Makamakaole Falls (or Makamaka’ole Falls) is another rare West Maui waterfall that we didn’t need a helicopter to see.
In my experience, I was only able to get distant views of this multi-tiered said-to-be 270ft tall waterfall. I have read in the literature that there are better views than what I got, but of the two times I have done the Waihe’e Ridge Trail (or at least parts of it), that “better” view has eluded me. I guess I didn’t have the patience to persist on the track until I got a better view than this.
Anyways, from the car park for the Waihe’e Ridge Trail (see directions below), I walked up a steep concrete path up towards a water tank I believe. It’s from the top of this steep ramp (400ft elevation gain I think) that I was able to start getting a glimpse of the falls (though the falls was partially visible back at the trailhead and the approach road). It was also at this point that the Waihe’e Ridge Trail officially began.
From near the start of the grassy area, the views continued to improve (as you can see from the photo at the top of this page). On my first visit here back in 2003, I continued to the Waihe’e Valley Overlook (but not all the way to the ridge since Julie was waiting in the car and I couldn’t do the whole 5-mile return hike alone with her waiting). I also didn’t recall seeing there were better views of Makamakaole Falls, but then again, I wasn’t actively seeking a better view of it at the time.
From Wailuku, take Hwy 330 north. After 2 miles, Hwy 330 merges with Hwy 340. Continue north on Hwy 340 for about 6.5 miles (0.9 miles north of the 6-mile post; 0.1 miles south of 7-mile post) to the signed turnoff for Maluhia Boy Scout Camp and the Waihe’e Ridge Trail.
Turn left at this signed turnoff onto the smaller access road, and continue 3/4-mile to a small car park by a bend in the road. There is parking for four cars adjacent to a gate and a signpost saying Waihe’e Ridge Trail. Less than a quarter-mile down the road from the Waihe’e Ridge trailhead is the car park for Maluhia Boy Scout Camp (you went too far if you made it here).
To provide you with a little context, we generally stay in West Maui in either Lahaina or Ka’anapali. The most straightforward drive from say Lahaina to Wailuku would be to drive south on Hwy 30 and wrap all the way around the south end of West Maui taking a little over a half-hour to go 22.5 miles. Once in Wailuku, you can pick up the directions as given above.
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