Hike the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku

Pipiwai Trail

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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RT Distance 4 Miles
Activities Chillin, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

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Favorite Trail In Maui

Love this place! Have been twice in the past year traveling from San Francisco and it’s definitely a great part of visiting the island. Jump into the water and experience the bamboo forest. Unreal experience!

Worth The Hike

The 7 sacred pools were not open to swim in when we went but ended up doing this hike. Easy hike seeing multiple smaller water falls, and bamboo forest. The final waterfall is definitely worth the 2 mile hike up. I would not travel the road to Hana to do this hike but if your driving by definitely do it to get out of the car and get a little exercise!

Experience of a Lifetime

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.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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