The presence of Pihanakalani, a large heiau (temple) near the shore and along the `Iao Stream, denotes the religious significance of `Iao.
Commonly called `Iao Needle, the traditional Hawaiian name for the 2,250 foot peak that dominates the valley is Kuka`emoku. This peak is known as the phallic stone of Kanaloa, Hawaiian god of the ocean.
During periods of warfare, the peak was used as a lookout by warriors. It was here that some Maui warriors retreated from the forces of Kamehameha I during the battle of Kepaniwai.
Kuka`emoku is an erosional remnant. It is at the end of a ridge comprised of a denser dike stone. The softer rock around the dike stone was eroded by streams and waterfalls.
It is rare to find `Iao Valley State Park bathed in sunshine, but that is precisely what we found when we visited the park.
Source: Material for this feature was obtained from informational posters located in `Iao Valley State Park.