Magic Mountain Moorea: The Easy and The Hard Way

by | Last updated Jun 17, 2024 | Best Hiking French Polynesia, Moorea

Hands down, Magic Mountain Moorea has the BEST views of the island. A visit is one of our favorite things to do in Moorea! There are a few ways to access the summit: one easy and one hard. Of course, we had to pick the harder way but in my opinion, it was more rewarding. Here are the things you want to know to make this experience happen. 

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01- Magic Mountain Moorea Map

Map of Magic Mountain in Moorea

Map of Magic Mountain in Moorea

The shape of Moorea looks like an octopus.

The head is in the middle with two long arms stretching out on either side.

Magic Mountain is located on the left arm, which is the western side of the island.

02- Magic Mountain Tour

Magic Mountain summit in Moorea

Magic Mountain summit in Moorea

There are two ways to access Magic Mountain: easy and hard.

The easy option is to join a highly-rated tour that takes you straight up the windy mountain. You cannot drive your rental car up the mountain.

If you do not have a car or are short on time and want to hit the highlights, these two Magic Mountain tours are a great option:

→     Franckyfranck Tours

This company is highly rated (5.0 on Google reviews and 5.0 on Tripadvisor)! These kind of ratings are almost unheard of.

In addition to Magic Mountain, they also take you to another viewpoint called Belvedere Lookout, a vanilla plantation, and a liquor and juice tasting.

All your sightseeing is conducted in an open-air 4WD truck.

→     Moorea Activities Center

Another unique tour is run by Moorea Activities Center. They are also super highly rated! 5.0 on Tripadvisor and 4.9 on Google reviews.

You can ride up Magic Mountain in an ATV to soak in those views. You also get to drive by scenic pineapple fields, taste tropical juices, and check out Belvedere Lookout. A lot of bang for your buck.

03- Magic Mountain Hike   

Hiking the trail to Magic Mountain

Hiking the trail to Magic Mountain

We could have done it the easy way, but we had our own car and we love hiking.

So we chose the hard way and hiked up Magic Mountain! Much more rewarding!

Here are the things you need to know about the hike:

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PARKING & TRAILHEAD

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

Map of Magic Mountain parking in Moorea

Put in “Fare Tutava” in GoogleMaps. Fare Tutava is a casual restaurant known for its delicious smoothies and juices.

Park in their parking lot and pay 200 xpf cash per person (~$1.80 USD).

I inadvertently parked in the parking lot across the street from Fare Tutava because I saw a big Magic Mountain Parking Sign. I’m not sure if that lot is owned by the same people, but we still paid the same 200 xpf.

After parking, walk straight down the road until the next right turn. See the photo below.

How to hike Magic Mountain

Start of the Magic Mountain hike

You can’t miss it. There’s an orange sign labeled “Montagne” meaning mountain.

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

Orange “Montagne” sign

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HIKING EXPERIENCE

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

Well paved Magic Mountain hike 

The trail is paved but it’s all uphill with short flat sections on the switchbacks. You will come across a split about 5 minutes into the hike.

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

Magic Mountain hiking path options

According to my research, the right path is steep and short.

The left path is less steep and longer.

Some travelers advise hiking the right (steeper) section going up and the less steep/longer path going down to make it easier on the knees. Another hiker stated they felt the longer path was more beautiful.

We didn’t have an option. The steeper/shorter path was blocked off with a rope. The left path it is! 

Along the way, you’ll see little peaks of Opunohu Bay with the Hilton overwater bungalows dotted in the background.

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

Views of Opunohu Bay and the Hilton overwater bungalows 

One of my favorite parts of the hike (besides the summit) was the shaded section padded with pine needles about 20 minutes into the hike. 

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

Shaded section with a bench on the Magic Mountain Moorea hike

There are three benches to sit on and enjoy unobstructed views of Opunohu Bay and the valley below.

Alright, almost there!! You will pass by some beautiful foliage until you reach a “Welcome to Moorea” greeting etched into the pavement right before the summit.

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

Walking past beautiful foliage on the Magic Mountain hike  

Walk a short one-lane paved path, and you’ve arrived at the summit!

Almost to the viewpoint on Magic Mountain

Almost to the viewpoint on Magic Mountain

The wide viewing deck beckons you to soak in those panoramic island views. Love feeling those mountain breezes at the top!  

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

Viewing platform of Magic Mountain

The reward at the top was definitely worth the sweaty effort!

Panoramic views from Magic Mountain

Gorgeous views from Magic Mountain

Panoramic views from Magic Mountain

Panoramic views from Magic Mountain

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HIKING DIFFICULTY

If you are moderately fit, you will have no problem with this hike.

On a difficulty scale labeled easy, moderate, or hard, I would rate the difficulty of this hike on the low end of moderate.

To put this in perspective, we snorkeled with sharks and rays all morning with Alex Lagoon Tours and then still hiked Magic Mountain in the afternoon without any problem.

My husband was a little grouchy at first because I packed a lot in during this one day. After we completed the hike though, he admitted he was happy we did it.

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HIKING TIME

According to my iPhone time stamps, it took us 75 minutes roundtrip to complete the hike. That time included a few breaks and lots of photo time at the top.

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WHAT TIME TO HIKE

I was advised to do the hike early in the morning to avoid the strong sun.

However, the best snorkeling is typically in the morning, and we planned to snorkel every morning. Instead, we decided to hike in the late afternoon, which worked out well.

We started the hike at 4:15 pm and were back down the mountain by 5:30 pm.

It was slightly overcast and surprisingly the bugs were almost nonexistent, which is shocking. We did this hike at the end of May, so maybe there’s a “less buggy” season.

Final Thoughts

Please do not miss Magic Mountain. It bears that name for a reason. Take a tour or hike depending on your preference, but the hike is extremely rewarding. Treat yourself to a delicious smoothie at the end. Life is good. 

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