One of the most famous sights to see along the Road to Hana is that of the numerous waterfalls. Some spectacular, some of a more approachable height; each waterfall along the Hana Highway is beautiful after its own fashion. The Hana Highway has so many little hidden paths to see it would be impossible to list them all. The waterfalls are the same. Depending on rainfall, there could be numerous waterfalls to see and swim under and hike to along the route to Hana. Below are listed four waterfalls on the Hana Highway that have been consistently enjoyed by tourists and locals alike, along with some information we’ve picked up along the way to help you make the most of these Road to Hana destinations. First, a couple of basic tips that apply to all the waterfalls listed below. Don’t leave valuables in your car or trunk on the Road to Hana. Just trust us – you’re better safe than sorry as unfortunately thefts are common. Almost all of the hikes listed below, whether short or long, are near bodies of water and can be very slippery. Always use caution, even if it is a clear day and you are an experienced hiker.
One of the first stops along the Road to Hana is Twin Falls. It’s located just after mile marker two, and there is a large turnout on your right where you can pull over. There are actually several waterfalls along a trail in this area, but there are two main falls most people come to see. The first is on your left after a short, but sometimes slippery, hike. It’s a great place to take a swim and cool off. If you’re up for more of an adventure, you can walk a little further off the main road to a much taller waterfall – and there are smaller pools, falls, and caves off the main path as well. Be cautious through here. If warning signs for flash floods have been posted, definitely heed them – they are always accurate. Locals will sometimes jump from the second, higher waterfall, but the pool below is deceptively shallow and jumping can be dangerous. Twin Falls is thought of as the first stop of note on the Hana Highway for good reason. Both waterfalls are worth seeing and if you choose too, there are several hours worth of activities to be enjoyed.
Next up is Waikamoi Falls, located just after mile marker 10. Waikamoi Falls can be tricky. If it hasn’t rained much, the waterfalls may not be visible. Luckily, the first waterfall can be seen from the road without getting out of the car. If it isn’t flowing, there is no need to get out and hike to the second one – you won’t be able to see it. However, if you are driving the Road to Hana after a day or two of rain you’re in for a treat because the second fall is awesome and it’s only a short hike upstream from the main road. One word of caution, though – if the rain has been falling heavily and the water in the stream is really flowing, see the second fall another time, it’s too dangerous even though the hike is short. If you’ve come on the perfect day though, you’re about to get to experience one of our favorite things to do on Maui – sitting beneath a waterfall. The second fall is a perfect one to swim under.
Still ready for more Hana Highway waterfalls? If you say so! Next up is Pua’a Ka’a State Park, found a couple hundred yards before mile marker 23. One of the awesome things about Pua’a Ka’a is that it is an all-purpose stop. There are restrooms you can use and a picnic area where you can eat your picnic lunch. Very close to the picnic area is an easily accessible 20′ waterfall and two small swimming holes great for the whole family. There is another, larger fall up higher that can be reached by a trail, but the trail is definitely considered challenging. It’s usually muddy and crosses over a viaduct that can be slippery. Plus, it’s easy to get confused and end up crossing the wrong viaduct – there are a few in the area. We suggest using Pua’a Ka’a for a rest stop and a swim, and skipping the second waterfall unless you’re really feeling adventurous.
We have one more waterfall on our list, and in some ways we’ve saved the best for last. Not only is Waimoku Falls itself spectacular, it’s at the end of the Pipiwai Trail, which is considered hands-down one of the best hikes on Maui. The Pipiwai Trail is four miles round trip, and reaches an elevation of 650 feet. It can take anywhere from 2-5 hours, depnding on how much you want to rest and sight-see. Our favorite part of the trail is the bamboo forest you pass through just before you get to the waterfall. It’s truly like nothing else we’ve ever experienced and we think it is a must-see for any Road to Hana journey. The bamboo forest ends at Waimoku Falls, a breathtaking 400 foot sheet of water cascading down a sheer lava-rock wall. The trail can be muddy and you definitely want to wear sturdy shoes and obey all caution signs, but if you are only going to attempt one strenuous hike on the Road to Hana, we strongly suggest this one. The bamboo forest alone is unforgettable, but Waimoku Falls is a must-see for any Maui vacation.
We hope you have enjoyed this waterfall tour of the Road to Hana, brought to you by the folks at Hana Picnic Lunch Company. If you did, click the “like” button so we can provide you with more of the same kinds of information.