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Best Waterfall Hikes in Maui

The 12 Best Waterfall Hikes in Maui Revealed, Explore Maui’s Breathtaking Natural Wonders

By Sometime Traveller

So, you’re on the hunt for the best waterfall hikes in Maui, huh? Well, I can only assume you didn’t stumble upon this blog while searching for the best knitting patterns (unless you’re knitting a swimsuit for your next waterfall plunge – now that’s multitasking!). 😅

So, dear thrill-seekers and nature aficionados, let’s dive into the lush, waterfall-laden paradise that is Maui, shall we?

Maui, renowned for its lush landscapes and scenic beauty, is a treasure trove of natural wonders, boasting the highest number of waterfalls compared to any other Hawaiian island. With over 50 cascading falls, each offering its unique allure, it’s no wonder that waterfall hikes in Maui, Hawaii, rank among the best ways to immerse oneself in Maui’s breathtaking environment

These adventures not only allow explorers to witness the island’s stunning vistas but also provide a refreshing escape as hikers can plunge into the cool, inviting pools. For anyone seeking to experience the essence of tropical paradise, exploring the best waterfall hikes in Maui, Hawaii, is an absolute must.

In this blog post, we will introduce you to the most breathtaking Maui waterfall hikes

Jaw-Dropping Maui Waterfalls | Best Waterfall Hikes in Maui
Jaw-Dropping Maui Waterfalls | Best Waterfall Hikes in Maui

These hikes will take you to some of the most stunning and diverse waterfalls on the island, where you can admire the scenery, take photos, and have fun. 

Whether you are looking for a short and easy hike or a long and challenging one, there is a waterfall hike for you on this fantastic island. Let’s get started.

Discover Best Waterfall Hikes in Maui: Voted Best on the Island

Set off on an adventure to unearth Maui’s finest, the best waterfall hikes in Maui, handpicked and voted the island’s top trails. They’re so stunning that you’ll forget you’re hiking and not just part of a postcard scene!

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1. Twin Falls Maui Waterfall

Twin Falls Maui Waterfall sets the tone for an unforgettable adventure in Maui, Hawaii. This renowned spot, easily accessible near Paia Town along Hana Highway, is an ideal introduction to the best waterfall hikes in Maui, Hawaii. The falls, nourished by the Ko’olau Rainforest in Ho’olawa Valley, display their full splendor after a heavy rain, with two streams elegantly cascading into a serene pool that invites swimmers. 

The one-mile round-trip hike, dotted with a tropical farm offering fresh fruits and snacks, is a delight for all ages. However, it’s wise to don proper footwear as paths can be muddy and slippery. Notable features of this hike include a mesmerizing bamboo forest, a grand banyan tree, and a hidden cave behind the waterfall, all contributing to a rich, sensory experience.

2. Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls, a stunning highlight on Maui’s east side near Hana, stands as a must-see on any list of the best waterfall hikes in Maui, Hawaii. Towering at approximately 80 feet, this breathtaking cascade pours into a vast pool, embraced by verdant foliage and rugged terrain. Visible directly from Hana Highway, with convenient parking at a nearby lookout, it offers a glimpse of paradise without leaving your car. 

However, for those craving a closer encounter, a short but steep trail leads to the waterfall’s base, inviting adventurers to swim in its refreshing waters and bask in the spray. This half-mile round-trip journey not only reveals ocean and mountain vistas but also navigates through a serene bamboo grove, past a towering banyan tree, and near a secluded cavern behind the waterfall. While exploring, remember to wear sturdy footwear, as conditions can be slippery and muddy.

3. Makamaka’ole Falls

Makamaka’ole Falls, nestled in the West Maui Forest Reserve, is a hidden gem among the best waterfall hikes in Maui. Accessible via the Waihee Ridge Trail or the 13 Crossings Trail, this two-tiered waterfall cascades down approximately 270 feet, with the lower tier offering the most visibility, especially during the drier seasons. Despite covering a mere 0.4 miles round trip, the hike presents a moderate challenge with an elevation gain of 55 feet. 

Adventurers must navigate a rocky, slippery path with lush overgrowth and multiple stream crossings. This trail rewards the intrepid with sweeping valley views, dense forest ambiance, and potential wildlife encounters. The clear pool at the waterfall’s base invites a refreshing swim, making Makamaka’ole Falls a distinct and rewarding experience outside the well-trodden Road to Hana.

4. Seven Sacred Pools Trail (‘Ohe’o Gulch)

The Seven Sacred Pools Trail, also recognized as the ‘Ohe’o Gulch Trail within Haleakala National Park, stands out as a pinnacle among the best waterfall hikes in Maui. This accessible journey, originating from the Kipahulu Visitor Center, unfolds a spectacular sequence of waterfalls and pools carved by the Palikea and Pipiwai streams descending from Haleakala. 

The trail, a manageable 0.6-mile loop, offers hikers breathtaking ocean views alongside the verdant Kipahulu valley. The majestic Makamakaole Falls, dropping approximately 270 feet into a deep pool, serves as a highlight. With minimal elevation gain, this trail promises an array of natural delights, from bird watching and lush forest landscapes to river vistas and inviting swimming spots, capturing the essence of Maui’s diverse natural splendor.

5. Pua’a Ka’a Falls

Nestled along the scenic Road to Hana, Pua’a Ka’a Falls enriches the journey with its captivating beauty, making it a quintessential stop among the best waterfall hikes in Maui. This enchanting spot, located within Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park, is renowned for its picturesque 15 to 20-foot waterfall that plunges into a crystal-clear pool, ideal for a refreshing swim. The waterfall’s unique name, “rolling pig,” adds an intriguing cultural layer to the experience. 

Accessible through a short and easy 0.3-mile hike with a modest elevation gain, the trail is perfect for families, offering lush forest views and opportunities for wildlife encounters. With convenient facilities such as restrooms and picnic tables, Pua’a Ka’a Falls stands out as a popular and accessible attraction, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in Maui’s natural splendor.

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6. Punalau Falls

Punalau Falls, a secluded marvel nestled in Hana’s verdant terrain on Maui, Hawaii, epitomizes the allure of the best waterfall hikes in Maui. This hidden gem, with its 100-foot cascade into a scenic canyon, is enveloped by lush tropical flora. Although the hike is merely a quarter-mile one way, the journey is marked by a challenging, slippery path strewn with rocks and boulders. 

For the intrepid explorer, the effort yields access to a serene haven, ideal for immersing oneself in nature’s splendor. Punalau Falls offers an unparalleled adventure, inviting those in pursuit of tranquility and beauty to explore one of Maui’s most captivating off-the-beaten-path treasures.

7. Waimoku Falls

Standing as one of the tallest and most awe-inspiring waterfalls on Maui, Waimoku Falls offers an adventurous trek that ranks among the best waterfall hikes in Maui. This 400-foot marvel plunges down a sheer cliff into a tranquil pool, creating a breathtaking spectacle. Located in the vicinity of the renowned Seven Sacred Pools in Hana, the journey to Waimoku Falls spans a 4-mile round-trip, featuring a 650-foot elevation gain. 

Along this challenging path, hikers are treated to the sights of Makahiku Falls and a verdant bamboo forest, adding layers of scenic beauty to the hike. The trek, replete with stream crossings and rugged terrains, culminates in the stunning vista of Waimoku Falls, making it a must-experience for those seeking the thrill of Maui’s natural landscapes.

8. Alelele Falls

Alelele Falls, nestled in the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park near the Pi’ilani Highway, is a serene addition to the list of best waterfall hikes in Maui. This less-traveled path offers a tranquil escape, with a brief and straightforward trek of just 0.3 miles round trip, requiring about 15 minutes from the parking area near Alelele Bridge. 

Although the trail may be slippery and somewhat overgrown, solid footwear ensures a safe passage, including stream crossings that lead to a rewarding view. The falls cascade into a crystal-clear pool, inviting a refreshing swim away from the crowds. Alelele Falls not only promises a peaceful retreat but also holds cultural significance for Native Hawaiians, making it a hidden gem on the journey to Hana for those in search of a brief yet enchanting waterfall experience on Maui.

9. Kopiliula Falls

Kopiliula Falls, nestled in northwest Maui along the iconic Hana Highway, emerges as an adventurous highlight among the best waterfall hikes in Maui. This stream-fed beauty, though its height remains a mystery, impresses with its width and the serene pool it cascades into. The journey there, a two-mile round-trip trek, is considered moderate but demands agility to scramble over rocks and navigate water channels, culminating in a rope-assisted climb to the falls. 

This path offers an intimate experience with nature, often allowing hikers to enjoy the falls in solitude. With breathtaking ocean and forest views en route, Kopiliula Falls beckons to those seeking a blend of adventure and tranquility on their Maui waterfall exploration.

10. Upper Waikani Falls

Upper Waikani Falls, affectionately known as Three Bears, shines as a jewel among the best waterfall hikes in Maui, perfectly positioned along the route to Hana at mile marker 19.6. This breathtaking destination features three parallel streams that gracefully descend into a crystal-clear pool, visible from the bridge for those who prefer a quick glimpse. 

However, for a more intimate experience, a short 10-minute hike down from the parking area leads adventurers closer to the falls. Caution is advised as the trail can be steep and slippery. Surrounded by lush tropical flora, visitors can enjoy a dip in the pool, keeping safety and environmental respect paramount by avoiding risky jumps and ensuring no trace is left behind. Upper Waikani Falls is a splendid stop, offering a refreshing respite on the journey through Maui.

11. Haipua’ena Falls

Just beyond mile marker 11 on the Road to Hana, Haipua’ena Falls emerges as a tranquil retreat and a highlight among the best waterfall hikes in Maui. This 25-foot cascade into a serene pool, framed by lush foliage, offers a picturesque stop on the journey. Accessible via a short and straightforward 0.6-mile round-trip hike with a mild elevation gain of 75 feet, it’s a welcoming escape for all. 

The path, which begins on the far side of the bridge, may be muddy and slippery, so sturdy shoes are recommended. With its calm atmosphere, stunning forest views, and inviting waters, Haipua’ena Falls presents a perfect opportunity for a refreshing break on the way to Hana, encapsulating the essence of Maui’s natural beauty.

12. Bamboo Forest Waterfalls Trailhead

Situated in Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, the Bamboo Forest Waterfalls Trailhead offers an exhilarating journey through dense greenery, firmly placing it among the best waterfall hikes in Maui. This moderate 1.2-mile round-trip hike, with a 311-foot elevation gain, winds through a lush bamboo forest, culminating at several breathtaking waterfalls. 

Despite the challenge of slippery paths, stream crossings, and rocky terrains, the trail rewards adventurers with stunning waterfall vistas, enticing swimming pools, and even spots ideal for cliff jumping. It encapsulates the perfect blend of adventure and natural beauty, making it a must-visit for those seeking an unforgettable waterfall hiking experience on Maui.

FAQs

What is the most beautiful waterfall in Maui?

Waimoku Falls, standing at approximately 400 feet tall, is widely regarded as the most picturesque waterfall in Maui, located in the scenic Ohio Gulch area of Haleakalā National Park.

Can you swim in waterfalls in Maui?

Swimming in waterfalls in Maui is generally discouraged due to safety concerns and environmental protection efforts.

What part of Maui has the most waterfalls?

The Hana Highway area, along Maui’s northeastern coast, is renowned for having the highest concentration of waterfalls, offering numerous cascades along its scenic route.

How many days in Maui is enough?

While the ideal duration can vary based on individual preferences, a minimum of 5-7 days in Maui is recommended to explore its diverse attractions, beaches, and activities fully.

Where to stay in Maui?

Popular areas for accommodation in Maui include Lahaina, Ka’anapali, Wailea, and Kihei, offering a range of resorts, hotels, condos, and vacation rentals to suit various preferences and budgets.

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