I first discovered Banyan trees when I spent a few months on the Big Island of Hawai’i in 2010. These massive trees were unlike any I’d ever seen before, but when I left the Big Island I forgot all about them… until moving back to Hawaii in 2014. They remind me a bit of the magnificent Angel Oak in Johns Island, South Carolina, but they’re also entirely different — they really have to be seen to be fully appreciated. I have tried numerous times to capture with my camera what I feel is an ‘accurate’ portrayal of the stunning aura of Banyans, but don’t feel that any of my photos have quite captured it…yet! I’m definitely not giving up 🙂
Lahaina’s famous Banyan Tree Park is home to one of the largest banyan trees in the entire world. The magnificent tree was brought over from India and planted in front of the Lahaina Courthouse in 1873. It was 8 feet tall when it was planted, but now has 12 major trunks, is the size of a city block, and stands over 60 feet tall. A landmark in this colorful west-Maui town, the tree provides extensive shade that, in addition to providing a cool resting spot for visitors, is the site of frequent art exhibits and other events.
Lahaina was the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom from 1820 and 1845, and has a rich cultural history. The banyan tree has been a landmark for over 200 years, and regardless of what area of Maui you’re visiting, it is worth a trip to the west side just to see it. At first glance, visitors would assume that the park is full of numerous large trees, but the marvel of the banyan is that it is actually all the same tree. In addition to growing upwards toward the sky, banyans grow sideways, with new roots growing out of the trunk to the ground, where they take root and form new trunks. This creates what looks like a mini-forest — all from just one tree.
The park has numerous benches and picnic tables, and overlooks the Lahaina harbor, old courthouse, and bustling Front Street. Within easy walking distance to all of the town’s restaurants, shops, and galleries, Banyan Tree Park is the perfect place to start or end your visit, or to take a break and cool down in the middle of a busy day of touring.
Visit Banyan Tree Park
Address: 648 Wharf St, Lahaina, HI 96761
Directions: From Kahului, take HI-380 to HI-30 S. Turn left onto HI-30 S, and follow it for 16 miles. Turn left onto Prison St to enter Lahaina, and then right onto Front St. The park will be ahead on the left. From Kihei, head north on S Kihei Rd toward N Kihei Rd/Hi-31/HI-310. Turn left onto N Kihei Rd/HI-31/HI 310. Follow N Kihei Rd until it becomes Honoapiilani Hwy/HI-30. Follow it north for 15 miles. Turn left onto Front Street, left onto Hotel St, and then left onto Wharf St. From West Maui, head south on Honoapiilani Hwy/HI-30. When you enter Lahaina, take a slight right onto Front St. Turn right onto Hotel St, and left onto Wharf St.