Hawaii is a vacation destination that’s on many people’s bucket lists.
It’s a beautiful paradise that offers so much to see and do, and visitors can now add another Hawaii attraction to their must-visit itineraries.
After nine months of closures, the iconic Iao Valley Needle on the island of Maui will finally reopen on May 1, 2023. But there’s a catch!
This stunning natural attraction that used to be free to access will now require travelers to make a paid online reservation before they can visit.
Hawaii is a stunning region that attracts millions of visitors every year. But the sheer volume of visitors means that many attractions are having to implement measures to control visitor numbers.
The Iao Valley Needle is the latest addition to this trend.
How To Make A Reservation
If you want to visit the Iao Valley Needle during your time in Maui then you should plan your trip in advance.
The Hawaii Government’s Department of Land and Natural Resources website has shared that reservations will be available Monday, April 17 at 9 am Hawaiʻi time, two weeks prior to the scheduled park reopening.
Reservations will continue to open 30 days in advance.
To make a reservation, you will need to visit the Hawaii State Parks Day Use Reservations website.
Entry to visit the Iao Valley Needle costs $5.00 per person. If you are driving to the site then you must also pre-book car parking, which costs $10.00 per vehicle.
Children who are aged 3 and under can enter for free. Each booking is subject to a $1.40 booking fee.
If you are a Hawaii state resident with a valid driver’s license or State ID then you can access the Iao Valley Needle and all other Hawaii state parks free of charge.
Hawaii state residents also don’t have to reserve access to the attractions.
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Other Hawaii Attractions With Reservations Required
This isn’t the first Hawaii attraction to require tourists to make a reservation before they can visit.
The famous Diamond Head State Monument introduced similar measures in May 2022 in a bid to control visitor numbers and preserve the environment of the area.
The Waiʻānapanapa State Park in Maui has also introduced a reservation system for both vehicles and walk-in entry, which can be booked 30 days in advance.
And the Hāʻena State Park on the island of Kauai is using the reservation system to restrict visitor numbers so that they can focus on the preservation of the site and surrounding area.
The Hawaii Department of State Planning is also currently considering introducing the system at Mākena State Park on Maui.
DSP Administrator Curt Cottrell states that “We’ve found visitor satisfaction is much higher when compared to pre-reservation days. It’s a way to effectively manage the number of people in parks across the day. It helps protect our natural and cultural resources from being loved to death and by spreading visitation out across the day people generally have a better experience.”
There are currently no plans to introduce the reservation system to all of Hawaii’s National Parks.
But planning ahead is increasingly important if you intend to visit Hawaii, particularly if you want to spend time in its most popular and well-known National Parks.
What Is The Iao Valley Needle?
The Iao Valley needle is located in western Maui and is one of the island’s most popular tourist attractions.
The needle is a natural rock formation completely covered in gorgeous greenery. The natural attraction gets its name from the needle-like appearance of the largest rock when it is viewed end-on.
The surrounding national park is considered a sacred site with cultural and historical significance on the island. It’s easy to see why it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year!
The attraction was closed on August 1, 2022, so that contractors could complete the final stage of an ongoing project to stabilize the slope, as well as to improve the parking lot.
This project began in 2016 when heavy rains in the area caused significant damage to both the parking lot and to homes that were located downstream of the needle.
The original reopening date for the attraction was Jan 15, but this was delayed due to issues with construction.
But the revised May 1 opening date has been confirmed, and bookings for the attraction are now being taken.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com