14 Can’t Miss Waterfalls in Maui

Maui is full of natural wonders. Black sand beaches, aromatic lavender fields, and dramatic verdant valleys. But for many, it’s the picture-perfect waterfalls in Maui that inspire visitors (and local Hawaiians) to explore this captivating island in a deeper way.

Maui’s mountainous landscape makes it abundant with waterfalls. It’s home to many different kinds of falls. You’ll encounter horsetail waterfalls flowing down lava rocks or short, cascading falls popular for swimming—even an aerial adventure to the island’s tallest, yet most remote, waterfall.

We’ll tell you where to find some of Maui’s most beautiful waterfalls to check out during your Hawaii vacation.


Photo Credit: TakesiKovacs via Flickr CC2.0

Take flight in a helicopter tour for your only chance to witness the tallest waterfall in Maui. The two-tiered waterfall drops 1,100 feet in one of Maui’s most remote valleys of the lush West Maui Mountains. If the scenery looks familiar, it’s because it was featured in the Jurassic Park film.

Helicopter tours last approximately an hour to witness the island’s most breathtaking waterfall from multiple vantage points. Many tours include a flyover of the Wall of Tears with 17 individual waterfalls.


Photo Credit: Alex Krassel

Hike the 13 Crossings Trail to these two distinct waterfalls tucked in the Maui Forest Reserve. You’ll wind 13 times across the Makamakaole Stream to reach this 270-foot wonder. Bring your swimsuit because this trail takes you to the base of the upper falls, where you can go for a rewarding plunge in the pool.

For an even better view of the falls, set off on the famous Waihee Ridge Trail. This five-mile hike takes you along the mountain ridge, where you’ll get a landscape view of the two falls.


Photo Credit: Genevieve Lavigne via Flickr CC2.0

Rock hop across the wet rocks dotting the Punalau Stream, and your courageous feat will be rewarded with a view of this 100-foot tall waterfall. Punalau Falls lacks a marked trail, makes it ‘off the beaten track’, but it’s one of the best falls to have to yourself.

Look for this waterfall near Mile Marker 13 on the Road to Hana Highway. The entire trek to this falls is an upstream scramble. Check the weather before visiting to avoid flash floods in this narrow gorge.


Photo Credit: Pierre Leclerc

Twin Falls is the first significant waterfall you’ll reach, going clockwise on the Road to Hana Highway. For that reason, it’s one of the most famous waterfalls in Maui. Visitors are welcome on the Wailele Farm to access the waterfall and swimming holes, with a parking lot available on site for those winding through the highway.

Emerge from the rainforest to see these two cascading waterfalls inside the Ho’olawa Valley. Don’t be afraid to get your shoes wet on this hike less than a mile to the falls. It’s a popular trail for families, and you’ll find hikers of all ages swimming in the pool below. It’s not every day you can leap from the top of a fall.


Photo Credit: Grace Liu via Flickr CC2.0

It’s a wash when it comes to the best Maui waterfalls in the rainy season because Alelele Falls is everyone’s favorite. The full force of water rushes 50 feet down a rock face wall, creating a quiet, secluded waterfall setting.

Alelele Falls is a short 15-minute hike in the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park. You’ll cross the Alelelele Bridge, step over the Alelele Stream, and finally arrive at the slot-canyon waterfall. Go for a swim or take in the vistas from the viewpoint. Don’t be surprised if you get this gem all to yourself.


Photo Credit: RS Smith Photography

Makahiku Falls might not be your final destination on the Pipiwai Trail in the Haleakala National Park, but it’s definitely one you won’t miss during the trek. Half an hour into the four-mile hike, you’ll reach an overlook for one of the first waterfalls along the route.

The falls burst through the greenery of the Bamboo Forest. It’s a majestic 200-foot horsetail waterfall. The waters flare out towards the bottom as it drops into the Ohe’o Gulch, famous for its Seven Sacred Pools.


Photo Credit: CE Photography

Gaze up 400 feet from the base to the top of Waimoku Falls. It’s the tallest single-drop waterfall on the island of Maui, and you’ll truly appreciate its scale when standing right next to it.

The Pipiwai Trail is our most famous waterfall hike. From the trailhead at Kipahulu Visitor Center to the Waimoku Falls can take 2.5-5 hours to complete, depending on your hiking level. But the view of the falls is worth it! You’ll find tons of large boulders at the bottom to admire the height while enjoying the mist to cool you after the hike.


Photo Credit: MNStudio

Listen for the roar of the Upper Waikani Falls, nicknamed the Three Bears. Contrary to general waterfall logic, these falls are actually better when there hasn’t been a lot of rainfall. Too much water flow may combine the falls into one. But the popular saying goes, ‘good things come in threes,’ so many people prefer to see it in the dry season.

The tallest of the Upper Waikani Falls has a drop height of 80 feet. Below, there’s a plunge pool that visitors are allowed to swim in. If you’ve got a bear-sized appetite after your visit, drive to the nearby Aunty Sandy’s Fruit Stand for her famous banana bread before making the round trip back to Wailea.


Photo Credit: Artazum

Not all waterfalls in Maui require some Indiana Jones-style hike to reach them. While winding your way through the Wailua Valley, you can pull over on the roadside and get one of the best views of Wailua Falls. It showers down a steep rock wall over 80 feet tall.

Get ready for a photo op because this is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Maui. You’re sure to encounter a family or two finishing up their photoshoot and drying off from the natural pool when you arrive.

Note that there is also a Wailua Falls on Kauai, the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands. That waterfall was featured on the 1970s hit TV series Fantasy Island.


Photo Credit: The Casual Observer

All you need is a car, and you can reach Makapipi Falls. It’s the most easily accessible waterfall because the Hana Highway crosses over it! As you approach mile marker 25, keep an eye out for one of the most unique waterfall views you’ll witness.

Makapipi Bridge sits directly on top of Makapipi Falls. You’ll spot the falls along the drive, but standing on the bridge lets you see the water plunging into the pool below. Hold on tight to your phone when leaning over the ledge to see the view.


Photo Credit: eric socolofsky via Flickr CC2.0

With a 200-foot drop, the Lower Puohokamoa Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Maui—but many people overlook it. Watch for mile marker 10 on the Hana Highway for a lookout point. It’s the only place you’ll get to admire this hidden gem.

If you’re wondering, yes, there is an Upper Puohokamoa Falls. It used to be a popular swimming spot, but it’s now considered private property. The only view of this waterfall is in the Garden of Eden.


Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

For those in the know, Kopiliula Falls is a must-see during your stay in Maui. It’s the perfect way to escape from the busier Hana Highway waterfalls and explore the serenity of nature.

Many people visiting Kopiliula Falls have it all to themselves. After the moderate hike on the rocky banks of the Kopiliula Stream to reach it, you’ll thoroughly enjoy swimming in the pool below, surrounded by the whispering jungle of the Ko’olau Forest Reserve.


Photo Credit: A. Emson

Plan to spend a couple of hours at the Pua’a Ka’a Falls. This postcard-worthy setting is ideal for swimming, picnics, and simply appreciating one of Maui’s natural wonders.

Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park is a five-acre park known for its views of the Pacific and waterfalls nestled in the thick of the rainforest. Take a 10 to 15-minute hike to reach this waterfall, splashing into a vibrant turquoise pool. Swim behind the falls for a natural rainfall shower experience.


Photo Credit: Tom Robertson

Before the Hanoi Stream flows downhill into the Pacific Ocean, it has a few surprises for waterfall chasers following its course. Stop by the Hana Highway Mile Marker 24, and you’ll encounter the picturesque Hanawi Falls.

The main Hanawi Falls is just a 30-foot drop, but there’s another short drop running off from the pool. During the dry summer, the falls are gentle. During the wet winter, you’ll see a heavier flow rushing over the rocky ledge.


Best Time to See Waterfalls in Maui

Most waterfalls have the best water flow after rainfall. The winter season has the wettest months compared to the dry summers. Keep in mind that trails can be slippery and muddy after rain.

Popular waterfalls along the Hana Highway route can get busy with tourists during peak times.

Swimming in the Waterfalls

Most Maui waterfalls are accessible to the public—be mindful of waterfalls located on private property. Visitors are allowed to swim in the pools beneath the public access waterfalls unless designated otherwise.

Waterfall Safety Tips

Waterfalls are natural wonders but may have unpredictable conditions. For example, be aware of slippery hiking conditions and ledges. When applicable, use water shoes. For visitors who plan to swim at the waterfalls, note that the natural water may contain leptospirosis bacteria. Avoid swimming with open cuts and wounds.


Looking for the perfect home base while chasing waterfalls in Maui? Our one-of-a-kind Maui vacation rental treats you to a one-of-a-kind getaway for enjoying proximity to the island’s top waterfalls and the comfort of our luxurious accommodations!

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