Hike the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku

Hawaii Pipiwai Trail

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Swimming, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Scenic
Waterfall

The hike to Waimoku Falls via the Pipiwai Trail is one of the most rewarding hikes on Maui, and maybe all of Hawaii. This trail features a stunning giant Banyan tree, 200-foot Makahiku Falls, and a lush bamboo forest before reaching the grand finale of Waimoku Falls, which drops over 400 feet

Located in Haleakala National Park on Maui's southeastern coast, this trail is well maintained by the National Park Service and is quite popular with visitors. Like most popular hikes, it is advised you get there early and try to go on a weekday and in the offseason if possible. Entrance to the park is $15 which will get you a three-day pass, so if you plan on visiting Haleakala's summit, this will also cover that. To get to the Pipiwai Trailhead, take the Road to Hana from Kahului past Hana until you reach the parking lot at the Kipahulu Visitor Center. The trailhead is located just to the left of the Visitor Center. The Road to Hana is the northern route you can take to get to the park and is an exciting drive. The southern route, via the Piilani Highway, is a very rough road and is not recommended unless you have a suitable vehicle (SUV or 4WD) and are comfortable with cliff drop-offs and one lane driving.

The hike itself is a sensational experience, especially if you've never hiked through a bamboo forest before. Most of the second half of the hike is through this forest, with bamboo stalks rising 20+ feet above your head, encasing the forest in darkness from the hot Hawaii sun. Adding to the experience is a wooden boardwalk that winds its way through the forest, leading to endless photographic opportunities. You won't want to leave your camera at home for this hike.

Once you reach Waimoku Falls, you may choose to take a dip in the pool below at your own risk, which many hikers choose to do. Do not get too close to the waterfall itself, though, as there have been cases of rocks tumbling down its 400-foot drop. Some people say this hike can be completed in two hours, which is technically true as it's only 3.5 miles round trip. However, you will want to allow at least 4 hours for this hike, especially if you are a first timer, due to all of the beautiful sights along the way. The popular Seven Sacred Pools are nearby and also located partially on the Pipiwai Trail. If you are coming from Kahului or another part of the island and aren't already in the Hana area, allow at least a full day for the drive as well as the hike.

Pack List

  • Closed toed shoes or hiking boots
  • Camera (and optional tripod) 
  • $15 for entrance fee to Haleakala NP 
  • Bathing suit (optional) 
  • Water 
  • Sunscreen
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Reviews

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This trail and the Road to Hana are life changing experiences. Walking through the bamboo forest is something that's hard to describe and must be experienced in person. This entire hike is a feast for the senses. We received some great advice that I believe helped us a lot, and allowed us to experience this beautiful place and others without the crowds. It was to drive to the end of the road to Hana, do this hike first, then backtrack and hit the other sites. Most people do it the other way of course, stopping along the way and ending up at the Pipiwai Trail. A few tips: This is a rainforest so dress accordingly with light, wicking clothing that dries quickly and bring a lot of water! In addition, make sure to be at the start of the Road to Hana no later than about 8 am if you are planning to do the whole thing and see all of the sites in one day.

about 1 month ago
about 1 month ago

Very nice trail and well maintained. Bring enough water!

about 2 months ago
about 2 months ago

I did the road to Hana early, then kept driving up to the park. I was ready to stretch some legs, and this trail did the trick. It's easy, stunning through the bamboo forest, and the Waimoku Falls is a beautiful waterfall (better than those you see on the road to Hana by far)! I did go under the waterfall (not exactly the smartest decision) very briefly for a dip. This hike can be quite muddy so make sure to bring proper footwear.

3 months ago
3 months ago

I haven't hiked everything in Maui but this is the best hike I've done. Views of the ocean, pretty trees and lots of waterfalls. The bamboo forest is my favorite part. It is unreal!

11 months ago
11 months ago

Loved this trail -- ocean views, a bamboo forest, pools, and a waterfall! It does get incredible hot on the exposed parts of the trail so bring plenty of water. Make sure you go a little passed the sign at the end of the trail to get a close up of the waterfall.

11 months ago
11 months ago

If your visiting Maui this is a definite must see, especially if you've already made the drive to Hana. The bamboo forests are unreal and Waimoku falls is a great destination!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Brian FuldaExplorer

Hi! I'm Brian, a photographer based in San Francisco that has an avid love for the outdoors, travel, hiking, redwoods, astronomy, guitar, cameras, and writing.

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