Hawaiians lived in this valley as far back as AD 650, making it the oldest recorded habitation on Molokai. Inhabitants grew taro and fished until the 1960s, when an enormous flood wiped out the taro patches and forced old-timers to abandon their traditional lifestyle. Now, a new generation of Hawaiians has begun the challenging task of restoring the taro fields. Much of this work involves rerouting streams to flow through carefully engineered level ponds called loi.
The taro plants, with their big, dancing leaves, grow in the submerged mud of the loi, where the water is always cool and flowing. Hawaiians believe that the taro plant is their ancestor and revere it both as sustenance and as a spiritual necessity. The Solatorio Ohana (family) leads hikes through the valley, which is home to two sacrificial temples, many historic sites, and the trail to Moaula Falls, a 250-foot cascade. The $60 fee supports the restoration efforts. The 3.4-mile round-trip hike is rated intermediate to advanced and includes two moderate river crossings.