Today `Iao Valley is recognized as a very special place for both its spiritual value and spectacular scenery. The trails in the park are paved, but may be slippery when wet. The trail is also steep in places, so visitors should take their time.
`Iao means "cloud supreme", the bank of clouds that often sits over the valley. These clouds bring the frequent rains that feed the streams in the valley. It is these waters that carved this spectacular landscape over the past 1.5 million years.
The Hawaiian god Kane is the procreator and the provider of the life giving elements. He is the patron of wai (fresh water) and is often associated with clouds, rain, streams and springs.
From the highest peak of of Pu`u Kukui to the shoreline of Kahului Bay, the ahupua`a (land division) of Wailuku was a favorite place of ali`i (chiefs) and a ruling center of Maui. `Iao Valley is part of this ahupua`a.
As one of Maui's most important political centers, many battles took place here. Wailuku translates as the "waters of destruction" referring to its history of battles and floods.