But there is also the coastal area of the Haleakala National Park.
That’s the Kipahulu district!
And it’s in the Kipahulu district of Haleakala National Park that you will find some famous Maui activities!
Are there waterfalls in Haleakala National Park?
Yes, there are waterfalls in Haleakala National Park!
If you want to see waterfalls in Haleakala National Park, the Kipahulu District is where to go!
What is famous in Kipahulu of Haleakala National Park?
1. Maui bamboo forest: Pipiwai Trail
This is the famous bamboo forest in Maui! You will hike the Pipiwai Trail to get to the bamboo forest.
These Kipahulu waterfalls are referred to by many different names. Among them include the Oheo Gulch, Oheo Pools, the Pools at Oheo, and the Seven Sacred Pools. You will hike the Kuloa Point Trail to get to the waterfalls.
The bamboo forest and waterfalls are the top reasons that people make a trip out to Kipahulu of Haleakala National Park.
And, as the Haleakala coastal side, you will find ocean views here too!
Getting to Kipahulu: Hana Highway
If you have started planning your trip to Maui, you have surely heard of the Road to Hana.
The Kipahulu district of Haleakala National Park is off the Hana Highway.
Paia to Kipahulu to Paia
The most popular way to drive the Road to Hana (and to Kipahulu) is by passing by the town of Paia, the unofficial start of the Road to Hana. So it’s basically a drive from Paia to Kipahulu.
It’s common among many people for Kipahulu to be the “end” of the Road to Hana. (Beyond this is where the back road to Hana would “start.”)
Once finished up at Kipahulu, people will head back on the same road they came to go back to Paia.
Kipahulu marks the turnaround point for many people who do the Road to Hana as an out-and-back drive in one day.
So doing it like this, it’s an out-and-back drive, from Paia to Kipahulu to Paia. (map)
If you decide to drive the Road to Hana the way most people do as an out-and-back from Paia, then Kipahulu can be your turnaround point. (The Charles Lindbergh grave is located just beyond if you want to make that your turnaround spot instead!)
Another thing that some people do when driving it out-and-back from Paia is that they make their first “big” stop at Kipahulu and then make the rest of the Road to Hana stops on the way back.
If you start the drive early, this allows you to beat the traffic while driving the Hana Highway, and it will also allow you to beat the crowds on the Kipahulu hiking trails. If you are doing it like this, it can be good to have a goal to pass Paia by 8am. Paia to Kipahulu with no stops might take around 2.5 to 3 hours.
Kipahulu as part of a Road to Hana loop
The Hana Highway does not just dead end.
It continues on past Kipahulu and then connects to the Piilani Highway.
So in fact, it is possible to drive the Road to Hana as a loop.
Among the reasons that this is an option that most people choose NOT to do though is because it’s been said to be a “dangerous” drive. (The other main reason is because it’s been said that your rental car company won’t cover you if something happens along the back road to Hana.)
But, there are tourists who still do the drive. So, you may want to look into it: Driving the Road to Hana as a loop.
And if you do the Road to Hana as a loop, you can still choose to drive it by starting off in the same direction as everyone else, from Paia.
Or, you can drive it in the opposite direction, driving the Road to Hana in reverse.
Driving the Road to Hana in reverse means that Kipahulu will be one of your first major stops on your Road to Hana trip. And then the majority of your Road to Hana stops will begin after Kipahulu!
See more about getting to Kipahulu:
- Parking near Kipahulu Visitor Center
- Wailua Falls (10-15 minute drive from Kipahulu Visitor Center)
- Should you drive the back road to Hana to get to Kipahulu?
- Alelele Falls (10-15 minute drive from Kipahulu Visitor Center on the back road to Hana)
How much does it cost to visit the Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park?
The Kipahulu activities are located in the paid entry area of Haleakala National Park.
There is an entry fee to visit this national park. The fee in 2021 is $30 per vehicle, and this pass lasts for 3 days. You can use the same pass to visit both sides of the park, the Kipahulu district and the summit district. You can check current prices here.
👆 Cost of Kipahulu entry for Haleakala National Park in 2020.
If your visits to the coastal side and summit side will be more than 3 days apart, instead of paying for the individual pass twice, you can get the Hawaii national park pass. It’s an annual pass so this pass will last for one year.
If you plan to visit the national park on the Big Island within a year, then you may also consider getting the Hawaii national park pass. This will cover you for both national parks in Hawaii.
And, if you plan on visiting more U.S. national parks around the country within a year, then there is also the annual national park pass.
You can buy any of the passes when you enter the park as long as the entrance station staffed.
More below about things to do in Kipahulu!
Here's some info on Maui trip prep!
- One of the most popular Maui activities: Haleakala sunrise tour at 10,000 ft
- Best shoes for hiking in Hawaii
- The perfect type of shirt for swimming in Hawaii
- THE top things to pack for Hawaii
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You can read reviews for the best Maui tours.
I have a lot of 30-90 second Maui outdoor travel videos. A few of them might be on this page. If you can't see the video directly above, save the Maui video playlist to watch on youtube later!
MAUI TOP 3
- Haleakala summit on your own OR Haleakala sunrise tour
- Molokini + turtle town snorkeling tour OR Maui snorkeling on your own
- Road to Hana on your own OR Road to Hana tour OR Road to Hana helicopter
The big list: 50+ things to do on Maui (mostly free + outdoors!)
IMPORTANT!!! If you wanted to see the famous Iao Valley in the West Maui Mountains, unfortunately that won't be possible from August 2022 and the rest of the year. Check the Hawaii State Parks website to confirm.
Things to do in Kipahulu
This trail will basically take you on a hike into the valley through a forest.
You’ll see different types of trees on this trail, including a banyan tree. You’ll also see bamboo trees. This trail takes you through THE famous bamboo forest on Maui, which is a big reason many people make it over to this side of Haleakala.
See more about this Kipahulu activity: Pipiwai Trail
2. Waimoku Falls
Not only will the Pipiwai Trail take you through a bamboo forest, but at the very end of the trail are the magnificent Waimoku Falls!
This is a short trail, more like a leisurely walk, that will take you to the coast. It’s around a half mile loop trail. This trail also will provide you with informational signs to learn about Hawaiian culture.
See more about this Kipahulu activity: Kuloa Point Trail
4. Oheo Gulch
On the Kuloa Point Trail is where you’ll see the famous waterfalls at the Oheo Gulch.
This has been known as a popular waterfall swimming spot, but nowadays it seems it’s closed to swimming because of the continued risk level from flash flooding.
See more about this Kipahulu activity: The Pools of Oheo
5. Kahakai Trail
This is another coastal trail with ocean views! It’s 0.3 miles one way so a little over half mile round trip. This trail connects from Kuloa Point to the Kipahulu Campground.
There is a campground along the Haleakala coast that comes with camping with ocean views.
But unfortunately, as of the end of 2021, the Kipahulu Campground still has not re-opened since covid. If it’s still a long time to go before your trip to Kipahulu, then you might want to check back later to the National Park Service website to see if it’s possible to go camping at the Kipahulu Campground again.
See more about this Kipahulu activity: Kipahulu Campground
And that’s a bit about the coastal district of Haleakala National Park!
For more planning of your Hana Highway trip, also see:
- Things to do in Waianapanapa State Park
- Hiking in Waianapanapa State Park
- Road to Hana waterfalls
- Road to Hana beaches
- Road to Hana food stops
- The big list of things to do on the Road to Hana
- Driving the Road to Hana in reverse
- Waterfalls on the back road to Hana
HAPPY VISIT TO KIPAHULU ALONG THE HANA HIGHWAY!
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- Why wear water shoes for the beach
- Why a personal swim buoy is an essential for snorkeling and swimming in the ocean
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- Best shoes for Maui
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