Hike the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku

Hawaii Pipiwai Trail

Added by Unreal Hawaii

Hike the Pipiwai trail for 2 miles (4 roundtrip) through bamboo forests to a massive waterfall.

The Pipiwai Trail is one of the finest hikes I’ve been on in Hawaii. It’s part of the National Parks System and is probably the most ridiculously well maintained hiking trail I’ve seen. There are four key points of interest on this trail. (There were five actually, but one proved to be too dangerous so the state closed it down.) The first one though is this enormous banyan tree. The second is this view of Makahiku Falls. The third is the picturesque bamboo forest. And the fourth is the 400 ft Waimoku Falls.

The Pipiwai Trail is located in southeast Maui. It’s within Haleakala National Park in the area called Kipahulu. The Pipiwai Trail is a 4-mile (round trip) hike that takes about 2 hours to complete. If you want to linger in the forest, you could spend up to 4 hours on this trail exploring the terrain and not be bored.

What I liked about the Pipiwai Trail was how much you get to see in such a short amount of time. And with an elevation gain of just 600 feet, the hiking is not too strenuous. You will break a sweat though.

As you start getting closer to the stream, keep looking up. You’ll see the Waimoku Falls between the trees. Remember, this thing is 400 feet tall. The trickiest part of the hike is right before the waterfall when you need to cross the stream. Don’t be afraid to get your shoes wet in the stream if you need to. Better to have wet socks than slip on a rock and crack your head open. When you reach the falls you’ll be standing in a giant waterfall chute at the bottom of a massive cliff. There is no swimming hole at the bottom of Waimoku Falls. Do not by any means stand under this thing. Debris comes down with the water. Even a pebble could injure you if it hit you from 400 feet up. You can get a good view from the hill. It’s a little eerie to stand on the hill when you realize it was created by a huge rockfall that happened when the sidewall of this gulch collapsed at some point in time.

After spending a few minutes taking photos at Waimoku Falls head back the way you came. Source

Pack List

  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Trail shoes
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Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



4 Miles



Easy Parking

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7 months ago

Unlike Any Other Hike You'll Ever Take

This hike is fantastic, and an absolute must if you find yourself on Maui. I got to explore the majority of the island during my time there and I must say this is probably the best hike you can do. The only drawback is that it's very popular and therefore crowded. One thing I would note to anyone looking to do this hike is to take the Hana Highway (Road to Hana) via the northeast coast to get there, and not the Piilani Highway which takes the southern coast to get there. The reason being is that the Hana Highway is a lot more safe and is fully paved the whole way. Only take the Piilani Highway if you are prepared to drive on very bumpy, gravel roads that are only one lane wide and drive on the side of a cliff. Once you get to the trailhead, allow at least 2.5 hours round trip to do this hike. Although you can do one way in about 45 minutes, allow for a bunch of time to take photographs and enjoy the scenery as it is stunning. Who wouldn't want to be rewarded with a 400-foot-tall waterfall at the end of their hike?

7 months ago

almost 1 year ago

Best Hike on Maui

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 1 year ago

Added by Unreal Hawaii

Unreal Hawaii is owned by designer and photographer David Chatsuthiphan. All photos and text on this website are by David Chatsuthiphan (unless otherwise noted). The website was launched in June of 2010. I moved to Hawaii from California in 2007. For the first two years I lived here, I spent my free time learning how to surf and exploring Honolulu. Then, I got introduced to hiking and started exploring the islands. There were many times when I found myself at the top of a mountain or at a secluded beach,thinking to myself over and over, “this is unreal.” The stories shared on Unreal Hawaii are an attempt to document and recreate those moments for you.

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