Looking for a guide to the best Maui waterfalls? This Hawaii local’s guide has everything you need to know.
There are loads of beautiful Hawaii waterfalls scattered throughout the islands, and Maui is home to quite a few of them! While most of these waterfalls are located along the road to Hana (also known as the Hana Highway), there are a few hidden gems dotted throughout the rest of the island.
Simply put, if you’re looking for the best Maui waterfalls, this guide has everything you need to know.
What Should I Bring to These Maui Waterfalls?
Bug repellent is one of the most important things you’ll want to bring with you when visiting Maui waterfalls. Many waterfalls inevitably create little patches of still water, which attract mosquitos. There are both traditional and natural bug repellent options to help you ward off the little critters.
To reach some of these Maui waterfalls, you’ll have to go on a little hike, so you’ll need a pair of athletic shoes. Also, the vast majority of Maui waterfall hikes are muddy, and, if it’s after a good rainfall, your shoes may never recover. (I once was on a Hawaii waterfall hike and the soles of both of my shoes came off!)
Washable, Reusable Bag
Once you’re done hiking, you’ll want a place to put your muddy athletic shoes. After all, you don’t want to get that mud all over your car. Use this reusable bag and give it a good wash when you get back to your accommodation.
Flip-flops, also known as “slippers,” in Hawaii, are a necessity, especially after dumping your muddy athletic shoes into a washable, reusable bag.
Some of these Maui waterfalls have gorgeous swimming holes! If you’d like to swim in them, remember to bring a swimsuit on your adventure.
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You’ll want to bring a towel to dry off after your dip in the falls! And a towel is also a good idea to wipe off any excess mud that has found its way onto your legs.
It’s important to always stay hydrated when you’re out adventuring. Maybe put your water in a nice reusable bottle to help the environment out.
If you want to take simple pictures of these Maui waterfalls, your phone camera will do. But if you’d like to get cooler, closer, or more unique shots, consider investing in a waterproof camera.
Of course, you’ll need something to carry your snacks and water in, and I absolutely have to recommend a High Sierra backpack.
I’ve been using my mini High Sierra backpack for my adventures for over a decade – and it is still in great condition! High Sierra’s water-resistant material is perfect for protecting your phone and camera from potential water and mud splashes during those river crossings.
How Can I Get to the Best Waterfalls on Maui?
To reach the vast majority of these Maui waterfalls, you’ll need to rent a car. Maui’s public transportation system isn’t very extensive, so it won’t take you to the majority of these waterfalls.
The only alternative to renting a car is taking a tour. Many of these waterfalls on Maui are located on the famous road to Hana – and there are many road to Hana tours. I’ve included specific tours for each of the waterfalls (when available) in the descriptions below.
Maui Waterfall Safety
When you venture to these Maui waterfalls, you may see signs that tell you about a strain of bacteria called “leptospirosis” that is found in the water.
Leptospirosis can only be harmful if it enters the body through an open cut (so if it’s scabbed over, you’re fine) or by drinking it. While some cases of leptospirosis may have bad flu-like symptoms, others are asymptomatic. Personally, I have not heard of anyone actually getting leptospirosis on any of these hikes.
If you would like to read a bit more on the bacteria, here’s a page from the CDC.
10 Best Maui Waterfalls that You Need to Visit
If you’re looking for a Maui waterfall that requires minimal effort, you’ll want to head to Twin Falls. I always make fun of Waimea Falls on Oahu for being more of a stroll than a “hike,” but the walk to Twin Falls is even easier.
Located just two miles into the road to Hana, you’ll see the unpaved parking area for Twin Falls. Be prepared for a five- to ten-minute walk before you see this gorgeous waterfall duo.
Makapipi Falls is another Maui waterfall that’s quite unique. Rather than seeing this waterfall from below, you’ll get a slightly different angle. If you park your car just before the bridge near mile marker 25 on the road to Hana and look over the edge of the bridge, you’ll actually be able to see Makapipi Falls from above! That’s definitely a unique experience.
It’s important to note that Makapipi Falls is a seasonal waterfall. If you want to see this waterfall, your best bet is to drive the road to Hana after a few days of solid rainfall.
Oheo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools)
Oheo Gulch, also known as the Seven Sacred Pools, is undoubtedly the most famous Maui waterfall. Situated at the end of the road to Hana, you’ll have to prepare for quite a long drive before you reach this beautiful natural wonder.
As the name of this Maui waterfall implies, there are several pools and waterfalls to discover! As a matter of fact, a couple of other noteworthy waterfalls on Maui, including Waimoku Falls and Makahiku Falls, are included in Oheo Gulch.
For the best views of Oheo Gulch, you’ll want to hike the two-mile Pipiwai Trail, which is undoubtedly one of the best waterfall hikes on Maui. It is important to note that, while this hike is short, it can be difficult after heavy rain.
Since Oheo Gulch is technically located in Haleakala National Park, a $25 ticket per car is required, but this ticket is good for three days. To make sure you’re spending your money wisely, you should plan your visits to Oheo Gulch and Haleakala within a couple days of each other.
While Wailua Falls on Kauai is more well-known, Wailua Falls on Maui is nothing to balk at either.
Situated on the road to Hana, Wailua Falls is often called the most photographed waterfall on Maui. Why? Because it’s right on the side of the road! You don’t have to hike or even park to get a glimpse of this 80-foot waterfall (although, I do highly recommend that you park, so you can take as many pictures as you want).
If you’d like, you can even take a dip in the swimming hole at the base of the falls. It’s the perfect way to cool off from the hot Hawaiian sun.
Book Here: Small Group Road to Hana Sightseeing Tour
Book Here: 75-Minute Hana Helicopter Tour
Upper Waikani Falls (Three Bears)
Upper Waikani Falls, also known as Three Bears is another beautiful waterfall on the road to Hana. Situated between mile markers 19 and 20, this specific waterfall is a little bit different. It’s segmented into three separate waterfalls (hence, the name “three bears”), which is a cool sight to see, especially considering these cascades are 70 feet tall!
Book Here: Private Road to Hana Tour
Honokohau Falls is the tallest waterfall on Maui, boasting a whopping 1,100 feet of cascading water. This two-tiered waterfall is known to be one of the most picture-perfect waterfalls in the Hawaiian Islands, and its aerial shots are actually used in quite a few Hawaii tourism advertisements.
Puohokamoa Falls (Garden of Eden Arboretum Waterfall)
During your drive on the road to Hana, you’ll pass the Garden of Eden Arboretum between mile markers 10 and 11. And while the lovely plants and animals of this arboretum make this stop worthwhile already, the striking Puohokamoa Falls just sets everything over the top.
While in the Garden of Eden Arboretum, you can catch a breathtaking bird’s eye view of Puohokamoa Falls. Or you can skip the arboretum altogether, park at mile marker 11, and take the path there to the Lower Puohokamoa Falls.
Book Here: Small Group Road to Hana Sightseeing Tour
Alelele Falls is one of the most under-the-radar waterfalls on Maui. It’s located on the “back road” to Hana, which means it is past Hana, Oheo Gulch, and all of the other main road to Hana stops.
And while you might have to drive a while to reach Alelele Falls, you’ll only have to hike 0.3 miles, starting from the Alelele Bridge! Once you reach the end of the trail, you’ll be greeted by a 50-foot waterfall and a natural pool that’s deep enough to swim in!
It’s important to note that Alelele Falls is a seasonal waterfall. If you want to see this waterfall, your best bet is to drive the road to Hana after a few days of solid rainfall.
Makamakaole Falls is one of the few best waterfalls on Maui that is not on the road to Hana. Rather, it is located in the West Maui Mountains.
There are a couple of different ways to see Makamakaole Falls. First, there’s the Makamakaole Falls Trail, also known as the 13 Crossings Trail. While this trail is only one mile long, it is quite difficult and dangerous, thanks to the narrow trail and multiple stream crossings. When you finish, you’ll get an awesome view from the base of the falls.
Another way to see Makamakaole Falls is by hiking the Waihee Ridge Trail. This amazing trail is one of the best hikes on Maui! At mile marker 8 on this 4-mile hike (the mile markers don’t match up with the trail), you can see Makamakaole Falls below you!
Waikamoi Falls is one of my personal favorite Maui waterfalls, despite the fact that most people haven’t heard of it.
Situated just after mile marker 10 on the road to Hana, there actually isn’t a designated parking area for Waikamoi Falls. But, if you’re lucky, there will be an area along the side of the road that is big enough for a couple of cars. Due to this limited parking, you’ll likely be one of just a handful of people at these beautiful falls!
And after parking, you’ll just need to walk for about a minute before reaching the base of this breathtaking waterfall.
Book Here: Private Road to Hana Tour
Are there any other Maui waterfalls that you think should make it onto this list? Let me know in the comments below!
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