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Hana, Hawaii, United States

Pipiwai Trail & Waimoku Falls, Haleakala NP, Maui

A unique and very special waterfall hike where your adventures begin even before you reach the trailhead.

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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 4.0 miles / 6.4 km
Duration: Half day
Overview: A favorite Maui hike, yet for some people the drive to the trailhead alone is excitement enough. The Hana Highway is sixty miles of scenic but curvy coastal road, reportedly featuring 620 curves and 59 bridges, most of which are single-lane bridges. If you relish your driving experiences then the Hana Highway alone is a "must-do".

The 4 mile round trip to the falls and back takes in several great waterfalls before reaching the spectacular Waimoku Falls, and a boardwalk journey through dense, dark bamboo forest that you're unlikely to forget.

Elevation gain:
• 900ft (from 200 - 1,200ft)

• We strongly recommend an early start if you want to make good time on the Hana Highway.
• The hike route is prone to flash flooding, so be aware of the weather forecast and do not attempt the hike under threat of rain.
• As with all Hawaii hikes we recommend footwear with good grip, since the terrain can get a little slippy & muddy.
• The fee to use this park is valid for several days and allows you to explore the Haleakala crater on the same pass - check out our Crater Trail Guide for more details.

Points of Interest



Located at the end of the Hana Highway in the Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park, the visitors center here is the start of this popular hike.

Follow the trail parallel with the road on which you arrived on, before crossing it and heading uphill.

Makahiku Falls

Although the ultimate destination of this hike is the enormous Waimoku Falls, you'll also encounter several more spectacular falls as you trace your route up Oheo Gulch.

Admire the sheer 180ft drop of Makahiku Falls from the trail overlook, or if you're feeling particularly adventurous you could explore it up close. Be aware however, that because of the steep drops and potential flash flooding risks people have lost their lives by taking risks on this trail.

Bridges & banyan trees

The trail continues follows the route of the stream, passing over bridges, past huge sprawling banyan trees and providing opportunities to visit and admire several other smaller waterfalls on the route.

Bamboo Forest

Follow the boardwalk through the bamboo forest, so tall and so dense that daylight struggles to penetrate.

Waimoku Falls

Being one of the wettest places on earth the Hawaiian islands boast some of the best waterfalls, and Waimoku Falls is definitely among that category.

After negotiating a stream crossing just before the falls, we end up at the foot of this 400ft monster where you can get as close as you feel comfortable. Exercise caution here however, since the constant cascade of water can also bring occasional rocks and branches plummeting down to the boulders at the bottom of the falls.

Oheo Pools

Though the most adventurous hikers will be tempted to cool off in the pool on the edge Makahiku Falls overlooking the 180ft drop to the rocks below, we chose a visit to Oheo Pools instead.

Located a short hike away from the visitors center towards the ocean, these freshwater pools promise a refreshing dip among fantastic scenery, while you can listen to the Pacific Ocean crash against the rocks nearby. Near the park entrance you'll also find a great interpretive center and buildings reconstructed to illustrate how native Hawaiians once lived.
Pictures in this guide taken by: Trailspotting

Trailspotting content © Stuart Green 2010 including text, images, videos and route detail.
Great hike. Get there early and avoid all the people. Hit the infinity pool (if its not high water flow) on the way back for a swim but don't miss it!
Visited on Jan 07, 2012

by drewww on Jun 19, 2012

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