Alelele Falls was the last waterfall I saw while driving the Hana Highway (actually Pi’ilani Highway at this point) all the way around East Maui.
Just when we thought waterfall fatigue had set in after a full day of seeing waterfalls, this one surprised and amazed me. Even if I was sick of waterfalls at this point (hard not to do), I was glad I made the stop.
Here, I witnessed a 50ft waterfall two days after a rain storm (hence the decent flow). I understand it doesn’t last for very long (give it a few more days before it trickles or goes dry, I reckon). If that’s the case, timing is everything with this falls (as well as most of the other falls on this side of Maui). Then again, Alelele Falls doesn’t seem to be touched by irrigation ditches further to the northeast as the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park, which protected Waimoku Falls and the Pools of ‘Ohe’o, seemed to buffer it from them.
Ever since the Big Island Earthquake in October 2006, this part of the road was inaccessible for all the subsequent times we’ve returned to Maui (including our 2007 visit). So we were never able to see this waterfall ever since 2003. However, they apparently re-opened the Pi’ilani Highway for going completely around the eastern slopes of Haleakala, and I’m definitely keen to come back and revisit this little gem.
After parking the car at the Alelele Bridge pullout (see directions), I followed the trail north from the east side of Alelele Stream for roughly 10-15 minutes to the falls. There was at least one stream crossing, possibly more, depending on which criss-crossed footpath I followed (I don’t remember). I recalled that the stream crossings required some nifty rock hopping, and I’m sure I would’ve gotten wet if the water flow was higher.
In order to access this waterfall, I had to look for the pullout and Alelele Bridge about 0.3 miles past the 39-mile post. There was a white-colored bridge that had “ALELELE” painted in large black capital letters on its side (at least when I saw it back in 2003), which helped me identify it.
To provide you with a bit of context about this place, 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. It would take nearly an hour (15 miles) to continue driving to the bridge by the Alelele Stream.
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