Exploring Waimoku Falls: The TALLEST Waterfall on Maui (And How to Travel Sustainably)

Hiking Distance: 4 miles
Suggested Time: 2.5 hours
Date First Visited: 12/17/2019

[Here’s a video I shot with my Mavic Air- enjoy!]

On the tropical island of Maui, along the famous drive known as The Road to Hana, lies one of Maui’s most magical waterfalls. With its towering cliffs peaking at 400ft, you can feel its powerful mist from 25ft away as you stand at its base. Waimoku Falls is easily one of Maui’s tallest waterfalls.

Aside from Akaka Falls (442ft) which is on Big Island, Waimoku is the tallest accessible waterfall on Maui and throughout all of the Hawaiin Islands. A crown jewel for any adventurer, explorer, and lover of the great outdoors. If you’re the type to chase waterfalls and go off the beaten path, Waimoku should be at the top of your list when you visit Maui. 

created by dji camera

I had spent the last three days camping around Hana – most recently, the Waianapanapa State Park aka “Black Sand Beach”. I’m not sure if it was the lush jungle, the rain, or lack of cell service, but as I maneuvered my Jeep around Hana’s bends, I forgot about my life in Los Angeles. I forgot about what happened last week and next week’s plans slipped from my memory.

For now, I was present. I smiled as I drove thinking, “I am lucky to be here – to see this place with my own eyes.”

Maui is truly a paradise.

GETTING THERE

  • You can fly direct into Kahului (OGG) or Hana Airport from most major West Coast cities. LA, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Denver all offer daily direct flights. From most other places, you’ll need to fly into Honolulu first (Oahu). Hawaiian Airlines offers the most direct and inter-island options – search for flights here.  
  • Rent a car.
  • Drive East towards Hana.
  • Drive past Hana and turn into Haleakala National Park. 
  • Pay the $25 park entrance fee. They use this money to operate and maintain the park. Note: If you visited or plan to summit Haleakala for sunrise/sunset, you can use the same pass for ( I think) 3 days.
  • Begin your ascent up the Pipiwai Trail.
  • Pass the great banyan tree.
  • Go through the bamboo forests.
  • Cross the creek and around the corner is where Waimoku Falls will reveal itself to you.

created by dji camera


KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

  • The best way to get around Maui is by rental car. Unless you stay at a hotel, plan to rent a car.
  • All car rentals can be made at the Kahului Airport. During my trip, I rented with Alamo through my Costco Membership (Pro Tip: they give extra discounts!) and they start at $25/day. The most common cars you’ll see around the island are Ford Mustangs and Jeep Wranglers. Personally, I chose the Jeep since the rain is spontaneous – especially during the winter months.
  • If you’re hungry or need snacks, stop in Hana. There are many options along the Road to Hana ranging from AES Thai, to the food trucks, to Coconut Glen’s – the toasted coconut candy by the food trucks is a MUST!!!

WHAT DOES IT COST

  • Car rental: $35-60 / day with taxes and fees.
  • Mid-Range Hotel: $200 – $300 per night
  • Airbnb: $100 – $200 per night
  • Cheaper Meal: $8 – $12 per person
  • Restaurant Meal: $20 – $40 per entree

 

FUN FACTS

Q: This is a tropical island! I expected sun! Why does it rain so often?

A:
True, however, the frequent rainfall is caused by trade winds that blow moist air in from the ocean which is deflected upwards by Haleakala’s slopes. The moist air cools at higher altitudes to form rain.

 

HOW YOU CAN TRAVEL SUSTAINABLY

  • Ditch the plastic water bottles and opt for a HydroFlask or Swell bottle.
  • When eating, opt for local products (think Kona coffee vs South America) to decrease the demand for importing common goods.
  • Avoid using toxic sunscreens. Sunscreen ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene have a negative impact on the health of people, corals, marine life. Learn more at https://bantoxicsunscreens.com/.
  • Leave it better than you found it. If you see trash in the ocean (plastic bags, bottles, and so on), remove it. You may have saved the life of a fish, turtle, marine mammal, or even seabird by removing that trash, which kills thousands of marine inhabitants every year.
  • Eat at ocean-friendly restaurants that reduce plastic waste and implement ocean friendly practices such as not offering plastic bags. You can view a list of companies at http://www.oceanfriendlyrestaurantshawaii.org/

 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I love Hawaii. Since visiting Oahu for the first time two years ago, I’ve become infatuated with the islands, its people, culture, food, and rich history. As I looked up at Waimoku, under its thundering falls, I felt more connected than ever to these lands. The mana of Waimoku is beautiful, and no matter how much I write, there aren’t enough words to describe what it feels like to be there yourself.

If you’ve been to Waimoku, or Maui in general, share your experiences below. I love to read your stories.

 

GET INSPIRED

created by dji camera

created by dji camera

created by dji camera

created by dji camera

 

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