Welcome to the ultimate guide to the best waterfalls in Maui, Hawaii!
My boyfriend and I recently spent a month exploring the stunning waterfall trails in Maui, and let me tell you, it was an unforgettable experience. We spent our days swimming in freshwater pools, scouting for the best falls, and hiking through the island’s gorgeous trails.
But let’s be honest, knowing where to start when you’re visiting a new place can be tough. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the top waterfalls in Maui, ranking them on factors like family-friendliness, easy trails, available facilities, and access.
If you’re looking to explore the breathtaking falls that Maui has to offer, then look no further. Especially if you’re planning to visit East Maui, which has breathtaking falls every few miles that are definitely worth the hike.
So come with us on our journey as we discover the best waterfalls in Maui, and find the perfect spot for your next adventure.
Twin Falls – Maui Waterfalls Easy-Access – Best Family-Friendly Falls in Maui
Visiting Twin Falls is the perfect way to set your Maui waterfall tour in motion. These falls are easy to reach and serve as an excellent spot for families with younger children to visit since the trek is short and its pools are great for swimming.
Those taking the Road to Hana can’t miss Twin Falls since they’re the first stop on this route. An alternate way to reach them is from the Wailele farms near Paia. You can park rental cars at a lot near the farms and start on the trail, which is next to fruit stands.
As the hike is a mile long on a flat, easy trail, we recommend people of all ages to visit these falls. Plus, it’s such a beautiful path through a jungle with wild hibiscus flowers growing on the sides!
In addition, the falls are mesmerizing at a 15 ft drop on the first one and a 1 ½ mile hike later, a gorgeous 45 ft drop on the second one.
If you want to enjoy the falls away from the crowds, hike to the second drop, which is much more serene. That’s what we did, and the extra effort was worth swimming in the refreshing pools right under the waterfall!
We consider Twin Falls the best Maui waterfalls for cliff jumping and swimming in freshwater pools. Some things to consider before visiting:
- A snack bar and fruit cart are serving some delicious fresh fruit where the trail begins,
- The falls are a great photo op up close and even from a distance.
- There’s a parking fee of $10 to park in the lot so make sure to come early to get a good spot.
- There aren’t any bathrooms nearby, only a few outhouses.
Waimoku Falls – Maui’s Most Beautiful Falls
Waimoku Falls offers the most picture-perfect flow of a waterfall in Maui. The 2-mile trail leading to these falls requires some physical exertion. But the turnout is worth the effort as these are one of the few falls in Maui that you can see up close.
We visited Waimoku Falls at the Haleakala National Park and highly recommend doing the same, as there are some other incredible waterfalls in the Park.
One of the great things about these falls is the Pipiwai Trail that leads to them. You can expect to pass by lush greenery, a dense bamboo forest, and gigantic banyan trees along the way. Streams on the trail and views of surrounding pools and falls offer the most breathtaking scenery.
Since the falls are visible from points on the trail, doing the whole 2-3 hour hike is unnecessary. But for the best views, cross the river just before the falls. Then, you can stand next to the rushing water and experience the wind and mist directly.
We consider Waimoku the best Maui waterfall to enjoy a beautiful hike. Here’s why you’ll love them too:
- The trailhead has clean restrooms available.
- The pass to the National Park requires a fee, but you can use it for three days to explore the surrounding falls.
- The falls give a great photo backdrop, so keep that travel ‘gram updated.
Alelele Falls – The Hidden Falls in East Maui
Travelers looking for a small yet secluded waterfall away from crowds of tourists will love the Alelele Falls. Most people don’t know about them, so they’re called Maui’s ‘hidden’ falls.
Since the flow here can get weak when it hasn’t rained, make sure to check the weather before you visit.
But no matter when you decide to see this gem, the refreshing pools at the base of these 80 ft falls are always perfect for a relaxing swim. We heard about these falls from locals, which are a fifteen-minute drive from Haleakala National Park on a narrow road.
You can see a white sign from the road that reads Alelele, park your cars there and access the trail. However, since the trail has some rock scramblings and stream crossings, it’s not the best to take children on.
However, the short 15-minute trail opens onto a canyon, beautifully deep and breezy, with a calm and refreshing pool under the falls. Although it’s not a raging waterfall, the cove is a unique hideaway for some alone time.
We fell in love with Alelele Falls and consider it the best Maui waterfall to enjoy a laid-back day. Some things to consider before visiting:
- The road to these falls is narrow and bumpy, with a few cars coming the opposite way, so drive carefully.
- You can’t see the falls from the road, so they’re often missed easily. Remember to keep an eye out for the sign.
Upper Waikani Falls – Maui Waterfalls You Can Swim in
Also known as the ‘Three Bears’, the Upper Waikani has three falls varying in size and giving equally beautiful views. As they’re visible from the road, you can stop your car on the bridge that looks down on them and take in the gorgeous sight of the rushing falls.
Since there’s limited parking on the road, it’s best to stop for some pictures and be on your way. But adventure-seekers will take the trek down to these falls from a path on the side of the bridge.
Although it’s a steep way down, you only need to walk carefully until you’re under the bridge; then, the trail becomes easier and more well-defined. And the falls are worth the effort! The tallest one is at 70-ft and flows into the Wailua Nui stream below.
However, only make the trek down to the falls when it hasn’t rained; otherwise, the water isn’t safe for swimming.
We got to swim close to the falls, and the water was freezing! Then we climbed back over to the larger waterfall and got under it. There’s a ledge that you can walk on or hang on to. We had so much fun, and it’s a must-try for anyone looking to get a thrilling swim.
The Upper Wailua Falls was incredible and the best Maui waterfall for a great swim. Here’s why you’ll love them too:
- There are large rocks at the base of the falls to sit on, take in the views, and take great photos.
- You can park your cars at a small lot, a tenth of a mile away from the bridge.
- The hike is only ten minutes long to the falls, so anyone can do it.
- Wear grip shoes as the rocks are slippery on the trail.
Wailua Falls – The Most Photographed Falls in Maui
Wailua Falls are another example of falls that will pull you in from the road. Since these 80-ft wonders are so close to the highway, the water nearly splashes onto it! Unfortunately, getting here is difficult since GPS doesn’t work in the region. But use the Maui GyPsy app, which will lead you to the falls.
You’ll be delighted to know that these are considered the most beautiful waterfalls on the road to Hana and are the most photographed falls in Maui. You’ll understand why when you visit them as they’re nestled in an overgrown forest and cascade into two streams, which are great for swimming.
We had the best time swimming in the pools and enjoying the views. And it’s ideal for families and children, too, since the longer trail leading here is an easy trek, and the water is safe.
One primary concern here is the limited parking, which fills up quickly. However, since we went early in the day, we managed to get a good spot. On the way back, there were vendors in the parking lot selling beautiful handicrafts and delicious snacks.
Wailua is easily the best Maui waterfall for taking in the views. Some things to consider before you go:
- Parking here costs $25.
- The hike is a 4-mile round trip, so bring some water and snacks for the way.
- The pools can flood during the rains, so always check the forecast before going.
Seven Sacred Pools – Best Hiking in Maui Waterfall
These falls include seven (more when it rains) pools connected by the Ohe’o Gulch waterfall. However, the gulch is often closed during rains, so check before driving out to see them. More importantly, the pools are considered a sacred part of Hawaiian culture, so paying your respects here is important.
As they’re a part of the Haleakala National Park, we visited them after the Waimoku Falls and made good use of the Park’s entrance fee.
The Kuloa Point Trail is an easy ½ mile round trip trail to the pools, recommended for beginner hikers. The course is stunning and takes you to where the quaint Palikea stream meets the ocean. From there you can see the mouth of the gulch with its surf and rocks to your right, and Pools of Ohe’o to your left.
Along the trail, you can expect to see a serene bamboo forest and varieties of flowers which only get thicker as the pools approach.
My boyfriend and I had the best time going from one pool to the other and relishing the scenery. These paradise-like pools are the best Maui waterfalls to enjoy a nature walk. Here’s why you need to visit them:
- There’s a visitor center here with great facilities like clean restrooms.
- There’s plenty of space to park outside the center.
- The falls are often secluded, and you can get the pools all to yourself.
Makamakaole Falls – West Maui’s Hidden Waterfall
Makamakaole Falls is an exciting adventure for families to take on. The 5-mile round trip on Waihe’e Ridge Trail can be strenuous, but having people come along makes it enjoyable. Pro tip: take a tour guide who can lead you directly through the trail to the waterfall oasis awaiting.
Since it’s one of the few falls on Maui’s West Coast, it was a welcome break for us after being on the Road to Hana for days. Plus, it’s easily viewed from the Kahekili Highway, so those unwilling to make the trip can stop by and enjoy the views from the road.
Our favorite activity was hiking the trail that passes through a lush tropical jungle with tall grass and a bamboo forest. We highly recommend taking the trail if you want to take in the scenery, which has a magical, other-worldly feel.
Even though the waterfall itself isn’t visible up close, you get rewarded with a peaceful swim in the fresh pool water. Another great thing about this trail was the lack of crowds. Our tour guide told us since most people don’t know about this place, the tracks and falls stay secluded. Perfect for a romantic getaway or just for those seeking isolation.
We loved Makamakaole Falls and considered them the best Maui waterfall for bringing along family and enjoying the peaceful area. Here are some things to consider before visiting:
- The hidden nature of these falls needs an expert to navigate, so don’t visit without a guide.
- Wear water-safe shoes as the trail passes through the Makamakaole stream 13 times (dubbed the 13-crossing stream).
- You can find a variety of fruit like guavas, raspberries, avocados, and buds from the Awapuhi trees on the trail.
The waterfalls of Maui had us truly smitten, so I had to list some of my extra favorites. Since these falls are inaccessible to the public because of their locations, they serve as scenic lookouts only. Like the tallest waterfall in Maui at Honokohau, the majestic Makapipi falls, seen only from the bridge above them. And my personal favorite, the Makahiku falls, are best enjoyed by swimming in the infinity pool above the falls!
Honokohau Falls are ones you can’t miss if you can find a tour that includes the helicopter ride going over these gigantic falls. At 1119 ft tall and located in an inaccessible valley, they’re viewed only by flying over them. Just make sure to book a ride beforehand with your agent.
Makapipi Falls provides a secluded view of the falls, which have a steep drop seen from the bridge. Even though they’re a great photo op, be careful looking over as there have been accidents here. You can find it past mile marker 25 on the road to Hana.
Makahiku Falls is a 184-foot horsetail waterfall with an infinity pool above it, feeding the falls. Located on the Pipiwai Trail, this seemingly never-ending pool offers a refreshing swim when it hasn’t rained. Otherwise, the water pressure can get rough.
Maui houses Hawaii’s most gorgeous waterfalls, with stunning trails through dense forests leading to them. If you’ve been to Maui and haven’t tried swimming in its waterfall pools, then I’m sorry to say you’ve missed out.
These falls have something for every traveler, so even if you don’t hike often, the trails here are easily accessible, and most falls provide the best views right from the road.
Want a secluded waterfall with gorgeous views? Visit Alelele and Makamakaole falls.
Want to try a daring cliff jump from the waterfall? You can’t go wrong with Twin Falls.
Are you looking for a safe trek for families to take on? Don’t miss Wailua and Twin Falls.
As the locals say, ‘Maui no ka oi’ – Maui is the best!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What is the most beautiful waterfall in Maui?
Waimoku Falls are commonly considered the most beautiful waterfalls in Maui. As they have a dramatic hike through the Pipiwai trail and a breathtaking fall at the end, you’ll have the same opinion after visiting them.
What is the best waterfall hike in Maui?
The Pipiwai Trail is easily the best waterfall hike in Maui as it leads to multiple waterfalls like the Waimoku falls, the Makahiku Falls, and the hidden Alelele Falls.
Is Twin Falls Maui worth visiting?
You’ll find that most guides underrate the Twin Falls, and unfairly so! These falls have the easiest hike, fresh pools for swimming, and ample facilities like food stands and parking.
Which Maui waterfalls can you swim in?
The safest waterfalls in Maui to swim in are; the Twin Falls, Upper Waikani Falls, and Wailua Falls, which are accessible all year round. Especially with their safe waters, they’re great for families.
Last Updated on January 12, 2023 by Brigitte