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An Upcountry Drive - Stop off at Harold Rice Park on Lower Kula RoadWhether heading down the mountain after sunrise on the summit of Haleakala, or on a leisurely day trip exploring the upcountry region of Maui, be sure to stop off at this lovely park.
Description: This small county park is located upcountry about 2,500 feet above sea level. Bring a camera and a light jacket, since anytime you head upcountry it might be cooler. This is a lovely spot for great panoramic photos, a leisurely breakfast or lunch picnic, capturing sunset magic, and quiet meditations on the beauty and diversity of Maui. The views from here - over the isthmus of central Maui, seeing both the south and north shores, with Molokini and Lanai on the horizon, and over to the west Maui mountains – are spectacular and breathtaking. Generally, this is a quiet and likely private place during the weekdays with more neighborhood use on the weekends. You can enjoy bird song as you greet the day.
The park does overlook the highway, however the spots near the top do not suffer from too much road noise or distraction. Locally known as Rice Park, this is a great place to watch the sunset as the sun dips behind the West Maui Mountains. Children also love Rice Park for its steep, grassy hills which provide a great ride on a large piece of cardboard. A good time is early in the morning, since there may be light showers in late afternoon rolling down from the upper slopes of Haleakala.
Hours of Operation: Daily. Contact the County of Maui.
Amenities / Facilities:
• Amazing vista of west Maui mountains and both coasts,
• 9 Concrete Picnic Tables & BBQ Grill,
• ADA Accessibility & Parking,
• Public Pay telephone, and
• Water fountain and 2 water taps.
History: In 1965, Harold ‘Oskie’ Rice donated land in Kula to the Kiwanis Club of Maui, who in turn donated it to the county. This ‘
hall of fame’ paniola, or cowboy, was manager of the Ka’ono’ulu Ranch - one of the three largest ranches in upcountry. A legendary island polo player, he was known as ‘
a cowboy of cowboys in Hawaii ’ and honored for starting the Maui Roping Club and sponsoring the first Makawao
Rodeo. The Rice family came to Hawaii as missionaries in the mid-1800s, transforming thru the generations into a wealthy, powerful clan of politicians, businessmen and ranchers.
Directions: Rice Memorial Park is on Lower Kula Road, in the Upcountry region of Maui. Head uphill from either Pukalani or Makawao towards Kula on Hwy 37. Look for the Rice Park sign, about 8/10th of a mile past Mile Marker 13. Drive up ~100 yards to the top of the hill, and park at the upper lot.
Nearby Eats / Activities: Pukalani Superette, a favorite of Upcountry residents, this family-owned and operated market in business for more than half a century, offers lots of local produce and a variety of prepared local specialties – hot and cold – for a great picnic. Or enjoy the amazing view for breakfast, lunch or dinner from Kula Lodge; or great coffee and pastries from Grandma's Coffee; or a nice wine tasting from Tedeschi Winery. Try the pineapple wine !!! There are several farm tours in upcountry, including flower farms, Ali' i Kula Lavendar Farm and Surfing Goat Dairy .. a great hit with the keikis .. the young at heart of any age. Make a full day of it as you discover the unique attractions of Upcountry Maui.