Upper Puohokamoa Falls (or just Puohokamoa Falls) drew quite a crowd when we first saw it back in 2003.
We figured its popularity was due to the fact that its pullouts and trailhead were quite easy to see plus the crowd made it easy for us to slow down and not miss the attraction altogether. However, I think the crowd was also a result of there being room for only a handful of cars.
The falls itself was not particularly spectacular as it only fell roughly 30ft, but practically anyone can get to it with its flat paved trail. I think this place was so popular that we even saw a local selling handcrafted souvenirs near the sheltered viewing deck.
No one was swimming when we were there in 2003 because the stream was flowing violently given the heavy rain in the area (it was from a late season hurricane that broke up and dumped its rain on us). Even though we hadn’t seen it in a more quieter state when the falls would be far thinner than what’s shown above, I’m sure it would’ve been a pleasant and popular swimming hole under such conditions. It wouldn’t surprise me if some daring individuals would climb to the top of the falls and jump!
On our most recent visit to the falls in 2007, we saw a concrete barricade was erected to block any more entry to the falls. The reason was that the landowners feared more episodes of liability from (I suspect frivolous) slip-and-fall lawsuits, which was a real pity. I figured people only do what makes sense to them given the rules provided to them by government, and I’m under the impression that the economics and/or risks involved just don’t make sense to encourage landowners to share their treasures these days. So the bottom line is that we were never able to see the falls since our 2003 trip.
We later learned that it might still be possible to view the falls despite the issues with access. The way to do it would be to go to the nearby Garden of Eden Arboretum and Botanical Garden. We though we have yet to exercise this option, I understand it featured a top-down view of Upper Puohokamoa Falls (as well as coastal overlooks) from within its garden. Of course, this is a paid admission attraction because of the amount of work devoted to maintaining its lush garden. Apparently, it was also featured in the opening sequence of the movie “Jurassic Park” though I’ve only seen that movie in bits and pieces and can’t really say whether it’s true or not.
Finally, I’ve read that it’s still possible to get to the base of the falls from the opposite side of the stream of where the trail was. However, I suspect that would be trespassing if the owners can’t give you the aloha to come visit.
As you head towards Hana, the pullout for access to the base of Upper Puohokamoa Falls is just past the 11-mile post, on the near side of the Puohokamoa Stream bridge. Parking is on the mauka (mountain) side and is very limited on either ends of the bridge.
The Garden of Eden Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a half mile past the 10-mile post on the mauka side.
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). The 11-mile post is roughly 21 miles (less than an hour) east of Pa’ia.
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