Maui waterfall hikes are some of the best in all of Hawaii, primarily because many of the stunning waterfalls on Maui are readily accessible via road or hikes.
We always preferred hiking to waterfalls in Maui, rather than just viewing from the car or the road.
Not only do you get a chance to stretch your legs, many of the waterfall hikes on Maui are through rainforest jungles, lush mountain ranges, and meandering streams, where you can view pretty Hawaiian birds and native Hawaiian plants.
Quite often we take small group or private, guided tours, just so that we can learn more about the fascinating Hawaiian culture, plants and birds from knowledgeable, local experts.
And then again, if our teenage kids want to indulge in some cliff jumping and swimming in the natural pools at the base of waterfalls, we’ll much rather do this under the guidance of a local expert, intimately familiar with the territory and risks.
Read on for some of the best hiking in Maui waterfalls, and I hope that you to get to enjoy some of these beautiful Maui waterfall hikes.
Want the structure of a guided hiking tour? Here are some great ones!
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Best Maui Waterfall Hikes
1. Kuloa Point Trail Hike
An easy, short (0.5 miles) loop trail in the Kipahulu District of Maui’s Haleakala National Park, the Kuloa Point Trail takes you to the Ohe’o Gulch, the Seven Sacred Pools, and the oceanside of the national park.
Either done separately for those who prefer a quick stroll, or as an add-on to the longer Pipiwai Trail, hiking the Kuloa Point Trail is a must do for those visiting the Haleakala National Park (Kipahulu District).
The Ohe’o Gulch (also called Pools of Oheo or Seven Sacred Pools) is a series (definitely more than seven) of beautiful, terraced pools on a tiered, cascading waterfall.
Take the loop trail counterclockwise, so you’re facing the falls while on the trail, and can take some great photos for your Instagram!
While swimming in the pools was allowed at one time, currently they are prohibited, primarily due to the danger of flash floods. Please heed all the posted warning signs!
2. Twin Falls Trail Hike
Make sure you reach here early, this is one of the more popular tourist attractions, and finding parking is always a headache! Also, parking is $10 for non-residents.
The two waterfalls and the hike are on private property owned by Wailele Farms, so please indulge in some delicious banana bread and coconut ice cream from their farm stand to support them!
The Lower Twin Falls is located right next to the parking area, and is easily accessible.
The Upper Twin Falls (also called Caveman Falls) is an easy 1-mile round trip hike through a rainforest jungle and includes some stream crossings.
You’ll see many tourists taking selfies in the natural pool at the base of the Upper Twin Falls, and a refreshing swim when the water conditions permit.
3. Pipiwai Trail Hike
One hike and two beautiful waterfalls? The Pipiwai Trail!
The trailhead is located near the parking lot of the Kipahulu District Visitor Center of Haleakala National Park.
Roughly 1/2 mile into the hike, you will come to a viewpoint from which you get magnificent views of the 200-foot Makahiku Falls with water tumbling from a cliff covered with dense, lush green, rainforest vegetation.
And then the 400-foot tall Waimoku Falls is right before you, a stunning spectacle in the midst of thick foliage with every conceivable shade of green!
4. Waihe’e Ridge Trail Hike
The Waihe’e Ridge Trail is a 4-mile roundtrip ridge hike with a climb of 1500 feet, and is rated moderate to hard in difficulty.
One bit of good news for those hiking to see a waterfall – the best waterfall viewpoint is roughly 0.8 miles into the hike, so you don’t need to go the full distance.
And what a spectacular view! You see in the distance, across the valley, the stunning, two-tiered 270-foot Makamaka’ole Falls.
On the Waihe’e Ridge trail, you’ll encounter a grove of Cook’s pine trees, planted by seamen who need wood for their sail masts, and a traditional rainforest with native ohia lehua trees, eucalyptus trees, kukui nut trees and fruit trees like strawberry-guava and ginger.
5. 13 Crossings Makamaka’ole Stream Trail Hike
The Waihe’e Ridge Trail provides spectacular, but long distance views, of the two-tiered Makamakaole Falls. If you want to get up close to the waterfalls, you can hike the 13 Crossings Trail.
The 13 Crossings Trail, so named because the trail repeatedly crosses the stream (we counted more than 13 crossings), is located off the Kahekili Highway in the West Maui mountains, not far from the Waihee Ridge Trailhead (expand the best Maui waterfall hikes map below).
The 13 Crossings Trail is moderate to difficult, and in a flash flood area, so skip the hike if it has rained heavily and the stream waters are raging or swollen. Note, while it may be sunny where you are, the flash floods could be triggered from rains upstream.
The main hike is about 2 miles roundtrip, and takes you to the first waterfall, a small one.
Here’s where things get interesting! If you want to get to the bigger waterfalls, you’ll have to use ropes (some were already positioned when we got there) to climb up the waterfall.
Definitely limited to adventure tourists and physically fit hikers, and I would do this only in a group. But if you persevere, you’ll climb multiple small waterfalls and then come to the much bigger waterfalls on Makamaka’ole stream!
I recommend viewing a couple of Youtube videos before you decide on climbing the waterfalls, and see if you can secure the services of a local hiking guide!
Best Maui Waterfall Hikes Map
The below best Maui waterfall hikes map shows the locations of the trail heads for the above hikes. Expand to view directions on how to get there.
Best Maui Tours for Waterfall Hikes
Want to enjoy Maui waterfalls but looking for a structured experience? A guided Maui waterfall tour might be what you need, and we have a few that you’ll love.
Maui Waterfalls, Rainforest Hike & Optional Cliff Jumping
We took this highly popular, 5-star rated, Small Group Waterfall and Rainforest Hiking Adventure on Maui.
We hiked through dense, rainforest jungle to multiple waterfalls. Our guide was a wealth of information about local Hawaiian culture, and native plants and flowers.
We had a teenage kid itching to try cliff jumping, and which we had refused so far. But under the guidance of the local guide, we did let him jump, supervised, into the pool at base of one of the waterfalls.
Quite risky, so use your discretion.
>> Check pricing and availability on this 5-star rated, popular Small Group Waterfall and Rainforest Hiking Adventure on Maui!
This tour Epic Waterfall Adventure – Best of Maui also offers a similar experience, but includes optional photography and videography.
>> Check pricing and availability on this highly rated Epic Waterfall Adventure – Best of Maui!
Rappel Maui Waterfalls
A Maui waterfalls adventure with a twist!
Our friends took this tour Rappel Maui Waterfalls and Rainforest Cliffs, and their teenage kids loved it.
This small group excursion teaches you how to rappel (climb down the waterfall with a rope harness), starting with small cliffs, and working up to a 30-foot waterfall.
Obviously, you must be in good physical shape, and enjoy getting wet!
>> Check pricing and availability on the 5-star rated, popular Rappel Maui Waterfalls and Rainforest Cliffs!
Private Maui Waterfall & Hiking Tour
While the above are small group tours, if you want a completely private tour with the flexibility to tailor the experience to your needs, this Road to Hana: Maui Waterfall Hiking Tour in Private Jeep may fit the bill.
With the convenience of hotel pickup and drop-off, and a full day with a private guide and a jeep, you can decide what to do!
We spent a day exploring Maui with inputs from the guide who helped us plan the day.
We got to see bamboo forests and a black sand beach, and enjoy adventurous rainforest hikes and a refreshing swim at one of the waterfalls!
Not only that, our guide doubled as photographer and videographer, and the photos he took were some of our best memories!
I highly recommend splurging on this tour, especially if there are 3-4 of you to split the bill!
>> Check pricing and availability on the 5-star rated, popular Road to Hana: Maui Waterfall Hiking Tour in Private Jeep!
Hiking Gear Checklist
Many of Hawaii’s hikes are demanding, make sure you are well equipped and well prepared. Here’s what we typically take with us:
- Water Bottle: I hate plastic bottles, and with opaque bladders you can’t see if it is moldy inside. We use this Hydro Flask water bottle – light, stainless steel, wide mouth (you can add ice), with double-wall vacuum insulation (greatly refreshing for hikes in summer). You can also get it with a Flex Straw Lid!
- Hiking Shoes: My preferred hiking shoes are the medium range Merrell Moab 3 Waterproof Hiking Shoe (men’s, women’s, men’s mid), great for Hawaii’s trails through mud and streams. My wife loves her high-end Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking shoes (men’s, women’s), also waterproof.
- Sunscreen: Hawaii’s sun can be harsh. Avoid sunburn with sunscreen compliant with Hawaii’s 104 Reef Act. The Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray, moisturizing with Vitamin E, is our go-to when we travel to Hawaii. Apply liberally and regularly!
- Trekking Poles: Great for hikes that involve climbing, both going uphill and downhill, and on trails that are wet, muddy and slippery! Improve your footing with this collapsible, high-end Black Diamond Trail Cork Trekking Poles, available for men and women.
- Headlamp: Planning a sunrise or sunset hike? Hiking in the dark is no fun, especially on many of Hawaii’s rainforest or ridge hikes. We love these two headlamps: the budget Black Diamond Spot 400 Headlamp and the premium Petzl Actik Core Headlamp, with many features.
Waterfall Safety Tips
Waterfalls can be exciting, but safety is paramount. Always carefully assess conditions on the day of your visit. Here are some tips that may help:
- Heed all warning signs.
- Remember that flash flooding can occur with very little or no warning, even if it isn’t raining or stormy where you are.
- Waterfalls, streams, and other water bodies may not be safe for swimming. The water may not be safe to drink.
- Always stay on designated trails. Expect muddy and slippery conditions.
The Best Maui Tours
Have you booked these top-rated Maui guided adventures yet?
Small-group Road to Hana tour so everyone in your group can sit back and enjoy the views without worrying about negotiating hairpin bends or finding parking at popular stops!
A Haleakala sunrise tour so you can experience the bucket-list sunrise atop the volcano without the need to reserve a parking spot or drive up in the dark!
A Maui snorkeling excursion that combines the Molokini Crater with Turtle Town, the two most epic snorkeling destinations on the island!
A 7-line Maui zipline experience where you can glide over the forests on the north shore of Maui. Enjoy ocean views and navigate obstacle course challenges!
Renting a Car in Maui
The best things to do in Maui are located all over the island.
Public transport options on Maui are minimal to non-existent, so if you want to explore the island beyond your base, you’ll want to book a rental car for your Maui trip.
We always use Discover Cars to book Maui car rentals. They search across a variety of rental car companies, both budget and brand, to offer you the best deals, AND they offer free cancellations. Plus, there are no hidden fees.
Where to Stay in Maui
Depending on whether you want a vacation rental with more room and the option to cook some of your meals, or you want a resort or hotel experience, and depending on which part of Maui you want to choose as your base, you have a variety of options.
By far the majority of visitors to Maui choose to base on the west side, where there is a large selection of accommodations available, from resorts and hotels to vacation rentals.
We suggest starting your search for Maui accommodations by browsing vacation rentals on VRBO. You can filter to choose a specific area, such as Kihei, Kapalua, or Wailea.
We have stayed in VRBO rentals in Kihei and Kapalua and find that the choice and quality are generally great.
More Maui Travel Inspiration
If you are considering a trip to Maui, read some of our other comprehensive guides to craft the ultimate Maui itinerary!
If you are a first-time visitor to Maui, start by reading our article on the best things to do in Maui. From beautiful beaches and lush rainforest to Maui’s volcanic crater, our round-up captures the most iconic Maui experiences and activities.
If you are dreaming of a winter getaway to a tropical paradise, read our guide on why you should visit Maui in winter!
Driving the Road to Hana is one of Maui’s bucket-list experiences. We have a comprehensive guide to the best stops on the Road to Hana, including waterfalls and short hikes on the way.
One of the top stops on the route is Wai’anapanapa State Park, which requires reservations. Read our full guide to Maui’s black sand beach in this popular state park!
Speaking of hiking, also be sure to check out our round-up of the best Maui hikes, from easy to challenging. Plus, peruse our complete guides to hiking the popular Kapalua Coastal Trail in northwest Maui, and the Waihee Ridge Trail for astounding views!
We also have a round-up of the best waterfalls in Maui, from the 400-foot Waimoku Falls to Upper Waikani Falls near Hana. Some Maui waterfalls can be seen from viewpoints whereas others require hiking.
If you’d rather snorkel from shore, read our round-up of the best snorkel spots in West Maui.
Every Maui itinerary should have plenty of beach time: there are so many beautiful beaches in Maui that you are spoiled for choice. We have a round-up of the best beaches in South Maui, plus a detailed guide to Wailea Beach in southwest Maui, and one for Maluaka Beach along the Turtle Town stretch of coast.
We also have articles on popular Napili Beach and local favorite Keawakapu Beach. Along the northwest side, Honolua Bay is a famous surfing spot, and Ho’okipa Beach, near Paia, is a windsurfing mecca.
If you are looking to experience a different side of Maui, plan a visit to the Iao Valley State Monument. The lush landscapes and serene ambience will wow you! Also read our guide to Maui’s state parks, which include popular Makena State Park, home to Big Beach and Little Beach.
Spend a day exploring Upcountry Maui. Some of the best things to do in Upcountry Maui include touring farms and gardens. Help milk goats, tour a tea farm, go wine tasting and much more.
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