So there are a few bamboo forests on Maui.
There is a Maui bamboo forest that used to be popular that is now closed because it is now deemed to be on private property. That is a different Maui bamboo forest.
Notwithstanding any special alerts from the National Park Service, the Maui bamboo forest that is located in Haleakala National Park is not closed. Since this bamboo forest is in a national park, it means it is on public land.
So the Pipiwai Trail is THE bamboo forest hike in Hawaii that you probably want to know about!
In order to see this bamboo forest in Hawaii, it requires hiking the Pipiwai Trail that’s a part of the national park.
If you have started your research into planning your trip to Maui, you’ll probably have come across Haleakala National Park, but it’s likely the summit side (the red crater with the desert landscape) that you’ve seen in pictures in reference to the national park.
So it’s important to know that to do the Pipiwai Trail, it will be a separate trip from that.
There are basically 2 sides of the national park, and the 2 sides aren’t connected by road through the park.
The Pipiwai Trail is a part of the Kipahulu area.
The other popular spot in the Kipahulu area is the hike to the Pools of Oheo waterfalls. Any references to the Pools of Oheo (aka Oheo Gulch) being closed are likely in reference to it being closed for swimming. (It has been a popular waterfall swimming spot on Maui and I am not even sure if it’s been open at all recently.) Once again, notwithstanding any special alerts, the Kuloa Point Trail is open, and you can see the famous Pools of Oheo from that trail. It is not closed for waterfall viewing.
Most people would go to Pipiwai Trail as a part of the popular Road to Hana drive.
It’s located at the “end” of the Road to Hana, and the last point where people would typically turn around and drive the Road to Hana as an out-and-back if they choose to go this far. (It is actually past Hana town though – technicalities!) The other way to drive the Road to Hana instead of out-and-back is as a Road to Hana loop with the back road to Hana.
So, no matter how you drive the Road to Hana, you can also choose to make Maui’s famous bamboo forest a part of your Road to Hana day trip.
If you’d rather not drive the Hana Highway to see a bamboo forest, then there’s also a bamboo forest in the West Maui mountains. It’s smaller and not as grand as the Pipiwai Trail bamboo forest, but you’ll see bamboo trees! It’s also a waterfall hike!
If you will do doing the Road to Hana no matter what, then there’s also a small bamboo forest earlier on the drive that is free. See the Road to Hana hikes for that.
What the national park wants you to know about this hiking trail
This is a wilderness trail.
Expect rough, uneven footing which when wet is slippery.
Sturdy footwear is recommended.
Cliff areas, streams, and pools are hazardous.
Stay on the trail.
After passing through the bamboo forest, the Pipiwai Trail also leads to the magnificent Waimoku Falls.
Directly at the base of the waterfalls is an area that’s considered to be off limits. (You’ll come across a sign.) At least one death has occurred due to rockfall at the waterfalls. You can see the waterfalls from afar.
What to wear hiking the Pipiwai Trail
A rain jacket and shoes that you don’t mind getting wet could be helpful!
On the day I did this hike, it rained like 4 or 5 times. Each time was only for a few minutes and it was never hard rain. But still I was happy to have brought along my rain jacket and to be wearing waterproof hiking shoes!
Cost to hike the Pipiwai Trail
Since the Pipiwai Trail is a part of Haleakala National Park, an entry fee is required.
In 2021, an individual pass costs $30 per vehicle. This will get you a 3 day Haleakala pass, and you can use it to visit both the Kipahulu side and the summit side of the national park. On the summit side is where you will find the Haleakala summit (of course) and the famous Haleakala crater hike.
So it costs $30 to hike the Pipiwai Trail, but with the fee comes the possibility of exploring more of Haleakala National Park!
You can also consider buying a Hawaii national park annual pass which will cover you for one year for national park sites on Maui and the Big Island. The U.S. national park annual pass is also valid at Haleakala National Park.
THE bamboo forest hike in Maui: Here’s a bit of what it can be like to hike the Pipiwai Trail to the bamboo forest!
Right near the Haleakala National Park Kipahulu parking lot and visitor center, you’ll find the start of the trail.
The trail will cross over the Hana Highway.
You’ll first come across the overlook for Makahiku Falls. The day I did the Pipiwai Trail, it was pretty much a trickle!
You’ll also see a banyan tree on this trail!
And then you’ll comes across a bridge, and there are more waterfalls here too!
And then you can cross the bridge to go into the bamboo forest!
And then once you get through the bamboo forest, you’ll shortly start to see Waimoku Falls!
You can head back!
The Pipiwai Trail is around 4 miles long, and you might set aside around 2 hours to complete this hike!
And that’s a bit about seeing the famous Maui bamboo forest on the Road to Hana!
As for the other side of the Haleakala National Park, the best hiking trail in the summit district of Haleakala is the Sliding Sands Trail, which is a volcano crater hike! There is also a campground you can drive to in this area of the national park, the Hosmer Grove campground.
See more about planning your visit to both sides of Haleakala National Park!
Plus, if you are interested in the Pipiwai Trail, then you may also be interested in these top activities on Maui:
- Waihee Ridge Trail
- Iao Valley lookout
- How to spend one day in the West Maui Mountains
- Nakalele Blowhole
- Kapalua Coastal Trail
- Sliding Sands Trail
- Driving to the Haleakala summit
- Hoapili Trail
- Best of Maui hiking
HAPPY HIKING TO A BAMBOO FOREST IN HAWAII!