The Hana Highway Waterfalls Summary and Road Guide

Hana Highway (Maui Island), Hawaii, USA

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 1
Wailuaiki Falls - one of many roadside waterfalls on the Hana Highway


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The Hana Highway Waterfalls page is where I'm summarizing the waterfalls of windward Maui. However, I'm only going to describe on this page what I've categorized as "minor waterfalls."

By that, I'm referring to the unnamed (or even named) waterfalls you may spot during a Hana Highway driving tour but do not stand out on their own given their fickle flow. Now I'm sure a purist could probably make a case for some of the named waterfalls with a web page dedicated to them that ought to belong on this page and not be given special attention. I suppose it's a subjective call. On the flip side, there are way too many waterfalls to single out and devote web pages to, and that's really the main reason why this page was born.

The "major waterfalls" have hyperlinks pointing to their respective dedicated pages so you can read more about them over there instead of cluttering this page.

Why should you care about this page?

Well, if you're looking for a little waterfalls road guide, you may find this page useful because we're listing out all the waterfalls that we've encountered in the order we've seen them (and how you're likely to see them) driving in a clockwise direction towards Hana from Central Maui.

As added motivation to stop at some of the more obscure waterfalls described on this page, you may find that some are secluded swimming holes where you may be able to have it all to yourself! Others may be hidden gems if you happen to be there at the right time. Then again, there may be others where access to them may be unreliable due to trespassing concerns.

Finally, I have to point out that it's quite conceivable that most of the waterfalls in windward Maui may have had more reliable flow in the past. However, with the advent of East Maui Irrigation (EMI) ditches way upslope from the road, most of the streams no longer have reliable flow further downstream of those ditches. I believe the reason why the ditches were there in the first place was to divert water towards Central Maui to feed thirsty sugar cane crops. The bottom line is that you're likely to find most of these waterfalls in a state that's dry, trickling, or in a flooded state if it's raining. It's not likely you're going to find them in an in-between or satisfying steady-flow state.

So without further adieu, here's the road guide down below (assuming clockwise direction)...

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View of the coastline through which Hana Highway curves its way through
Sea arch at Waianapanapa - a worthwhile stop on the Hana Highway
If you do manage to drive all the way around East Maui via the Pi'ilani Highway, look for this sea arch known as the Pokowai Sea Arch
Lava fields surrounding Pi'ilani Highway at the opposite end of the Hana Highway

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Twin Falls

See this page.

Waterfall on the Waikamoi Stream

The waterfall on Waikamoi StreamThis waterfall appears to flow only during heavy rain. Under such conditions, this one's easy to spot. I tried to get closer to the falls for a better look, but there's too much growth and the scrambling got more difficult the further in I went. Look for pullouts on both sides of the road, just before the Waikamoi Stream Bridge at the 10-mile post.

The waterfall on Waikamoi StreamApproaching the Waikamoi Stream. As you can see, it's quite visible from the road when it's this flooded.

The waterfall on Waikamoi StreamJust to show you how quickly this waterfall shrinks, this photo was taken the day after heavy rains flooded all the gulches. A short walk inland from the road got us to the edge of the pool.

Lower Puohokamoa Falls

See this page.

Upper Puohokamoa Falls

See this page.

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Ha'ipua'ena Falls (Haipuaena Falls)

Ha'ipua'ena FallsThis tiny waterfall is just a short walk (less than 5 minutes) from the bridge over the Ha'ipua'ena Stream. There's a pullout here with parking for 1-2 cars about 0.5 miles past the 11-mile post.

Punalau Falls

See this page.

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Ching's Pond

Ching's PondAlso called the Sapphire Pool, it is a popular swimming hole, but the Keanae Taro Farmers have posted a No Trespassing sign to protect their taro fields. Look for a large pullout next to private Pi'inau Road on the mauka side of the Ke’anae Stream bridge, about 0.8 miles past the 16-mile post.

Ching's PondFrom the pullout walk about 30ft past the Pa'ia side of the bridge, where you will encounter a fairly easy downhill path passing a very large tree with a "No Trespassing" sign. Just a few paces down this path is Ching's Pond.

Miconia signWe saw this sign on a tree next to the Pi'inau Road on our 2007 visit. It caught our interest because we know invasive species have already wrecked just about all native wildlife in the Hawaiian Islands, and we're quite aware that Miconia calvescens is definitely not good news.

Lower Waikani Falls

See this page.

Upper Waikani Falls

See this page.

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Wailua Iki Falls (Wailuaiki Falls)

Cascade upstream from Lower Wailuaiki FallsI'm treating this cascade as an indicator as to whether you should bother looking for the 150ft Lower Wailuaiki Falls (or Lower Wailua Iki Falls) just on the other side (downstream) from the bridge. This is viewable from the bridge about 0.9 miles past the 20-mile post.

Cascade upstream from Lower Wailuaiki Falls in a flooded state back in 2003Here's a shot of the cascade in a flooded state during a rain storm back in September 2003. By the way, I'm actually not sure if this cascade is really the Wailua Iki Falls or if there's a more significant waterfall further upstream by that name. I figure for all intents and purposes, you're not likely going to spot the waterfall further upstream due to trespassing, ruggedness, etc. So its use as an indicator for the next waterfall is warranted.

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Lower Wailua Iki Falls (Lower Wailuaiki Falls)

Gorgeous falls on the Wailuaiki Stream below the Hana HighwayThis waterfall is real easy to miss if you're headed towards Hana, but real easy to spot if you're going counterclockwise away from Hana. This is that waterfall that just downstream of the indicator waterfall that I dubbed "Wailua Iki Falls." You can walk from the Wailua Iki Stream bridge by walking cautiously uphill (towards Hana) along the road to view the falls. Another way to see it is to drive past the bridge towards a second pullout, then walk downhill (away from Hana) to view the falls.

Lower Wailuaiki Falls when not in floodHere's a photo of the falls when not in flood. This photo was taken just two rainless days after a day when remnants of a hurricane saturated windward Maui in 2003.

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Kopiliula Falls (or is it Kopihula Falls?)

The obscured Kopihula FallsThis waterfall had all the makings of a real powerful beauty to behold. Even though it's visible from the road, accessing it is nontrivial due to the EMI (East Maui Irrigation) infrastructure built around the bridge by its stream. There are pullouts on both sides of the road as you approach the bridge, 0.9 miles past the 21-mile post

Rusted sign at Kopihula FallsHere's a photo of a rusted sign telling you to stay away.

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Kapaula Gulch

Ephemeral waterfall on Kapaula StreamThis attractive pair of twin waterfalls on the Kapaula Stream appears to only flow during heavy rain. I've seen it disappear or trickle just one day after heavy rains subsided so it's definitely ephemeral. When it does flow, I've never been able to get a clean look at both falls. There's a pullout just past the Kapa'ula Stream bridge, next to a private 4wd road, about 0.6 miles past the 23-mile post. Once you've pulled out, you can walk towards the bridge for a look.

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Hanawi Falls

Hanawi FallsThis is a roadside waterfall that can be quite impressive when it's raining hard - as in this photo. There are pullouts near the 24-mile post on both sides of the road and both ends of the Hanawi Stream bridge.

Note there's a Lower Hanawi Falls, which is said to flow reliably because its stream was untouched by irrigation ditches (its watercourse flows through springs). However, it requires a hike somewhere off the Nahiku Road and I understand that it goes through EMI land. From what I know, they haven't granted permission to access it (though some people have tried and made it). But to be honest, we haven't seriously tried to find it so we can't really say more about it.

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Makapipi Falls

Makapipi FallsThis is a also roadside waterfall close to a bridge. Unfortunately, I was only able to get a top down view of it (couldn't find a way to get in front of it). I'm sure there might be a way based on the presence of many No Trespassing signs here, but we don't really have any intentions of testing the intent of those signs. Look for this waterfall near the Nahiku Road turnoff at the milepost 25.

Makapipi FallsHere's a top down photo of the falls when it was in a swollen state.

No Trespassing signsJust to show you I wasn't kidding about the No Trespassing signs, this was what we saw on our last visit here in 2007.

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Nahiku Pond and Nahiku Landing

A pair of small springs or mini waterfalls going into a pool next to the oceanThis relatively hidden falls has a calm pool perfect for looking down the coastline towards the Keanae Peninsula. It's at the end of the Nahiku Road (about 2.5 miles from Hana Highway). The Nahiku Road turnoff is at the 25 milepost past the Makapipi Falls bridge.

Keanae Peninsula coastlineIf you turn around and look towards the ocean from the photo spot above, then you get this nice view of the coastline of the Keanae Peninsula.

Nahiku LandingHere's another view from Nahiku Landing. This time, we're looking to the far right of the panorama towards these rocks jutting out to sea.

Waiokilo FallsIt may not look like it in this photo (you have to look REAL closely), but there is a waterfall leaping off the Keanae Peninsula right into the ocean! It's called Waiokilo Falls, and if you're not flying a helicopter or boating the rough seas to get closer to it, then Nahiku Landing is probably the only place to view the falls. Clearly a telephoto lens is necessary to bring it closer though.

Nahiku PondPictured here is the Nahiku Pond. This rather quiet and secluded little pond is not signed and the path to find it is a little tricky. From the end of the Nahiku Road at the Nahiku Landing, head about 150ft uphill from where the guard rail ends on the left side of the road. There's an overgrown path leading down from the road and towards the stream. A little bit of scrambling along the stream gets you to this spot.

Access trail to the Nahiku PondOn the left side of this road, you can see that the trail of use to the Nahiku Pond is not that easy to spot.

Helele'ike'oha Falls

See this page.

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Paihi Falls

Paihi Falls in full flowWe saw this waterfall just as we crossed over a bridge as we descended into a gulch containing Wailua Falls. Too bad this one doesn't have pullouts around the bridge to get out of the car to take photos so what most people do is to slow down, stop on the bridge, have someone in the passenger seat take a photo, and then move on. Otherwise, you'll have to go all the way to Wailua Falls, then walk uphill towards this waterfall without getting in the way of traffic.

Paihi Falls in low flowAs you can see from this photo (taken just two rainless days after the previous photo), this waterfall has real temporary flow.

Paihi Falls from the temporary bridgeOn our latest trip here in 2007, the bridge over Paihi Stream was damaged from the October 2006 earthquake near Kona. So they built a temporary bridge to bypass the original bridge, but that temporary bridge made it awkward to photo this waterfall as you can see in this picture.

Wailua Falls

See this page.

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Hahalawe Gulch

Photo-sized FallsThe Blue Bible dubbed this as the "Photo-sized Falls" (a lame name), but it's really on the Hahalawe Stream. Getting this view of the falls requires a steep scramble from a pullout near the 43-mile post, just past the Hahalawe Gulch bridge. The pullout is about 0.9 miles past the 44-mile post. From the pullout, a steep primitive path goes underneath the road to the base of the falls.

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Pua'a-lu'u Falls (Puaa-luu Falls)

Pua'a-lu'u FallsI noticed this waterfall while driving between mile markers 43 and 42 (there might be a pullout near the white bridge I think). Just beyond the bridge, there's a roadside cliff and tiny hanging alcove on the mauka side containing a small shrine.

Pools of 'Ohe'o

See this page.

Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls

See this page and this page.

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Kukui'ula Falls (Kukuiula Falls)

Kukui'ula FallsWhen you continue past Ohe'o Gulch and the road begins to become single lane and unpaved, you'll have to look behind you when it's raining to notice this waterfall spilling into the turbulent ocean. I believe this one only flows if it's raining as I had also seen it disappear two dry days after a day of heavy rain.

Kukui'ula Falls in contextHere's a more contextual view of Kukuiula Falls

Alelele Falls

See this page.

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See the list below...

Heading towards Hana...

Going beyond Hana...

For a bit of context, we generally stay on the west side of Maui in either Lahaina or Ka'anapali. The drive from say Lahaina would require us to take Route 30 to Route 380 (taking roughly an hour without traffic). Once we're near the town of Pa'ia, we'd then be on Hwy 36 (becoming the Road to Hana or Hwy 360). Getting to Hana would take at least 2 hours drive (45 miles) east of Pa'ia without stops.

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For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.

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Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map

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For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.

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  • There are way too many to single out

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Unknown Hana Highway Waterfall 
Being in Maui some time ago I drove along the wonderful Hana Highway . I'm a waterfall lover and specially appreciated the large amount of them I found …

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