National Park at Kipahulu
Exploring the Lush Heart of Haleakalā National Park
The Kipahulu District in Haleakalā National Park is located southwest of Hāna. Kīpahulu offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in the best waterfall hike on Maui and explore a stunning coastline sculpted by ancient lava flows. Delve into the rich history of Kipahulu – once a thriving farming community called “fetch from exhausted gardens.” This enchanting district is truly one of Maui’s natural wonders.
The Kipahulu District of Haleakalā National Park can be accessed by driving 12 miles past the town of Hāna, on the Hāna Highway. Don’t just breeze through on a Road to Hāna marathon drive, take the time to appreciate all that Kipahulu has to offer fully. For a great, guided experience, check out the tour options for private and small group tours.
One of the best ways to experience the Kipahulu District is to hike! Experience the rich history and vibrant culture of the Kipahulu District’s coastal region. Discover breathtaking waterfalls, sweeping ocean vistas, and immerse yourself in authentic Hawaiian cultural experiences.
The trailhead is southwest of Hāna on Hwy. 360, where you’ll find the signed entrance to Kipahulu District near the 42-mile marker. Note that the trailhead has restrooms but no drinking water. The Visitor Center is open from 9am-5pm. Camping is available. For entry to the park, there is a fee of $25 per car, $20 per motorcycle, and $12 per person on foot.
This trail is 3.5 miles round-trip and 650’ in elevation gain.
Experience the breathtaking beauty of Kipahulu’s main hiking attraction – the incredible 400′ Waimoku Falls. You will follow the Pīpīwai stream on this unforgettable adventure.
Begin your journey at the parking area, where you’ll find the trail leading to the east side, guiding you towards the highway. You’ll cross the highway and, after a 2/3 mile hike, discover the magnificent 200′ Makahiku Falls from an overlook. As you continue, you’ll encounter an impressive Banyan tree, unfortunately, defaced by inconsiderate visitors carving their names – please resist the temptation to add your own.
The hike becomes more exciting as you navigate through narrow gorges, crossing two foot bridges, and venture into a peaceful bamboo forest on a raised boardwalk. The density of the bamboo is simply astounding. After passing through a confluence and making two stream crossings, you will be amazed by the majestic 400′ Waimoku Falls nestled at the base of a steep amphitheater. Take caution, as there is a risk of flash floods at this point and other locations along the hike. Observe the large boulders at the falls’ base – proof that they once stood atop the cliffs. Keep a safe distance from the base and spend time admiring the awe-inspiring waterfall before retracing your steps. This fun trail spans 3.5 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 650 feet.
This trail is 1/2 mile and 80’ of elevation gain
Experience the beauty of ‘Ohe’o Gulch on this short trail. This trail leaves the Kipahulu Visitor Center and continues past a Hawaiian cultural demonstration area to Kuloa Point at the mouth of ‘Ohe’o Gulch. Discover ancient sites along the way as you make your way to the edge. Although ‘Ohe’o Gulch and the so-called “Seven Sacred Pools” are currently closed for safety reasons, you can still soak in the picturesque scenery from this trail.
This hike is 1/2 mile and 80’ of elevation gain
Experience the stunning beauty of the coastline on this trail that connects to the Kūloa Point Trail. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to explore ancient sites before reaching the campground. After a day of adventure, easily return to the parking area on the campground road.
Discover the rich history of Kipahulu, a vibrant destination along Maui’s southeastern coast. Jean-François de Galaup first described this breathtaking spot in 1786 while searching for a place to anchor his ship.
Once a thriving community, Kipahulu was home to numerous farms and agricultural terraces. Its lowlands were densely populated, boasting over 700 archeological features spread across 2,008 acres of surveyed land. Stone mounds, walls, and terraces adorned the landscape, showcasing the ingenuity of the ancient inhabitants.
Coastal villages flourished, offering extended families a place to call home. Each dwelling was a single-story, one-room wood-frame building with thatched walls and roofs. These homes sat alongside cookhouses, sheds for work and storage, and canoes. Stone shrines added a touch of spirituality to the village sites.
However, with the rise of the whaling industry in the 1880s, Kipahulu‘s population began to dwindle. People moved to the bustling whaling ports like Lahaina, leaving this once-thriving community behind.
In the early 1900s, Kipahulu became a regular stop for the Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company. Steamships transported passengers around Maui and between islands, with Kipahulu Landing as a vital hub for growers and ranchers to ship their goods to markets.
Today, Kipahulu Landing is protected by The Nature Conservancy, preserving the beauty and history that makes this place truly remarkable.