With lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and towering bamboo forests on a short four-mile trail — it’s no wonder Pipiwai Trail is one of the most popular attractions on the Road to Hana and one of the best hikes in Maui!

Pipiwai Trail is a moderate hike on the Road to Hana that offers stunning views without too much effort — making it an excellent hike for all skill levels. Below, we’ll dive into the information you need to know before adding this memorable hiking trail to your Maui itinerary. 

Pipiwai Trail Hike Overview 

Before we dive into all the details, here is an overview of Pipiwai Trail:

  • Length: Four miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,017 feet
  • Trail Type: Out and back
  • Skill Level: Moderate
  • Estimated Time: 2–3 hours
  • Cost: $30 per vehicle
  • Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Dogs: Not allowed

Where is the Pipiwai Trail?

The Pipiwai Trail is located in Haleakalā National Park in Maui, Hawaii, on the Road to Hana.

There are two unique districts in Haleakalā National Park with different entrances (and completely different scenery!). The Summit District is home to the dormant Haleakalā Volcano, a massive crater, cinder cones, red deserts, and “lunar-like” landscapes. It is located on the park’s west side in the center of the island of Maui.

Kipahulu District, on the other hand, is on the park’s east side (or coastal side), about ten miles south of Hana Town on the Road to Hana. In this district, you’ll find towering waterfalls, unique bamboo forests, lush greenery, sparkling pools, and epic coastline views. And, as you’ve probably guessed — the Pipiwai Trail is located in Kipahulu District!

A map of the Kipahulu Visitor Center, showing the Pipiwai Trail, Oheo Gulch, Waimoku Falls, Hana, Wailua Falls, and other attractions

How to Get to the Pipiwai Trail Hike

Kipahulu Visitor Center is one of the final stops on the Road to Hana, located at Mile Marker 41, about ten miles past Hana Town. This is where you’ll find the trailhead for both Pipiwai Trail and Kuloa Point Trail, best known for the ʻOheʻo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools). There are three options for how to get to the Pipiwai Trail:

A brown sign telling visitors to go left for the Pipiwai Trail and right for the Kuloa Point Trail

Pipiwai Trail Option #1 – One Day Road to Hana Trip

The first option is to make the Pipiwai Trail one of the main stops on a one-day Road to Hana itinerary. We personally had a great experience doing this!

For this option, drive all the way to the Pipiwai Trail first thing in the morning. From Paia, this is a 55-mile drive that takes two and a half hours. After completing the hike, “backtrack” your way on the Road to Hana and stop at the other popular attractions, like Waiʻānapanapa State Park and Wailua Falls, before heading back to Paia for dinner.

Pipiwai Trail Option #2 – Stay the Night in Hana

The second option is splitting the Road to Hana into a two day experience — if you have enough time in Maui, this is what I would recommend!

For this option, drive to Hana, spend the night in Hana, and then wake up early the next morning to hike Pipiwai Trail. Not only will you be the first one on the trail, but you’ll also have more time to see and experience the other attractions on the Road to Hana before heading back to West Maui. Hana-Maui Resort – A Destination by Hyatt is a great place to stay in Hana and one of the best luxury resorts in Maui.

Pipiwai Trail Option #3 – Drive the Counter-Clockwise Route

There is a “back way” into the Pipiwai Trail the bypasses the Road to Hana. This route follows the Piilani Highway through Kaupo and into Kipahulu, where you’ll find the Pipiwai Trailhead.

Though we wanted to mention this route since it technically is an option, we don’t recommend driving it. Here’s why. The road is unpaved, floods easily, and is not well maintained or well traveled, so it’s dangerous to drive on. And, besides, driving the Road to Hana is part of the fun — you don’t want to miss out on the popular Maui attraction!

What Is the Weather Like on Pipiwai Trail?

Similarly to the rest of the Road to Hana, it’s often rainy on the Pipiwai Trail. It’s smart to come prepared with a rain jacket and closed-toed, waterproof shoes. Also, be sure to watch your footing — the trail can get slick and muddy in the rain.

Though hiking the Pipiwai Trail in a light rain shower is probably fine, it is unadvisable to hike this trail during a thunderstorm or during heavy rains. Slippery trails, flash floods, and falling trees are risks during storms, so please proceed with caution and common sense.

What to Pack for Hiking the Pipiwai Trail 

Before hiking the Pipiwai Trail in Maui, here are a few things to wear, pack, or bring with you:

Hiking Boots

Several parts of the Pipiwai Trail are slick, muddy, or slippery. I recommend wearing hiking boots or another type of closed-toed shoes with good traction. I was grateful to be wearing my Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Hiking Boots!

A woman wearing a black tank top, a straw hat, with braided hair looking at a waterfall over a bridge.
A woman wearing a black tank top, black shorts, and a straw hat walking over a bridge in a rainforest.

Lightweight Clothing 

The Pipiwai Trail is well-shaded throughout the whole hike but still feels warm and humid, so wear loose, lightweight clothing. I wore loose-fitting athletic shorts and a tank top and thought this outfit was perfect for the trail.

Waterproof Gear

Rain is not uncommon on the Pipiwai Trail hike, so it’s smart to bring a lightweight rain jacket and pack a change of clothes in case you get wet. I also loved wearing an oversized hat to keep the light drizzle of rain off my face.

If you’re unprepared (like I was), the gift shop at the start of the Pipiwai Trail does sell ponchos. However, I ended up just sticking it out in the rain after about 30–45 minutes because it got too hot, humid, and sticky under the poncho.

A woman wearing a waterproof poncho with her arms stretched out and wearing a straw hat with lush green trees in the background.

Water Bottle

Bring a reusable water bottle, like a Hydro Flask, YETI, or Owala, to stay hydrated. I love my YETI and pretty much never travel without it, and my husband has recently hopped on the Owala bandwagon and loves his.


By the time we reached the Pipiwai Trail on the Road to Hana, I was pretty hungry, so I wish I had brought more snacks to tide me over until our lunch stop at Huli Huli Chicken (one of the best places to eat in Maui on the Road to Hana).

Some of my favorite protein-packed hiking snacks are Aloha Bars (the Kona Bar is my favorite!) and Chomps Beef Sticks.

Points of Interest on the Pipiwai Trail

The Pipiwai Trail is a four-mile, out-and-back hike with tons of beautiful scenery and views to marvel at along the way. These are a few of the most notable points of interest on the Pipiwai Trail:

Makahiku Falls Viewpoint 

About a half-mile into the Pipiwai Trail hike, you will see the viewpoint for Makahiku Falls. This towering waterfall is nearly 200 feet tall and is a gorgeous sight to behold. Stop to snap a photo of the falls, and then continue on with the hike for more waterfall views.

A waterfall cascades over a cliff with tons of greenery surrounding the waterfall.

Banyan Tree 

Shorly after Makahiku Falls — probably about a 5–10 minute walk — you’ll arrive at the Banyan tree. This tree is supposedly a hundred years old! You’ll need to walk through and climb under the trees branches to continue the hike, but before moving on, be sure to snap a few photos!

A woman in a straw hat and poncho standing under a banyan tree, surrounded by dirt and rocks.
A woman in a straw hat and poncho standing under a banyan tree, surrounded by dirt and rocks.

Bamboo Forest 

After the Banyan tree, you’ll see several more small waterfalls and cross a few bridges before arriving at the beginning of the bamboo forest, about one mile into the Pipiwai Trail. The bamboo forest starts as an unpaved path and then turns into a wooden platform through the forest to keep hikers out of the mud.

The bamboo forest is pretty large. We spent about 20–30 minutes walking through it and taking photos. It does end pretty abruptly, but then, you’ll find yourself just a short half-mile walk away from the main attraction — Waimoku Falls!

A woman in a black tank top, shorts, and a straw hat standing on a wooden platform in the middle of a bamboo forest
A woman in a black tank top, shorts, and straw hat standing on rocky stairs in the middle of a bamboo forest

Waimoku Falls 

Waimoku Falls is the second-tallest waterfall on Maui and the only waterfall that is reachable on foot (the tallest waterfall, Honokohau Falls, can only be seen from a helicopter).

Waimoku Falls is 400 feet tall and is a sight to behold. It’s honestly a good thing this waterfall is the last stop on the hike, because it makes all the other waterfalls on Pipiwai Trail seem tiny in comparison. You might need to wait your turn to snap a photo in front of the waterfall. There is no swimming hole at this waterfall, and getting too close to the waterfall is dangerous and even deadly, so be sure to admire its beauty from a distance!

Since this trail is out and back, after you’re finished at Waimoku Falls, turn around and hike back the way you came. You’ll arrive back at the Kipahulu Visitor Center.

A woman in a straw hat and black tank top looking up at Waimoku Falls on the Pipiwai Trail hike in Maui.
Waimoku Falls, a giant waterfall on the Pipiwai Trail in Maui.

Pipiwai Trail Hike – FAQs 

Where do you start the Pipiwai Trail?

The Pipiwai Trail starts at the Kipahulu Visitor Center in Haleakalā National Park. It is located at Mile Marker 41 on the Road to Hana.

Do you need reservations for the Pipiwai Trail?

No, you don’t need reservations for the Pipiwai Trail. However, you’ll need to pay a $30 entrance fee per vehicle at the Kipahulu Visitor Center to access the trail.

Do I need hiking boots for the Pipiwai Trail?

Pipiwai Trail is muddy, slick, rocky, and often wet. It’s smart to wear hiking boots or hiking shoes with strong soles and good traction. Sandals (like Chacos) are not recommended for this hike — unless you want to end the hike with wet, muddy feet!

Don’t Miss the Pipiwai Trail on the Road to Hana in Maui

If you’re planning a trip on the Road to Hana in Maui — be sure to add the Pipiwai Trail to your bucket list! You won’t be disappointed with all the incredible landscapes and unique landmarks on this short but beautiful hike.

Travel by Brit Logo

Save Our Pipiwai Trail Hiking Guide for Your Maui Vacation

Read More

Planning a trip to Maui soon? Check out these other posts for more things to do, see, and experience in Maui!

About the Author

Hi, I'm Brit! I'm a writer from Phoenix, AZ who loves coffee, golden retriever puppies, and obviously, travel! I help ordinary women (like me!) dream, plan, and do extraordinary travel experiences.