island Glass), go on a hike through Makawao Forest, or spend an afternoon sampling local wines at one of Upcountry’s Maui wineries. For those looking for a more laid-back experience, simply strolling through downtown Makawao and taking in the town’s old-time cowboy charm is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon (grab a cookie from the Maui Cookie Lady!)
Makawao is one of Maui’s hidden gems. This small town may be off the beaten path, but it offers visitors a unique glimpse into Hawaii’s past with its cowboy culture and historic downtown. There are also plenty of things to do in Makawao, from gallery hopping to dining to hiking through a breathtaking forest. So next time you’re looking for something different to do on Maui, head on up to Upcountry and explore everything that Makawao has to offer.