AAA Editor Notes
Kīpahulu District is 10 mi. s. of Hāna on CR 31 in Haleakalā National Park. This verdant landscape offers streamside trails and immersion in the east Maui coast’s rain forest. The region receives more than 300 inches of rain annually. When weather permits, swimming in the cool lower pools of ‘Ohe‘o Gulch is popular. This series of terraced rocky pools, descending to the shoreline and strung together by cascades, is officially called the Pools of ‘Ohe‘o. It also is known by its more exotic nickname, “the Seven Sacred Pools.”
To reach the pools, follow the easy half-mile Kuloa Loop Trail, which begins near the visitor center parking lot. Pīpīwai Trail crosses CR 31, travels up the gulch and follows the south side of the Pīpīwai Stream, leading to an overlook of Makahiku Falls. From there, another 1.5-mile uphill trek across the countryside and through a serene bamboo forest leads to 400-foot-high Waimoku Falls. This is widely considered Maui’s premier rain forest hike.
Note: If it is raining anywhere on the island, watch for flash floods. Hikers and swimmers should evacuate an area immediately when streams appear to swell; flash floods rise quickly, creating hazardous conditions. Do not cross ropes or railings. Check at park visitor centers for weather and stream conditions prior to entry. Gas, food, lodging and potable water are not available. Rental car contracts prohibit driving beyond the ‘Ohe‘o Gulch on Pi‘ilani Hwy. (CR 31). West of Kīpahulu this road is not recommended for travel, particularly in wet weather. The road is narrow and has sharp curves; a four-wheel-drive vehicle may be necessary after heavy rains.