Maui is called the Valley Isle, and hidden within its lush valleys are some of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls. Fresh mountain water cascades into inviting pools, and the perfect Hawaii weather makes them even more incredible.
Waterfall hikes are a great way to add a little adventure to any vacation, plus it’s a great way to witness the Hawaiian island of Maui’s epic scenery up close and personal.
Most of Maui’s greatest waterfalls are along the Road to Hana, a winding historical road that stretches along Maui’s northeast coast. Turn after turn brings you another waterfall, each special in its own way. But there are also a couple more in the West Maui Mountains that are well worth the adventure.
Here are 18 Maui waterfalls that we know you’re going to love.
Note: Before exploring Maui waterfalls, be sure to understand the risk. Flash floods can suddenly make paths and swimming holes deadly. You should follow the weather and adhere to any signage. Leptospira bacteria is also a risk when swimming in Maui’s stream-fed waterfalls, so never enter the water if you have open wounds.
This spectacular waterfall is the tallest on the island, but you can’t reach it on foot. Instead, you’ll have to book a helicopter tour to witness Honokohau Falls. A helicopter tour is a pricey activity, but it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime journey that allows you unparalleled access to some of Maui’s most magnificent sights.
Honokohau Falls is located in the West Maui Mountains. Ample rain feeds the waterfall, which features two tiers and reaches over 1100 feet. The surrounding cliffs are unbelievably green – no photo could ever do this breathtaking sight justice. If you’re looking for amazing Maui waterfalls, this one tops the list.
Alelele Falls is located past Hana and features a pretty easy hike. You’ll go through the gorgeous jungle and cross a stream before coming to the falls, which are about 50 feet high and remain somewhat secluded.
By the time you reach this spot, you’ve traveled the Road to Hana, stopped at multiple waterfalls, and still have the entire drive back. It will be tempting to opt out of the Alelele Falls hike, but you should save some energy and gusto for this adventure.
After the hike, you’ll likely turn around and return the way you came. Some travelers do continue on and make the full loop around East Maui, navigating tricky narrow roads that are as beautiful as they are frightening. But that’s a decision you’ll want to make in advance, so you can prepare for the long and challenging drive.
While Alelele Falls is the last waterfall along the Hana Belt, Twin Falls will be the first hike on your adventure. This picturesque spot is really popular, since it’s so accessible and easy to hike.
While it can be the first stop on your Road to Hana adventure, I like to make it a trip of its own. We’ll get lunch in Paia, see the sea turtles at Hookipa, and then hike to Twin Falls. So if you aren’t interested in doing the entire Road to Hana, you can check out Twin Falls to get in a hike, a waterfall swim, and a glimpse at the lush tropical flora found in East Maui.
There’s a small gravel parking lot at the trailhead, located at Mile Marker 2 on Hana Highway. Wailele Farm allows access to the trails, manages parking, provides port-a-potties, and has a small snack stand there.
As you travel the Road to Hana, Hanawi Falls is sure to catch your eye, but don’t miss admiring the historic bridge as you sightsee. The bridge was built in the 1920s and features lush vines. You drive over it and see Hanawi Falls against the mountain, with the stream winding under the bridge and further into the valley.
You’re deep in the tropical landscape now, so you may be lucky enough to see it dappled with Hawaii sunshine. Roll your windows down and listen to the waterfalls as you take in this unique scene that transports you in place and time.
After you reach Hana, continue another 10 miles to Oheo Gulch. This stunning series of ponds are located at Haleakala National Park. It’s a separate entrance from the summit of Haleakala, but you can use your three-day pass at both locations. So if you visit Oheo Gulch and Haleakala Summit within three days, it’s just the one entrance fee.
One of my favorite memories from Maui is from Oheo Gulch, where swimming holes overlook the ocean. On a pretty day, you can cool off in the freshwater pool while looking over at the turquoise waters off the coast.
This area is called Seven Sacred Pools, but there are more than seven pools here. And despite its peaceful name, swimming in the ponds can be dangerous. The National Park will often close access to the swimming holes, though you can usually still hike along Kuloa Trail and see them from the path.
The bridge over Makapipi Falls on Hana Highway crosses right over the top of the waterfall, allowing sightseers to look down from the tip-top of the falls. Look for this fall just past mile marker 25 as you drive to Hana. The swimming hole is easily accessible through a short, steep hike.
Park completely off the road on the other side of the bridge, and then walk back over it to check out the view from above. Then it’s time to trek down into the clear blue waters to see Makapipi Falls up close.
LOWER PUOHOKAMOA FALLS
Lower Puohokamoa Falls is a hidden gem along the Road to Hana, and it stretches 130 feet high. You can’t see it from the main road, so be sure to use the pullover past Mile Marker 10 to catch this view.
The trail to access the falls is steep and dangerous, so take in the unique vantage point near the trailhead and don’t venture past any keep-out signs.
If you’re looking for a challenging and secluded waterfall hike, Punalau Falls could be the one for you. You can’t see the falls from the roadside, so look for the single parking spot between miles 13 and 14. That’s where you’ll find the trail, which will lead you along a quarter-mile hike along the stream.
The hike to get here involves crossing slick rocks in the lush tropical forest. Adventurers are rewarded with a grand view of the towering falls, which you’ll likely have all to yourself. Like all waterfall hikes, only attempt this excursion if the weather has been clear and you see blue skies upslope.
Past Hana, on National Park Service grounds, you’ll find Pipiwai Trail, an incredible hike that’s adventurous and full of unparalleled scenery. One of the trail’s highlights is Makahiku Falls, which is just a half-mile from the parking lot.
Admire Makahiku Falls from afar – it looks magical amidst the lush trees as it falls from the edge of the lush volcano. The National Park Service has prohibited access to the swimming hole at the waterfall’s feet.
Park in the Haleakala National Park lot near Mile Marker 42. It’s about a half-mile to the falls, after which you can turn around and return, or continue to Waimoku Falls.
The many stops along the Road to Hana can be tiresome, but the hike to Waimoku Falls will restore your enthusiasm. The scenery there is one-of-a-kind: musical bamboo towers, an array of tropical greenery, and an ever-expanding Banyan tree.
After passing through a cool stream, you end up standing at the foot of a 400-foot cliff with one of the tallest waterfalls on Maui.
Waimoku Falls is at the end of Pipiwai Trail, which you access from the National Park past Hana. It’s about a two-mile walk to the falls.
UPPER WAIKANI FALLS
Upper Waikani Falls consists of three side by side waterfalls, and the pool at their feet will be impossible to resist swimming in. The mossy rocks and natural landscaping are divine. And the best part is that it only takes a couple of minutes to access this site from Hana Highway.
Look for Upper Waikani Falls past Mile Marker 19 as you head to Hana. The bridge looks like it’s out of a storybook, and you can access the falls by trekking downslope by the bridge.
When the water flow is heavy, you can enjoy the waterfall from the safety of the road and witness the three falls merge into one monstrous cascade.
If you journey past Hana – and even past the Ohia Gulch area at the National Park – you’ll be rewarded with a picture-perfect waterfall that requires no hiking. Wailua Falls is located at Mile Marker 45 and is excellent for families.
Keep in mind Wailua Falls is separate from the town of Wailua, which is just past Keanae (halfway to Hana).
You’ll be able to take in the beauty of Wailua Falls as you drive by, or park in the small lot just past the falls to take a dip in the pond. It’s an inviting spot, thanks to its accessibility, but many people turn around before making it this far past Hana.
If you want to avoid some crowds along Hana Highway, then check out Kopiliula Falls. Walk just over a mile to find these picturesque falls – the hike is as scenic as it is adventurous.
Venture over rocks and through mini falls that form along the rocky path. You’ll get wet along the hike, which is fine because you’ll want to swim in Kopiliula Falls as soon as you reach its clear blue waters.
You will get remarkable waterfall scenery, and you can also enjoy panoramic views of the emerald East Maui landscape against the bright blue Pacific Ocean.
The trailhead is easy to miss. Look for it just past Mile Marker 21 as you head to Hana.
NAHIKU POND AND NAHIKU LANDING
If you’re up for a detour along the Road to Hana, Nahiku Pond and Nahiku Landing are an adventurer’s dream.
After you pass Mile Marker 25, turn left and go downhill on Nahiku Road. It’ll take several minutes to drive down the narrow, winding road, and there is sometimes fruit on roadside stands.
The road eventually ends near the town’s church. From there, you’ll walk along the jungle road to access Nahiku Pond, which often features a rope swing. You’ll also find Nahiku Landing and its magical shoreline views.
Nahiku is a small residential town, so be sure to respect any Kapu (keep out) signs. The swimming hole sometimes dries up if there’s been little rainfall.
If you aren’t much for hiking, Waikamoi stream has the waterfall for you. This is one of my favorite waterfall stops along the Road to Hana, but I’m partial to off-the-road swims, even if that does mean they’re busier. There was a rope swing when I was here, which made this simple little spot even more fun.
The Waikamoi waterfall is located near Mile Marker 10 and is tempting to drive past. But if you take the time to stop, you’ll be treated to a scenic swimming hole and majestic fall just steps away from the road.
Waikamoi is the second waterfall stop along the Road to Hana. It’s a great option if you don’t want to include much hiking in your drive or if you don’t want to make the whole trip to Hana.
PUA’A KA’A FALLS
Travelers along Hana Highway may use the Puaʻa Kaʻa Falls stop as a restroom break, thanks to its ample parking and facilities. It’s also a great place to view idyllic waterfalls and swim in a beautiful Hawaii swimming hole.
It’s a busy spot since it’s so easy to get to, but it’s a good option if you want to enjoy a waterfall and swimming hole without the risk of trespassing.
There are actually two falls at this charming stop, but the second one requires a dangerous hike. We recommend sticking with the pond near the parking lot – save your hiking energy for a more scenic and safe excursion.
This hidden gem is a rare Maui waterfall that’s not on Hana Highway. If you dare to venture along Kahekili Highway, along the backside of the West Maui Mountains, stop and explore Makamakaole Falls.
To get up close to this serene site, hike the 13-Crossings Trail. It’s a magical hike, complete with a bamboo forest and lush plant life. If you’d rather see the multi-tiered fall from afar, you can hike the nearby Waihee Ridge Trail and take in the views from above.
You should avoid all waterfall hikes when there’s a risk of rain, but this one warrants an extra warning since it involves so many crossings. Skip Makamakaole Falls if the water is high, rushing, or if there are gray clouds uphill.
You can find the unmarked trailhead just past the Makamakaole Stream Bridge as you leave Wailuku. Wear water shoes and bring trekking poles, as it can be tough to cross through the stream.
Nemo Falls is an undisturbed waterfall located in the Koolau Forest Reserve. It’s a stunning sight and a gorgeous swimming area, but the hike there crosses over private land.
We recommend checking out the local Sierra Club, as they often get legal waivers to pass over East Maui Irrigation Land. Going with the Sierra Club also enables you to have an expert-led hike that’s likely enriched with cultural knowledge.
Writer’s Note – The ‘okina and kahako are important diacritical markings in the Hawaiian language. Unfortunately, this can affect your ability to find us in Search Engines and sometimes make words unreadable online, so we have excluded them from most of our articles.
MAPPING YOUR WATERFALL JOURNEY
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO HAWAII
- YOUR HAWAII VACATION
- MAUI: 32 Best Things To Do In Maui: From The Mountains To The Sea
- OAHU WATERFALLS: 13 Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Oahu Has To Offer
- CASTLES: 25 Amazing Castles In America You’ve Got To Visit
- AQUARIUMS: 29 Best Aquariums In The U.S. You Have To Visit
WHERE TO STAY IN MAUI
We make no guarantees of any price listed on our site. We are not responsible for content on external web sites linked from ours, including linked resources, an external blog post, any partner site, hotel property sites, or affiliate sites. We only write about places we love in an attempt to help you in your adventures, but we can’t guarantee you will love them, too.
Posts may contain affiliate links at no cost to you. Several of our trips are also compensated by the respective tourism boards for the city or state we are visiting. This never impacts how we share the destination with you – opinions are always our own and we pride ourselves on that. We do not sell links or accept unsolicited guest posts under any circumstances. Don’t even ask.
United States Copyright, 365 Atlanta Family, LLC