Waimoku Falls / Pipiwai Trail, Maui

Trip report by site editor Rick McCharles.

Most tourists in Maui drive a rent-a-car to Kipahulu Visitors Center in Haleakala National Park, the end of the famed Road to Hana.

The main attraction are the so called “Seven Sacred Pools“, a name invented by some overzealous tourism marketer. In reality, the ʻOheʻo Gulch has dozens of pools and a number of waterfalls, a few very welcoming of swimmers.


Welcoming if you’re not scared off the warning signs posted everywhere.



I spent only a few minutes at the pools, instead quickly beginning the climb up Pipiwai Trail. I knew it would be fantastic as Trailspotting calls it their “favorite hike on Maui”:

Distance: 4 miles
Type: Out & Back
Difficulty: Medium
Elevation gain: 900ft (from 200 – 1,200ft)

Beginning at the rugged and remote eastern Maui coastline follow the Pipiwai stream inland and you’ll soon be surrounded by dense jungle, heading towards a series of waterfalls each increasingly more impressive than the last. En route you’ll cross bridges and streams, and negotiate an unforgettable boardwalk journey through a dense bamboo forest that towers so far above your head that daylight struggles to reach you. And since the Hawaiian islands are some of the wettest places on earth, you’re sure to be impressed with the towering 400 foot wall of water at the end of the trail that is Waimoku Falls. …

Pipiwai Waterfalls & Bamboo Trail

The bamboo was the highlight for me, too.


Actually, this kind of bamboo is one of those dread invasive species. But it’s an invasive species I love. I’m an invasive species, myself.

You’ll be warned about mosquitos. I never saw even one during 2wks on Maui in October.

Pipiwai gets better and better the closer you get to Waimoku Falls.


Click that last photo to see a larger version of a true Hawaiian paradise.

The other highlight of this hike for me was tenting at Kipahulu Campground right at the trailhead.


Waimoku Falls Pipiwai Trail map

I spent two nights. It’s free after you pay for your National Parks pass. Authorities are frantically improving the visitor center right now. I expect the primitive campground will be improved, as well.

Walking the shoreline here is highly recommended. A half mile stretch is called the KAHAKAI TRAIL.


See all my photos from Pipiwai, one of the very best hikes in the world.

Or, better, check out Stuart’s photos – Trailspotting: Hawaii, Maui: Pipiwai Waterfalls. Click on his trail map for a larger view.


Leave a comment if you’ve done Pipiwai and have something to add.

3 Replies to “Waimoku Falls / Pipiwai Trail, Maui”

  1. The last picture at Waimoki Falls should say that it is not safe to get that close. On 8/23/11 a rock fall caused a broken leg and could have caused a fatality. Do not go past the warning sign.

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