There’s really no such thing as a bad waterfall. And choosing the “best” waterfall is completely subjective. How does one rate a waterfall? For this article, we’re going to judge the waterfalls based on beauty (again, subjective) and ease of access. Just know that to see the best waterfalls on Maui, you’re probably going to need to jump in a car. There are few waterfalls near the larger towns on Maui.
Wailua Falls (Road to Hana, Mile Marker 44)
Located directly off the Road to Hana at mile marker 44, Wailua Falls is thought to be the most widely photographed waterfall on Maui. Of course, ease of access is one reason. There’s ample parking and you can easily view the falls from the side of the highway. But the other reason Wailua Falls is considered a top waterfall is its sheer beauty. The falls flow strongly year-round and are surrounded by lush greenery. Climbing into the pool beneath the falls is also quite easy. You can even snap a photo as you’re driving by if you’re feeling rushed on your way to Hana Town.
Twin Falls (Road to Hana, Mile Marker 2)
If Wailua Falls is the most photographed waterfall, Twin Falls may be the busiest. Or at least, they seem to be. Twin Falls is generally the first stop on the Road to Hana, located just a couple of miles outside of Paia Town. Though because they’re so close to Paia, many people will just visit Twin Falls without continuing on to Hana. Once you’re parked, to get to Twin Falls, there’s a simple one mile hike, really more of a walk, on a well kept trail. Once at the falls, you’ll be greeted by a large swimming hole into which you can easily swim behind and under the waterfall. Scenic in its own right, it’s probably not photographed as often as Wailua Falls because you will rarely snap a photo without other people in the picture. If you keep hiking beyond the Twin Falls, you’ll be treated to more waterfalls and swimming holes.
Waimoku Falls (Road to Hana, Mile Marker 41)
On the two-mile (each way) hike to Waimoku Falls, you’ll have a few different spots to view the waterfall, so no need to go the full route. But if you do complete the hike, standing beneath the 400-ft falls is breathtaking. The only issue with being so close to the massive waterfall is that it’s nearly impossible to fit the entire waterfall in one picture. But, about 50 yards from the falls, there’s a nice location for a perfect picture. A bonus for Waimoku Falls is the hike itself. Walking through the bamboo forest is a treat unto itself.
Hanawi Falls (Road to Hana, Mile Marker 24)
This is another waterfall located right off the highway. There is street parking available just prior to and just beyond the small bridge from which you’ll have the best view of the waterfall. It’s also possible to hike down to the falls basin. Because most people tend to snap photos from the bridge and move on, you generally won’t come across too many people swimming here. We recommend it! The water is absolutely pristine. Cold. But very clean and refreshing.
Makamaka’ole Falls (Waihe’e Ridge Trail)
The last waterfall on our list is the only one you do not need to drive the Road to Hana to see. Centrally located on Maui, you can get to Makamaka’ole Falls by driving counter-clockwise along the highway from Lahaina or from Kahului in the other direction. If you go from Lahaina, take note the “highway” becomes single-lane against a scary cliff at points. It makes the Hana Highway seem like a 10-lane highway through Nebraska. Going from Kahului is a safer, easier drive. OK, so you survived the drive and made it to the falls. You can catch a view from the highway, but the best way to photograph the falls are while hiking the Waihe’e Ridge trail. The trail itself is roughly 5 miles roundtrip, but if you just want to see the waterfall, the best viewing point is about a mile in. Unlike the other waterfalls on this list, you will not get up close and personal to the Makama’ole Falls. In fact, unless you have a zoom lens, your pictures will not do the waterfall justice. But beyond the waterfall, the Waihe’e Ridge Trail is worth the hike for its views of the valley and the ocean.
Do you have a favorite waterfall on Maui? Leave us a comment below!
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