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Pipiwai Trail: Bamboo, waterfalls, and banyan trees oh my!

Updated: Dec 28, 2023


Bamboo forest along Pipiwai Trail in Maui, Hawaii

Located in the Kipahulu district of Haleakala National Park, the popular Pipiwai Trail is one you do not want to miss. Follow a lush green trail past a banyan tree, through an epic bamboo forest, and end at the roaring 400 foot (120 meter) Waimoku Falls. This adventure is sure to give you your own sense of Maui Wowie.


 

Trail Info

Pipiwai Trail Information Table

Know before you go

  • This trail may be muddy and slippery. While the trail does have periodic boardwalks, you will have to ascend/descend some dirt sections of trail. This area does see a lot of rain so it is possible that there may be some slippery sections.

  • There are a few minor river crossings- At the beginning of the trail, there are bridges that allow you to cross the river, but near the end of the trail, those bridges disappear. For these bridgeless crossings, you may be able to cross on the rocks and avoid getting your feet wet, but it will require some focus and balance.


Other trails nearby

The Seven Sacred Pools (Pools of 'Ohe'o) trail leaves from the same area. It is a short 0.6 mile / 1km trail that gives you a beautiful view of the Maui coastline.. While you can no longer swim in the pools, it is a worthwhile trail if you have the time.



 


The Trail


Pipiwai Trail in Maui, Hawaii

The trail begins along a path that leaves from the visitor center. Almost immediately you will hit a junction that splits the Pipiwai Trail and Kualoa Point Trail. Head left, cross the road (don't forget to look both ways!) and the trail begins.


Makahiku Falls Overlook along Pipiwai Trail in Maui, Hawaii

One great aspect of this hike is there's a lot of landmarks along that way to break up the hike. This first one is the Makahiku Falls Overlook. You didn't realize you would get more than one waterfall on this hike did you?


Banyan tree along Pipiwai Trail in Maui, Hawaii

Another gem along the trail is this Banyan Tree. There is something so captivating about the many branches.


Pipiwai Trail in Maui, Hawaii

After following the path, will cross two manmade bridges around the mile mark of the trail. These bridges provide you safe passage across the roaring Pipiwai Stream below.


Bamboo forest along Pipiwai Trail in Maui, Hawaii

And soon after these bridges, you will reach the bamboo forest. If you do enough hikes on Hawaii, you've probably come across a bamboo forest or two. But in my opinion, this is the most impressive forest of them all. You will feel so small as you stare up at the thick stalks towering above you.


Bamboo forest along Pipiwai Trail in Maui, Hawaii

It's hard not feel a sense of awe in their presence.



Waimoku Falls along Pipiwai Trail in Maui, Hawaii

The trail continues on for a bit longer before you get your first glimpse of Waimoku Falls. You may even be able to hear it before you see it. That 400 foot flow can really make some noise.


Waimoku Falls along Pipiwai Trail in Maui, Hawaii

As you near the end of the trail, you will be required to cross the river twice. This is the second (and slightly more challenging) of the two crossings. The path with the best hopping rocks is located to the left, just out of this frame.


Something to note, after you cross this river, there is a sign that marks the end of the trail, prohibiting you from continuing to the base base. This sign was installed after there were some injuries and a tragic death from falling rocks. The view isn't that much better on the other side of the river before the sign, so turning around before this final crossing is an option.


Waimoku Falls along Pipiwai Trail in Maui, Hawaii

And I will say, unlike some other waterfalls, there is no pool at the bottom of this one for a swim. So that may make it less tempting to ignore the signs. Regardless of what you do, just getting a glimpse at Waimoku is sure to impress.



This short clip gives you a feel of the sheer power of this waterfall. An incredible little hike for sure!


 


SS Hot Takes

I've visited Maui five times and have managed to do this hike three of those five times. And the reason I'm batting .600 is that this hike really has so much "Hawaii magic" in a short hike. Bamboo, banyan trees, and waterfalls are some of those Hawaii gems and to be able to see them all in a relatively accessible hike is pretty incredible. If I ever come back to the "Valley Isle", I may have to make it round four!



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