16 Maui Waterfalls That Are Open in 2024 + Map
Breathtaking waterfalls in Maui can be found throughout the island, each offering a distinct experience for travelers. Some are nestled deep within the heart of verdant rainforests, while others are accessible by short hikes or scenic drives along the famous Road to Hana.
Maui, the second-largest Hawaiian island, is renowned for its lush landscapes, pristine beaches, and awe-inspiring waterfalls. A visit to Hawaii cannot be complete without exploring some of these magnificent cascades.
This guide delves into the details, providing insights on height, surrounding fauna, accessibility, swimming options, and unique features, as well as any nearby attractions you won’t want to miss.
Each Maui waterfall’s description will be followed by a brief “How to get there?” section, outlining practical details such as the nearest city, driving distance, parking, and entrance fees. With this guide, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on an unforgettable journey to witness the cascading beauty of Maui’s most captivating waterfalls.
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Waterfalls of Maui with a map
Maui, Hawaii is home to some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the world. This beautiful island offers visitors a chance to explore these stunning natural wonders and immerse themselves in the lush, tropical surroundings.
The highest waterfall in Maui is Honokohau Falls. It is a breathtaking two-tiered cascade located in the West Maui Mountains only accessible via helicopter. It has an impressive total height of approximately 1,100 feet, making it the tallest waterfall on Maui. If you are looking for the highest you can actually hike to, Waimoku Falls with its 400-foot height should be up next.
For those in search of a more intimate waterfall experience on Maui, the island offers enchanting small cascades. Twin Falls, along the famous Road to Hana, is a delightful series of gentle waterfalls, creating serene pools perfect for wading. Or Upper Waikani Falls, also known as Three Bears Falls, features a trio of smaller cascades, each with its own distinct character. These locations are ideal for those who cherish the tranquil beauty of smaller waterfalls.
The Ohe’o Gulch Falls or Seven Sacred Pools , part of Haleakala National Park, provide a picturesque swimming experience with their cascading waterfalls and natural pools leading into the ocean. These locations are perfect for those seeking both the beauty of a waterfall and the joy of a swim in nature.
On Maui, hidden gems like Makamakaole Falls offer secluded and serene waterfall experiences. It has off-the-beaten-path charm in a peaceful setting for eco-tourists seeking solitude amidst Maui’s natural beauty.
For families traveling with kids or those seeking easy-access waterfalls in Maui, Twin Falls and Wailua Falls are excellent choices.
Honokohau Falls – The highest waterfall in Maui
Honokohau Falls, one of Maui’s tallest waterfalls, is a breathtaking two-tiered cascade located in the West Maui Mountains. Accessible primarily by helicopter tours, this remote waterfall plunges over 1,100 feet, surrounded by pristine rainforest. Its secluded location makes it a spectacular sight for those seeking an aerial adventure.
How to get there? – Helicopter tours typically depart from Kahului or Kapalua, with flight times varying based on the tour operator. Please note that if you are looking for an eco-friendly activity, choose to visit one of the other Maui waterfalls in this list.
Waimoku Falls (and Makahiku Falls)
Waimoku Falls is a stunning 400-foot waterfall located at the end of the Pipiwai Trail in Haleakala National Park. The 4-mile round-trip hike is moderately challenging. As you embark on this adventure, you’ll pass the 185-foot Makahiku Falls and the mesmerizing Bamboo Forest, both offering picturesque views and a serene atmosphere. The trail culminates at Waimoku Falls, a powerful and awe-inspiring sight. While swimming is not advised at Waimoku Falls due to potential hazards, you can still appreciate the stunning beauty and powerful presence of the waterfall.
How to get there? – The nearest town is Hana, with a drive time of about 15 minutes to the Haleakala National Park‘s Kipahulu District. Here, you will find parking and access to the trailhead for the Pipiwai Trail. There is an entrance fee which you can pay at Haleakala National Park.
Twin Falls Maui
Twin Falls, a picturesque duo of waterfalls for 10-15 feet, is located along the famous Road to Hana. These famous falls are easily accessible, with a short walk of about 0.5 miles from the parking area. The surrounding area is lush with tropical plants, offering a vibrant display of Maui’s natural flora. The lower falls have a small pool suitable for swimming, making it a popular spot for families and casual visitors. The accessibility and charm of Twin Falls make it a delightful first stop on the Hana journey.
How to get there? – The nearest town is Haiku, with a drive time of about 10-15 minutes to the trailhead. The falls are located just beyond mile marker 2 on the Hana Highway, near the Ho’olawa nui Stream. There is a paid parking area available for visitors, which should be used if you want to get access to the trail.
Wailua Falls (+ Pua’a Lu’u Falls and Hahalawe Falls)
Don’t mistake it for the 173-foot tall Wailua Falls in Kauai. The Wailua Falls in Maui is a stunning 80-foot waterfall, visible from the Hana Highway. Known for its easy accessibility, it requires no hiking, allowing visitors to view the falls directly from the roadside. The falls are surrounded by lush greenery, creating a picturesque backdrop. While there is no pool for swimming, the sheer beauty of Wailua Falls makes it a must-see for travelers on the Road to Hana.
Visitors can also explore Pua’a Lu’u Falls and Hahalawe Falls, both located a little farther down the road from Wailua Falls.
How to get there? – Wailua Falls is situated along the famous Road to Hana, which can be easily accessed by driving. The falls are just a short 10-min drive past the town of Hana, and there is a convenient parking area near the waterfall.
Makamakaole Falls, a 270-foot tall waterfall, is accessible via the 5-mile roundtrip Waihe’e Ridge Trail on Maui’s western coast. The trail, offering breathtaking views and passing through a bamboo forest, leads to distant views of the falls set against a lush jungle backdrop. This hike is a rewarding experience for those seeking both adventure and natural beauty.
How to get there? – The nearest town is Wailuku, with a drive time of approximately 20-25 minutes to the trailhead. While the falls are accessible without a fee, parking might be limited, so it’s advisable to plan your visit accordingly.
Puaa Kaa Falls
Situated in Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park, Puaa Kaa Falls is a charming 20-foot waterfall accessible via a short, easy trail of 0.37 miles. The trail, suitable for all ages, winds through a verdant landscape, offering a glimpse into Maui’s rich ecosystem. The falls feature a small, welcoming pool, perfect for a refreshing swim in a serene setting.
How to get there? – The nearest town is Hana, with a drive time of approximately 20-25 minutes to the state park. The waterfall is approximately 22 miles east of Kahului and can be found between mile markers 22 and 23 on the highway. There is a parking area at Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park, and from there, it’s just a short walk to the falls. No entrance fees are required to visit this beautiful attraction.
Pools of Oheo (Oheo Gulch)
The Pools of Oheo, also known as the Seven Sacred Pools, are a series of picturesque pools and small cascades located in Haleakala National Park. A short hike on the Kuloa Point Trail, about 15 minutes, leads to this tranquil spot. The area is surrounded by lush tropical flora, offering a peaceful swimming experience amidst nature’s beauty.
How to get there? – The nearest town is Hana, with a drive time of around 15 minutes to the national park entrance. There is an entrance fee to be paid to enter the park including the pools.
Punalau Falls, a hidden gem in northeastern Maui, is a 100-foot waterfall reached via a challenging hike. The trail, requiring proper gear and caution, is not recommended after rains due to flash flood risks. This secluded waterfall is surrounded by dense forest, offering a serene and rugged adventure for experienced hikers.
How to get there? – The nearest town is Hana, with a drive time of approximately 30-35 minutes to the trailhead. Parking is available at the milemarker 13 on the Road to Hana.
Alelele Falls, located in the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park, is an 80-foot tall waterfall. The trail to Alelele is short and relatively easy, featuring a few stream crossings. The falls are set in a tranquil area, ideal for a peaceful swim in the pool beneath the cascade.
How to get there? – The nearest town is Hana, with a drive time of about 25-30 minutes to the national park area. Parking is available after the Alelele Bridge where the access to the trail is also located. As it is part of a National Park, there is an entrance fee to be paid.
Visible from the Hana Highway, Kopiliula Falls is a scenic waterfall accessible via a two-mile, moderately rated trail. The trail is steep and can be muddy, but it leads to a beautiful waterfall surrounded by lush greenery, offering a serene experience.
How to get there? – The nearest town is Hana, with a drive time of approximately 10-15 minutes to the trailhead. It is more off-the-beaten-path destination, so limited parking is available.
Makapipi Falls, easily accessible from the Road to Hana, offers a unique view from a bridge over the stream. A short hike down to the water’s edge provides a closer look at this waterfall, best experienced after rainfall for a more powerful flow.
How to get there? – Located near Hana, it’s about a 10-15 minute drive from the town center. There is no designated parking area, but there may be informal or roadside parking available.
‘Iao Valley State Park Waterfall
‘Iao Valley State Park Waterfall is nestled in the lush ‘Iao Valley, a historically significant and culturally rich area. The waterfall is easily accessible, with a paved walkway leading to a scenic viewpoint. Surrounded by the towering walls of the valley and dense rainforest, this waterfall offers a glimpse into the heart of Maui’s natural splendor.
How to get there? – The nearest city is Wailuku, with a drive time of approximately 5-10 minutes to the state park. There is a parking as well as an entrance fee for ‘Iao Valley State Park.
Three Bear Falls (aka Waikani Falls)
Waikani Falls, also known as Three Bears Falls, is a stunning series of cascades located on the Road to Hana. This waterfall is easily visible from the road, making it a convenient stop for travelers. The falls drop into a large, inviting pool, surrounded by lush greenery and rugged cliffs. The ease of access and the breathtaking view make Waikani Falls a favorite among families and casual visitors.
How to get there? – The nearest town is Hana, with a drive time of about 30-40 minutes along the Hana Highway, depending on the starting point. There is no designated parking lot and no entrance fee.
Nahiku Pond and Nahiku Landing – CLOSED
Nahiku Pond and Nahiku Landing are located off the Hana Highway, offering a serene retreat. The pond, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, is a hidden gem, perfect for a peaceful swim. Nahiku Landing provides stunning ocean views and a glimpse of Maui’s rugged coastline. The area is accessible via a short hike, revealing the quiet beauty of East Maui.
How to get there? – The nearest town is Hana, with a drive time of about 20-25 minutes along the Hana Highway.
Lower Puohokamoa Falls – CLOSED
Lower Puohokamoa Falls is a charming and easily accessible waterfall located along the famous Road to Hana in Maui. This hidden gem offers a short and gentle walk, leading to a viewpoint that overlooks the graceful cascade. The falls are surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, providing a picturesque and serene environment. This spot is ideal for those seeking a quick and easy waterfall experience without the need for a strenuous hike.
How to get there? – The nearest town is Paia, with a drive time of approximately 15-20 minutes along the Hana Highway.
When exploring the waterfalls of Maui, it is essential to keep safety in mind. The waterfalls’ beauty might be captivating, but swimming in their pools and venturing near them requires caution. Factors like the potential for flash floods, land conditions, and bacteria in the water must be taken into account.
Swimming: Not all waterfalls on Maui are safe for swimming. Some may have strong currents or hidden rocks that could be hazardous. It is important to research each waterfall beforehand and follow posted signs in the area, as conditions can change. The water at many waterfalls can be cold, which may lead to cramps or hypothermia if you are not prepared.
Flash Flooding: Another important safety concern is the potential for flash flooding. Sudden, heavy rainfall in the region can cause water levels to rise quickly, creating powerful currents that could be dangerous for swimmers and hikers alike. Always check the weather forecast before heading out and remain vigilant for any signs of rapidly changing water levels.
Cuts and Wounds: Be careful when swimming in Maui waterfalls, as Leptospirosis bacteria can be present in the water. Open cuts and wounds can become infected if exposed to these bacteria, so it is advised to avoid swimming with open wounds.
Slippery Terrain: The area around waterfalls can be wet and slippery, making it easy to lose your footing and fall. Wear sturdy, non-slip footwear and use caution when walking near the waterfalls.
To ensure a safe and enjoyable visit, be sure to follow these safety considerations and adhere to any posted signs and warnings. Your Maui waterfall experience will be all the more memorable when undertaken with caution and respect for the environment.
Twin Falls is considered one of the easiest waterfalls to reach on Maui since it is located on the famous Road to Hana. It is a short walk on a well-maintained path.
Some popular waterfalls you can swim in include Twin Falls, Oheo Gulch and Pua’a Ka’a Falls. Always remember not to swim with open cuts and never drink the water, as bacteria can be present in Hawaiian streams.
Alelele Falls is located in East Maui or Honokohau Falls, a towering 1,100-foot waterfall in West Maui, which is accessible only by helicopter tours.
Emese Maczko is a travel blogger behind Eco Lodges Anywhere. Having explored several destinations around Europe, the US, Indonesia, and Australia, and resided in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg, Emese possesses a keen understanding of diverse cultures and an appreciation for the beauty of each destination she visits. She advocates for sustainable travel and ecotourism.