Over the last two decades, zipline tours on Maui have been popping up left and right. Home to countless lush valleys, wide-open views, and a gaggle of year-round travelers seeking a fun thrill, the zipline boom comes as no surprise. Today there is no shortage of zipline adventures, with almost every corner of the island boasting its own. However, only one company can be deemed “Maui’s original zipline,” introducing the popular activity to the island and setting a precedent for other zipline operators to follow. Enter Skyline Hawaii, Maui’s first zipline company.
After opening its doors in 2002, Skyline has grown to be one of Hawaii’s most reputable tour operators. On Maui alone, Skyline offers hiking tours to secluded waterfalls, excursions to towering Mt. Haleakala for magical sunrises, and is home to two zipline courses: one in the misty forests of Upcountry and the other in the rolling hills above the Kaʻanapali resorts. Aside from being Maui’s first zipline company, what makes Skyline one of the 4 Best Maui Ziplines? Let’s dig a little deeper; here are five reasons why we love Skyline Hawaii.
5 Reasons Why We Love Skyline Hawaii
1. Skyline Hawaii has been awarded an abundance of superlatives: Not only Hawaii’s first but Hawaii’s best!
So we’ve covered that Skyline was Maui’s first zipline operator, but did you know that Skyline was actually the first zipline to open in the entire United States? That’s right- first in the whole country. So it’s safe to say Skyline started the 21st-century zipline trend. Skyline Hawaii is also the first zipline company to join 1% For the Planet, an international environmental organization. Partners of 1% For the Planet donate one percent of their annual sales to environmental causes and conservation.
Firsts aside, Skyline is Hawaii’s most awarded tour company. They’ve been voted Maui’s number one zipline tour for five years running, and in 2017 alone, Hawaii Magazine readers deemed Skyline Hawaii the “Best of the Best” in nine different categories.
2. Their two zipline courses are unparalleled.
While Skyline Hawaii hosts activities like sunrise excursions and hiking tours, their roots are embedded in their zipline adventures. Skyline has two courses on Maui- a five-line course in Kula and an eight-line course on the west side in Ka’anapali.
Let’s start at the five-line course- Skyline’s “OG” zipline, where things all began. This course is located in the misty forests of Upcountry, just a few miles below the entrance to Haleakala National Park. This course travels through a mystical forest dotted with fragrant eucalyptus trees and native Hawaiian koa trees. If this course could talk, it would have a ton to brag about- from being recognized by Fodor’s Travel as one of the world’s most fantastic zipline courses to boasting the only pendulum line in Hawaii (where you’ll zip back and forth at up to 45 mph). As if zipping over 90-foot valleys isn’t thrilling enough, this course is also home to a unique, “Indiana Jones-style” swinging bridge. Not only is this feature an exciting hit, but it’s admittedly a great photo op for the Instagram savvy.
The Kaʻanapali course was erected four short years after Skyline’s Upcountry flagship. While Kaʻanapali may be Upcountry‘s little sibling, there is nothing little about this course. Located in the West Maui Mountains, you’ll cruise up to the lines in 4×4 adventure vans to the hills high above the Kaʻanapali resorts. You’ll then sail your way down at dramatic speeds, over canyons up to 150 feet deep. If the thrill itself isn’t enough to keep you entertained, the panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, West Maui coastline, and neighboring islands will certainly mesmerize you.
3. Skyline Hawaii offers one of the most comfortable ways to see the sunrise at Haleakala.
As far as visitor attractions on Maui go, Haleakala National Park takes the top spot, with over 1.4 million people visiting the park annually. One of the park’s biggest draws, however, is its spectacular views at sunrise. In fact, this activity became so popular that park personnel was forced to put a reservation system in place to help mitigate the crowds that were ascending to the summit every morning before dawn. Unfortunately, since sunrise at Haleakala‘s summit is still so immensely popular, it can be incredibly tough to snag a reservation, with tickets selling out in mere seconds.
So this begs the question: why yell at your computer screen every morning in a frustrating attempt to get sunrise tickets when you could just book a sunrise tour with Skyline Hawaii? Not only is a Skyline tour a surefire way to ensure you witness one of the world’s most magical sunrises, but it’s a heck of a lot easier and more comfortable too.
Skyline will pick you up at your accommodation in the early morning hours before beginning the long ascent through the dark. It can take up to two and a half hours to reach the summit from the resort areas, but that ride won’t seem too bad in one of Skyline’s spacious vans, with large viewing windows and comfortable, climate-controlled seating. Take it from us, this drive in the early morning darkness can be a drag and having someone else behind the wheel will make the experience that much more relaxing.
After what will likely be the most memorable sunrise of your life, Skyline Hawaii will bring you down to a more suitable elevation for a delicious breakfast at Kula Lodge. This cozy, historic restaurant serves up one of the best breakfasts on Maui and easily has some of the best views. It’s all part of Skyline’s mission to share the Upcountry experience.
But the fun doesn’t have to end there. Skyline also offers a dual sunrise/zipline experience. Talk about an adventurous, memorable day!
4. Their tour guides are second to none.
To say the absolute least, Hawaii is an extraordinary place. It is an Eden of sorts, free from venomous snakes, and poisonous plants, and its teeming with life that exists nowhere else on the planet. The archipelago’s glittering beaches, ribboning waterfalls, and lush rainforests attract visitors from near and far. Sadly, as with any beautiful place in the world, Hawaii’s beauty is all too often exploited. However, this is not the case with Skyline Hawaii. Rather than seeing Maui’s natural beauty as a way to make a dime, they choose to honor the rich history, culture, and traditions of the Hawaiian Islands.
While ziplining at 45 mph is a blast, the knowledge, and understanding of Hawaii passed on to each Skyline guest is beyond comparison. Aside from rigorous safety training, new guides with Skyline Hawaii must undergo a three-day cultural immersion before they can begin leading tours. As a result, sharing Hawaiian history and culture with visitors has become the focal point of Skyline’s many tours. Your guide will paint colorful stories of Hawaii’s past, from when fishponds dotted the coastlines, when great rulers united the islands, and even up to the annexation of Hawaii to the United States. The love that Skyline has for Hawaii and the immersive cultural experience they offer their guests could be part of the reason why they have been voted Maui’s best tour operator time and time again.
5. Skyline Hawaii’s heart and soul lie in conservation.
As we mentioned earlier, Skyline Hawaii was the first zipline company to join 1% For the Planet. However, their conservation efforts go far deeper than that. Since its inception in 2002, Skyline Hawaii has planted over 8,000 native trees. Some of these planted trees you can see with your own eyes at the Upcountry course. This course zips through the forest, still mainly composed of tall eucalyptus trees. As good as they may smell, eucalyptus trees are horrible for Maui’s natural environment. They soak up massive amounts of water and are unhealthy for native birds. Skyline Hawaii has been slowly chipping away at this problem by replacing these behemoths with native Koa trees. Skyline has also donated $1.7 million to local environmental charities and has been carbon neutral since 2006. In addition, they hope to one day employ an entirely electric fleet of vehicles.
After your excursion with Skyline Hawaii, we are sure you’ll love them as much as we do, and you’ll love Hawaii as much as Skyline does!